About two pints of cider in, the creeping
cause coming across forehead flopping salted tones,
the pub walls packed to gill-breaking, knocked around
quick as broken pixels, harp-carved glasses
lifted above thicket maelstrom of arms and
folk fiddles, tapestry of dead men's pictures,
living men's bulletins.
Lonely with puzzle pieces, whiskey math,
blunt chewing day's false promise, held out
amazed expressions burned by refusal's coal,
glowing dead-bright upon bed linen, staining
starry-eyed affairs, clutched blank sandy hourglass
drippings; little more known than bitter musings,
could have been.
One word's caustic impression left burn-bitten
on scarred cheek, quarter-speak a Burren silence
between two sets of weary lips, questions on
hair colours, strawberry fields manner of dress,
left to hesitations, waves put off from tearing
nerve in two places, literal basis for a
night's same ending.
As You Were
Was this a happiness, sinking feel to couch
cushion, expressions made same as pained cross-eyed
winterings, but silver sting edge worn by time's tepid
washing, the cut no longer so deep to wound?
Maybe it was, you'd say, no better than this could
life be, no greater things our finger traces determined
than maps of the campus ring of bars serving
off-week fryings and barely-spoken half-hearts.
Socratic, I'd ask, about paint spatters of cloud cover
and the time sidewalks froze in skating rink style,
when we held close in slip-shod shoe leather, the last
indignities we had been willing to lonely suffer.
Lips were moving, we'd think about oil and water,
separations in bottled jars of turned wine, casks
overflowed in casual regret, timing and wordplay;
you took to the water as grace, myself never so much,
And I wish I could be as you.