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Friday, March 26, 2010

Stations of Goodbye

Paris Gare du Nord

A Distant Unknown

We stood on the platform.
It hurt to be so personal
in a public place wired
with its metal dragons
once smoking, now smokeless.
It was saddening to see
how technology had tamed fire.

We were strangely restless;
in this nullifying place of the soul,
like the soulless, waiting trains
that swallow up the weary,
lost in a solace of silence
deep within its very being,
but we stood still against
the near threat of its moving,
which would take me home.

Like all destinations,
we had suddenly become
a distant unknown.
I had to go, but you couldn't let go.
It was maddening. You were crying, and I asked
you not to cry; but
you said: I only
cry for myself, I'm not like you,
only crying for everyone else
and I knew there lay
our largest difference:

I still believed our poetry
could change everything,
change history and humanise,
but you wouldn't show it;
or believed that poetry
only changes the poet.

For although our bodies
chimed in harmony,
and all our passions made sense,
there was more between us
then simply a train door,
for when I had given everything
you were still asking for more:

and although the journey back would be
longer than this moment,
I knew I would not remember it,
I would only remember
you staring bitterly at me:
every second stretched out
in memory, longer than
any train journey home,
longer than you had stayed in me.


No Dénouement for the Train Journey Home

As we waited for the train
we needed some distraction.
How to stop memories from seeping
                  through to break the illusion
our faces were wet from the rain?
There was no comfort in weeping.

My sweat that tasted so sweet
mingled with yours hours before,
was battery acid now. The train
                  was our separation's maestro, no encore,
it was just pushing for a beat
to sustain us in this painful refrain;

a chorus on repeat coming to an end --
and we as listeners hoping for yet more
revelations. Although it was plain
                  there were no more stations, no floor
to stand on but this stationary end
of a season drowning in rain.

Our feet were frozen, entombed in snow
just as spring was coming
to Paris again. We had scrawled
                  something wonderful, but our writing
seemed to stain like graffiti now.
No electrical thoughts pulled

us to halt our goodbyes. They had gone away
leaving us with no dénouement
after the climax; nothing to theorise
                  on whether we would go on --
what was there left for us to say
when it was so empty behind our eyes?


In Lieu of Goodbye

We knew we had made our payments
in lieu of a goodbye when we first met.
It made no difference. It was still a high
price to pay as you sent me from the station.

Somewhere we heard Lady Gaga playing.
You asked me, as I stood on the edge
of train doors about to close,
whether ours had been a bad romance.

I shifted my stance, and replied
that all romances but the one yet to be
are bad if you let them I suppose
and before you could press a reply

the doors sliced the air between us,
and I had already gone, although
we looked each other in the eye
until the train moved relentlessly on.

From the collection: "From Paris, In Love" (Turkish Vistas) >>

Read more from After Love >>

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