I am all out of words,
all out of illusions and three-card tricks,
all out of pretty things to quote and off-set
the colour cold of rings willow-like about
my eyes off-lining and teeth half-corrected.
I am all out of lying,
when intemperate thoughts spill as hobbled
beer glasses, I should know that they are
at least true, at least a soaking water
plank to walk off into something great.
I am all out of suspicions,
I see nothing but a passage in your blinking,
nothing but a stepping threshold I could have
ran across in the dark without falling,
could have heard our breath collapsing into one.
I am all out of half-measures,
those winks and nods of teacup trinkets we pass
between ourselves as two children in sandbox,
plastic pails and shovels, at least in
imagination's meaningless meander.
I am all out of most everything,
but this one thought, turning about as
coin copper between two fingers, this one
feeling that you and I should dance on
the O'Connell Bridge some bright evening.
But I am all out of words,
the kind I never said.
Aching in semi-colon symmetry, stretched out on
mattresses with the lights off, smell of potatoes
and eggs cooking on stovetop, the sizzle
of grease from crisp bag liners tracing streaks
into my daylight, into my evening shattered with
dry tears where I'd watch thoughts dance on your
conscience shoulders and scrub out the red eyes.
I am devoured by this desire,
I am puzzled by it as well.
Streetlight reflections draw pagan circles on
ceiling tile, ships tossing to-and-fro in stomach,
signs of some great point of turning; bathing
in saltwater cures, taking the advice of
party bagmen and mother's acquaintances to
settle in to something sad-eyed, live
in decrees and degrees, flick of bachelor apartment lights.
But I am on the wind,
I am not here.
The plink-platter of subtle storms
on black umbrella canvas, crooked prisms
bending charms of dead and shadow,
stains on classroom windows in the
shape of martyred heartaches; better
to stay in with the white teacups than
face the whistle-wind and dripping leaves.
I was trying to be honourable, let well
alone these foolish feelings, let needles
to their space in hay piles, and stop
with flaxen field rows, eye-twinkles
in the champagne glass midnight of
Dublin canal waters, and all the things
we compare our first love's smile to.
I can't do it, though, just can't.