Deuce

I guess you are reading this poem at the kitchen table
the hanging lamp sprinkling a little glow over your head
and the window blackened in the gently breathing house
descended into quiet long past midnight. I guess
you are reading this poem in an ancient tavern
that hasn’t changed for as long as you know it:
even the patrons who sat there then sit there still
at the same places before the same glasses
preferring an old drink to the cinema.
I guess you are reading this poem during a rest
while working for yourself, because there is no prospect
more hateful than to have to go to an office
and conform to a daily routine and obey others. I guess
you are reading this poem standing up by the doorway
to a coffee-shop far from where you’d rather be
on a sweaty day deep in summer for a meet-up
that is compulsory, mechanical, against the grain.
I guess you are reading this poem in bed
morning after a dreadful function
where you insulted your hosts’ poetic tastes
and called them philistines. I guess you are reading this poem
soaked in a bath obsessed with feeling the situation
is too much to bear near a medicine-cabinet with excellent means
of stilling pain that speaks to flight, an ever-ready life option.
I guess you are reading this poem in an empty train
sitting next to yourself with whom you are
in continued and deadly enmity and as if pursued run in a circle
around the goal, around laudanum, around death.
I guess you are reading this poem on a park bench
among affluent city-dwellers in carefully landscaped gardens
despite longing, but for weakness and inertia, to plunge
into the free untrammelled realms of wilderness. I guess
you are reading this poem hoping for some humour
in which the dichotomy of your selves could begin a pilgrimage
to harmony, or be exalted at least in the one breath.
I guess you are reading this poem
because there is nothing left to read
there where you find yourself rich and impoverished as you are.

16 comments

  1. None of the above. All of the above. The title announces the tune, the words wistfully play it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Mitch. I so love your poetic response.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it took me completely by surprise. You remind me a great deal of the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wanted you to know that what you write affects people, in a cathartic way. As you know, your words remind us of our own lives and you asserted that we were in places that we weren’t exactly, and it gave me at least, the opportunity to share where I was and what I was doing. I also experimented with making things up, becoming someone else. You were a trigger to cathartic contemplation. As I subscribe to a number of writers on WordPress, I feel I neglect them, but only because there is so little time, but I wanted you to know I am listening. I absorbed your story and referenced aspects that really resonated with me. It is like standing before a work of art and documenting your thinking. I wonder if anyone else took note of their response to you in detail? Tolstoy talked about the shared emotional strand that is communicated between the artist and viewer. And Jeanette Winterson talks about spending a long time before a work of art. Thank you for inspiring my response. I only wish I had more time to be with your work.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I wrote the poem I had not expected anybody to be where I said they would be. Rather, I had in my head an image of someone I had made up with a personality that might bring them to those various places while harbouring those thoughts. Amongst other things, for example, he is a night prowler (long past midnight), with a passionate craving for independence (inability to obey). He feels himself at extraordinary risk of suicide, an option he views as a comfort, even if he struggles with the ignominy of the idea. And perhaps most interestingly (to me, at least) he perceives his life as a constant battle because his breast is crowded with two opposing souls that exist solely to harm the other. I enjoyed creating him, for whom I felt intrigued, sympathetic with some contempt.
          I appreciate the time you have spent with this creation, and I am really pleased it had inspired your work.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I hadn’t seen this person you described, which shows how self-centered I am, and I want to point out how eloquent you are as a prose writer/explainer.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Not at all, I hadn’t meant it to be immediately obvious. Thanks so much for the lovely compliment.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Vera. This one took me everywhere and stole my words. Love it. SOOOO happy to see You back!!! Dove in deep, once again. There is a diving board with Your name on it at the edge of my heart. I hope You’re having a wonderful holiday season and that You have a BRILLIANT 2019!!! 🤗💖😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you too, Katy. I really like your analogy of a diver. Thanks again. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Truly my pleasure. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Powerful words, as always. I’ve seen some of these tormented souls. Reflections. As we come into the New Year I wanted to wish you the best of everything. May all of your desires be fulfilled 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful surprise — and you too, Stearley, I want to wish for you a spectacular and fulfilling new year. Thank you so much for dropping in 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 And thank you! Who knows what the future may hold

        Liked by 1 person

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