slowly at first - he has had
wild dreams of traveling; he thinks
the winters up north are too long,
the time between being away
from here has gotten colder; he has
contemplated moving closer --
more quickly, then, he says
he is seeing a new girl, a
nice girl, a content girl,
they're think in singular plurals,
they're thinking of settling down;
he orders another round.
This is our bi-annual ritual,
we meet at our downtown bar,
a hole in the wall filled
with rock 'n roll, veterns of
the punk scene, and us;
We order our usuals,
too honest for cocktails, too
cold for beer, just something
warm and familiar, whiskey
on the rocks;
We make small talk about his
trip from Schenectady:
the tolls were raised,
the price of gas has
nearly doubled since he started
taking this drive - was it four or
five years ago? You haven't changed
a bit kiddo, another round.
Then, as the whiskey warms
our bellies, our mouths,
the conversation snowballs, melts,
waterrushes: he wants to know
what would happen to me if
he never came back again, if
he married her and if
they built some small house
with some small fence in
a small town far away from
our bar, our small and large talk,
far away from me.
Conversation, confessions -
i learn these winter nights
that the warmth between bodies is a catalyst:
that friendship is actually a convention of pivoting, a transition from trust to intimacy,
from lust to love, or what appears to be them.
I watch my words, wary not to make promises,
I pull a scarf around my neck, I cover
remaining skin, though I am locked in a sweat
of understanding, a panic of realization,
I am his other.
The snow falls, Sid Vicious calls out for
another revolution, I turn to the bartender,
the night ends in its usual blur of
icicles, cabs, red and green lights. We both know
there is something inherently nostalgic about
what we put ourselves through each winter.
(I want to say)
I don't sleep with him
because I don't love him
(I love him too much).
Feedback would be nice.