Waterloo

My favorite Pogues song came on so I asked you to dance with me. You wove your fingers through mine and flashed that devilish grin and I gave up. A couple of rounds later we were twirling around the floor like a pair of fools in love. People were cheering, laughing, kissing around us. I was intoxicated by your closeness, your warmth, your drunken lust. You tasted like cigarettes and mint. Your eyes were gray and full of pleading. You said I was cruel but flashed that smile all the same. I didn’t know what I was, I said. Still you held onto me, refusing to let go. Don’t go, you asked. Come with me, you said. Those gray eyes pierced me. I trailed my fingers along the line of your jaw as I contemplated my wandering stupor. Come with me, I asked you. You made a face at my not answering your question. But still we kissed and kissed and kissed until morning came.

A thousand miles later I stare out the window at the passing Irish countryside and you come back to me like a fragrance in the air. I realize it’s the clothes I’m wearing. I smell like you, your smoke and mint. I smell like that place. I smell like the dewy morning air in London and the brisk evening breeze in Munich. I smell like the smoky sweetness of the Christmas market in Marienplatz and the tangy spiciness of the Caribbean restaurant in Brixton. And now I smell like the salty thrashing currents of Galway, the insane winds sweeping me off my feet come sundown. I should wash my clothes but I don’t want to. You were the city I arrived in, the metropolis I inhabited for a time and the town I said goodbye to on that rainy afternoon. You were the bus I boarded before getting on the plane that would take me across the ocean and back home again.

You were perfect.

Cairo

Cairo

I could never tell you,
not in a thousand years,
the sad soul that I am.
And you in your ways,
refusing the heart she held in her hand,
breaking your own in return.
I am your second best,
best being just enough to love,
and I understand it so perfectly.
You remind me of his shadow,
I stay close to you now,
it makes up for the lost comfort.
We would make beautiful halves,
in some day of another lifetime,
but here we are, you and I,
inept in the proper ways of togetherness,
as we are two people
who are so far removed and
too different to be one.

Low

It’s my birthday this midnight hour. What a day to feel as melancholy as the earth before a big rain. My eyes are sore from crying. I need a good cry now and again, keeps me clear of madness. I cried for me, for the ugliness in the world, for the selfishness of those I love most. I cried because how can I change any of it? This is the way of the world. The way of life. I can fight against it but it’s a thick wall of indestructible rock, made up of all the bad in our human existence. Why am I burdened today of all days this mercilessly? My eyes hurt. I’ll come in puffy tomorrow and someone will wonder what’s wrong with me. Or they won’t care.

R.