Round trip & Days are numbered
[ poetry - june 07 ]
Between the complex culturel and the café,
down the road where the theatre people stride
laughing every evening, on their way
to eat and drink before they sleep,
open blinds cast yellow light
into the street. We judge distances
by how much things have changed:
the shapes of rooms, patterns, degrees
of decoration, what things are made of;
colours, sizes. Reverse the point of view,
drawn in by the low crackle of the TV
or quiet music, smell the night
coming through the window,
aromatic bushes in the park, food scents
from restaurants on the square.
Could I get there from here?
I know how far, and how different things
look from the other way, for there's nothing
more diligent than time passing,
nothing less susceptible to resistance
or persuasion. Wherever I find myself,
if I turn round now, walk back,
would I end up where I started?
Between the complex culturel and the café?
Days are numbered
In the background, a window
beckons - tense dark rectangle –
temptation to step
into the blacks and whites,
leave the script behind,
cross the courtyard, enter
the stairwell's aromatic cool
and walk up. There's something
there, above the talk
of sudden death, mortality
and fate, drawing you
to the only place to look,
sensing inside air, heavy
with old plaster, herbs and wine.
But there's no face in shadow,
no brief glint of colour
from a cotton dress, no lamp lit.
No-one signals, no-one appears.