For my Swansea friend, sixty years after his death, and for a love that no longer smiles at me

30 May

—————

For my Swansea friend, sixty years after his death, and for a love that no longer smiles at me

 

I am a man no more but a lament of eighteen empty drinks

with eyelids impersonating an overclouded sky  

with arms as islands growing thin

descending into a forgetting sea with the weight of years

and dirges

and the population of your love meant for diaspora

When I came in

the barman smiled

smelling of an ambrosial stichomythia

and put some sweets behind the bar

so as to draw me in like a patron of the arts

with too much money and dreaming swelling his pockets tight

I asked him, what would Dylan say –

no, no, the good, or the better one, at least –  

the one who graciously surrendered his own name for another’s lucky patronym…

oh, you have not heard of him

he did write the blues as well

and even immolated himself from time to time

a myth most likely, that is true

there might be a fraternity to bind them both

I wholeheartedly agree

we won’t find it though  

and one still lives, and will likely do so for a few more years

the other… well, the other…  

he drowned, but not like Shelley

a TIME magazine burned with too much whiskey and contempt

Cortisone, Benzedrine, and a half grain of Morphine

to pull the rage abroad, to make it forget dully

the villanelle one writes for a dying father

over a pagan breakfast of bitters and black pudding

wet like a matchhead in handsome fingers

grown from touchingly small hands

burnt a bit in spots by cigarettes that last too long

I order my drinks, two at a time

and remind the woman next to me

who wasn’t you but should have been

that gloomy poets should never be taken all too seriously

otherwise they might become a languorous apology

and all sense of humor sometimes breaking in like infant light

in an early world which hasn’t learned to delight just yet  

would be cast aside and orphaned to a memory

which in Brodsky’s words would suffer a stodgy fortune before the dying came

and so, I drink my drinks

and put an arm around the woman next to me

who wasn’t you but should have been

she should have been, yet she’ll become

an unfaithful repetition that only exists

for the moment before you climb weary into bed

another page that turns, seraphic, on its own

divine like dead like rain and other worthwhile devoutness  

which will lead me, eventually

to understand my own mistake

and turn to you to ask to speak again

of simpler things that lack any use of dedication

that will make us laugh again

free like an asylum in a lover’s eyes

after they are wet with tender thoughts

and new again

for both that should have been

————

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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings


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