Sunday, 5 August 2012

A shared cigarette late one evening

It is easier to embrace the stars
that shimmer in the gutter, easier to listen
to the water’s litany of failure repeated
over and over, gathering force like a Greek chorus
before the drain is reached
and everything tumbles into the abyss,
than the bright glare of real stars that stare down
from the night sky and twinkle so many words
of hope and effort and parental belief.

It is preferable to choose
the slide to the climb,
the wet seated bum
to the distant gazing eyes.

The two of us sat,
one evening, sharing the dregs
of a cheap bottle of port, a wet fag
and our dimmed hope that made our socks flop
in our cheap recycled shoes.

The cigarette was wet
because you pig-sucked every damn time
you took a drag –
while my legs shook with the cold and my nose
threatened to run riot.

We never glanced up at people
passing by, we could feel their warm coats,
their leather shoes, and the jingle of success
that made their trousered legs
brush our shabby jeans oh so lightly.

We stayed focused on our feet
and, when we had finished sucking it down
to the bitter end, the cigarette butt
as it sailed away, dancing a jaunty jig
until the abyss captured it
and it fell away without even a faint whiff of smoke
or bright red stare of goodbye.

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