‘Ben, what is this swill?’
‘Mercutio! Well met, my coz.’
‘I’m not your coz, coz. My mother is no relation of yours, thank the gods.’
‘But could we not be coz’s all the same.’
‘By no gods shall we be coz’s.’
‘Not even by the god of wine.’
‘The god of wine? He has left this place, he is not to be found in these darkened hipster rooms. I wish the same could be said of your beard.’
Lest you yourself be read.
(Read not, lest you yourself be judged.)
Dear Marjorie Perloff, I am sure
You have long moved on
From May 2012
He holds your hand in both of his, sitting on that cracked top step, his face grim and vulnerable with tender resolution. “It’ll work out. I’ll work it out.”
You stand before him, panic quickening your heart. “What are you saying?”
He meets your eyes, his conviction exposed, and your breath is gone. But surely he knew?
Surely he knew this was the end.
Let’s start at the beginning.
That’s what you want, right? That’s why we’re here?
Damn. I’ll be honest, that still hurts. Got a nice swing to that left, haha.
Ok, you’re right. You ask the questions, I’m the one in the chair with the broken nose. Pretty sure it’s broken anyway. You been practicing?
Hey, all I’m saying is, it’s been a while. Hasn’t it? It’s been a while.
I saw her before she saw me. A proud affect but generous smile, a turquoise wrap, a blonde shoulder-cut: not too long (not too young). I could hear her admission in my head, spoken with a wink: There are certain things one must accept with age. From the blurred corner of my eye I could make out the bright red of her lips, the dark contour of well-made eyes. She paused at the table over my left shoulder, thanking the waiter like an old friend, the kind of woman who owned a dog, a small dog, a city dog as they say here.