Silence amidst the screams, vacancy, space between darkness and dreams
beyond paisley skies, red velvet mistakes, and muddled remnants of
happenstance and half-lived Tuesdays.
Neverland tenements where landlords fail to repair cracked windows,
broken pipes, and the noxiously rhythmical drip, drip, drip of the sink.
You don’t care anymore.
Deadbolt locks designed to keep your self safe from yourself, or
your type. It gets harder to have faith when held sway by misfortune and
the troubles you create.
Awake, if hardly asleep. Ridiculous notions, infractions on lustful wishes
meant to placate the mind during desperate times or validate your existence
as a lover, has-been; one or the other.
Somewhere in this middle-of-the-night existence, 4:23 slips away, as
only 4:24 can. Time less subjective than one can imagine. Down the hall
the television knows only one volume.
Unfettered anger thrives in this sort of dive, trash bins overflow with
long-forgotten get-rich-quick schemes, recycled promises, and the pursuit
of happiness. Or something like it.
Consumption remains a tireless game, complete with ill-conceived products
and yesterday’s shame. Tomorrow (really today) won’t promise anything anymore.
Less to discover outside any door.
Black noise in a white noise sort of way. Continual reminders of not being alone in
this awkwardness. You hear the echo of booty-call passion in the bedroom above.
It doesn’t mean anything. It never is love.
Sunrise, even sunset, less reason to see. It keeps you awake for another day. Time
even less subjective than it was an hour ago. Close the door on a short night, look
for another reflection in the mirror.
Underneath the pizza crusts and bad fast-food choices, empty calories and
abandoned wine bottles, a Bible sits in a box you never look in. You can’t deal with
the guilt. Or the lies.
©2017 j.g. lewis
Convenient refuge from the torrential deluge,
unexpected, a Tiki bar; he without an umbrella,
she without an excuse. First date, foreign film,
fix-up by a friend. Free of folly
or awkward moments associated
with ideas you don’t own.
Dusty rubber plants, bamboo walls
and red vinyl booths. Rum drinks
in fake pineapple tumblers from the Sixties,
Doobie Brothers from the Seventies
playing on the jukebox,
and enough shared stories of the decades since
to inspire second date.
They both read Franzen, cursed Netflix,
watched public television, and loved Matisse.
He talked about art and
how he always wished he could paint,
she spoke of Chilhuly like she knew about fragility.
Air conditioned comfort
a contrast to downtown’s August humidity.
No tension. No rush for time.
She liked his affable face, attentiveness,
and manners. He liked how
she seemed genuinely interested
and the way she jiggled
when she laughed, all tits and ribs.
They stopped talking about common friends
and then only referenced themselves, as if
they each recognized each other’s loneliness.
No tension. No checking the time.
Another couple of rounds of exotic drinks,
then a slow walk up the puddled street.
She linked her arm into his, like
it belonged there.
A half-block from his subway station,
a few steps from her apartment, decisions
under a streetlamp. An embrace in the rain,
the thin cotton blouse clung to her bony frame,
until it was removed.
It poured right through the night,
the scent of the city alive with promise,
or something other than crowds and concrete.
No tension. No need to check the clock.
She fell asleep watching traffic lights from below
paint murals across her ceiling, and finding
new comfort in an old bed.
His mind, miles away, ran through reasons
why something felt right
when nothing else had.
He had no excuse. She had few questions.
Slipping out for morning coffee,
he returned with the Sunday paper.
© 2017 j.g. lewis