Too many shadows, whispering voices
Faces on posters, too many choices
If, when, why, what?
How much have you got?
– Pet Shop Boys: West End Girls
We wheel bicycles, dreaming
Mercedes Porsche Volkswagen even…
Unanswered prayers are best. Come Monday
the sun, swollen with blood, tells us.
Too easy, saying
our fingers will identify every blade of grass
in time. Out of time, perhaps
under the hill that language cannot make
over. When we’re dead we’ll get more
done, wondering why
we wanted to be
alone, surely, but alone with her.
We will write poems, where
the living wheel their bicycles homeward.
Laurel was the prettiest, her lower lip
trembling for your finger
when you could barely touch your self –
self being where want shakes down into shame.
Don’t go to the park – it’s full of crying children,
castoffs in castoffs. Pius X offers
the promise of a better life
TBA. Most locals place their faith in the TAB.
Laurel won’t go to the park. The park has gone.
All that is left of you is the memory of your index finger
in her lap. All that is left of her is the pressure
to never stop, not for the world to come.
The handwriting on your birth certificate
diminishes with the light. My employment
history is an oasis
punctuated by the date palm of a factory clock.
We never had a family to abandon.
You got the last window seat on the bus.
The magpie upon that street lamp
tightens our eyes. This place is populated
with observers. When we were fresh
there were participants. The magpie could
circle the newspaper kiosk. We’ve forgotten
how to read the signs. He should
nod, then we would feel
there was a point beyond his claw or beak.
Pretty words were dirty
behind your back. Dirty girls are pretty upfront.
They shine so much the magpie notices.
After, they wipe themselves in the dark
their fathers left them. Wheel your bicycle
home, carry it over the floor your mother polished
forty years ago, set it against the far wall
so it’s ready. You never know when
you’ll need it again. Only you won’t, knowing
you. We have nothing to do: we do it
without the fuss of an adverb. A bird in the hand
and all, invisible.
Unanswered prayers were best. Come Sunday
the sun, swollen with blood, told us.