Walking Home From Pubs
This is a feeling of serenity, ghostly
whisps of the buskers' last guitar strum
echoing through the castle window brick,
up and down Shop Street to the water-dock,
the same as footstep stopping to turn
back in clumsy rhythm.
Our hair and shoulders turning to
swirled sand on abandoned beachfront,
green bottle glass collecting fragments
of darkened water, dying new embers
in the Claddagh houses painted
bright in tourist-type shades.
The balcony light reflecting soft
amber designs through the hanging
willow leaves, set itself in graceless
moonlight chalking upon ashen canvas
of archway and lift-lock compressions,
led us home as nothing else could.
I met once a girl in Ottawa,
she came fair from the north country:
hair jetted black as starless night,
frazzled and tied as sloppy work-hour practicality,
and eyes like fresh-mined coal.
We both seemed calm as overused mobiles,
though she claimed the greater cause to it,
not me with my constant wasted hours;
time was rung, between weeks of absence
and the mere minutes we could make.
Loving her was push-and-pull, a bit
closer sitting on the red-white buses in
the early morning, a bit distant over
that awful coffee creamer we'd complain
about and look lie we'd nothing to say.
Never could I come to tell these sayings,
coming from cheap paperbacks, as they did,
a kiss we could trade or a nighttime happiness
come to an acceptance of, I was minding
the heart's matters in clock chimes; for her,
I suppose it may have been the same.
I think about take-out menus and the Canadian winter,
the bone's chill of minus thirty through
the blinking red lights and switching taxi signals,
the still silence of grace on Parliament Hill,
when I think about home.
I think about Belgian coffee shops and Germanic
crosses, a charge-flash of faces through the
limestone walkways, the thousands of conversations
unheard, the last weeks of summer faded as family curtains,
when I think about you.
You think about something much greater,
exciting lives of catered dinners, suited lunches,
when sent through a cheery moderns postbox,
nothing close to the truth of barely-held pieces,
when you think about me.
You think about a foolish fracas,
two lonely people clashing as switched
breakers, making the rare arch of
shuddering light cross between themselves,
when I think about you, thinking about us.
Weights and Measures
Something in love was an ocean,
so I'd written at 15, nothing known of the sort.
Days upon days, the Keatsian swirl of stepping across
light as pointillists' brushes and twice as sharp,
or some other such thing to hide behind,
words chosen as jokes, but sincerely worn.
Checked-out pulp paper, cheaply milled to shape,
felt as evoked weather, grey dawn
and battered January snow, the same as
a height measure to ourselves.
I am a struggled stitching of veins and
cartilage, you were made of metaphors,
sugarplums and arsenic; I came to
terms with the difference in time.
It was a wonderful way of