Poems

Silver Lake

‘This life isn’t all hookers-and-blow you know’
but even so one day a month you’d ease the car off
the boulevard, your u-turn describing a long slow arc
forgetting the pretence of work, the litter of scripts
on your passenger seat. Driving south
against the rush hour, the commute, as a salmon
might make its way, by force of will, upstream,
And so you headed out towards Tijuana.
I remember you saying you could order from a menu.
How the oiled girls lined up to meet-n-greet you.
But I could not tell you which part of yourself you handed
over as your Buick crawled across the border.
Or which part of yourself you left forever
with Tanya, Tracy-Mae, Encarnacion or Estella.

A Double Wash Stand

Before the age condemned such joint ablutions
you dip your hands in the tepid water
as the geese come in low across the lake
landing on their shadows, becoming their wake
breaking apart the imago they seemed to chase.
So you break this tension, shattering your own reflections
there is a complicity in getting clean together
who knows what distances you travelled in your sleep
drawn back towards one another,
and the secrets that those distances will keep.
Each movement fluid and practiced in the winter air,
you revel in this intimate act, not quite each other’s double.
You mime the mannerisms of other lives
like brother and sister, I mean man and wife.

From the collection In the Flesh