Take it back, stop giving it to me, I don’t want it.
This insistent but subtle beckoning;
your happy eyes, the understated artisan beer.
The cars zooming by, people hollering inside of them.
A midnight stroll to her favorite bar,
the stylish one that plays The Queen is Dead at last call.
Let’s sit under the vine canopy I tell my friend,
sip the fair-trade latte on an early summer afternoon,
its coldness sweating through the two-ply napkin
and onto the rusty garden table.
My spirit is part of this spectral landscape
but my soul looks in from a distance out west.
I can’t accept what you offer me,
this easy manner and thoughtless comfort,
the idle coolness of a momentary bout
of narcissistic congratulation and whimsy.
The temptation to jump into the pool,
to dive into this deliberately purposeless water
leaves me numb with indecision.
Kiss him she tells me over and over again.
I would kiss him a hundred times over
but not here on this street at this time.
Take it back, I tell her. I don’t want it.
Stay away from me, I tell him. I can’t have you.
Take me out tonight
where there’s music and there’s people
who are young and alive.
Driving in your car
I never, never want to go home
because I haven’t got one anymore.
Take me out tonight
because I want to see people
and I want to see life.
Driving in your car,
oh please don’t drop me home
because it’s not my home, it’s their home
and I’m welcome no more.
And if a double-decker bus
crashes in to us,
to die by your side
is such a heavenly way to die.
And if a ten-ton truck
kills the both of us,
to die by your side
well the pleasure, the privilege is mine.
It’s effortless on that side where you look up and he’s smiling at you and if you blush prettily this is encouraging and if you look into his eyes for the briefest second and then away to your friend it will still work because you looked his way and that’s what matters because it’s easy there where things are meant to happen at their natural pace and it’s where you meet your friends and lovers amidst the sea of brightly smiling faces and it’s just easier there where it’s a new page for you and you have everything to gain and nothing to bleed out for because they don’t even ask if you’re okay here at home because they’re always sniggering at you and waiting for you to fall on your face and you just won’t see the face you want to see when you pick yourself up again.
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.
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.