Five forty am:
I watched you watch her
try to scrape the last chance of last night
before it faded fast into the sunlight.
– with an old man in a clean sarong
and a shirt ironed to a crispness
-that ratted a wife back home.
Although while scanning her shape through the skirt,
he licked his lips,
he was the type who kept his nose too clean
to go behind the Keells supermarket with her kind;
Besides it was getting too bright to hide.
She came back to you defeated.
They say you both would do anything
for a shot of heroin,
and that it was all your doing.
Is that true?
Did you ever love her?
Before the hell holes, strangers’ invasion and teeth rot,
was she ever beautiful?
I hear her curse you, shrilling the night
but in the morning she is still around
in the thick of your shit fight.
What is she holding on to in you?
– is it something sad and sentimental like
the music trapped between the dust on a forgotten wedding bouquet?
– or is it something logical like
the last thread of convention?
– or something dignified like
’till death do us part’?
– or is it just reason lost in the wind
somewhere in the mundane plains of habit?
as Colombo lay dry sleeping,
and hungover cars were leaving
with leftovers of Saturday night and Pillawoos,
I saw you again.
Standing in a daze of junk
with one palm outstretched to the ocean,
it looked as if you were blessing
the great, big sea of salty tears.
Was that for her?
Image – Ken Schles – Boy in the East 5th Street at the height of heroin, 1984