These familiar faces surround me, they have returned from places far away, come back home for this festive stretch of time, to half celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new one, the closing of strange chapters, they tell me things I have no desire to heed, they remind me of the role I fulfill in their dark souls, they have made me feel more alone than ever, here at the end of the year.
I think of the water washing up at level with the bank in the cold evenings as I stare at the twinkling lights across the river. My stomach rumbles as I think of the fulfilling prospect of hot food. I am happiest when I follow my friends back toward the restaurant.
If I could pluck the fireflies from the mist and toss them into the purple sky, I would.
Who would contest such a poetic notion?
I wander across the bay like a mourning apparition,
the dewey grass succumbing to my bare soles.
I hear voices carried in the wind,
ballads of longing and of loneliness,
swirling overhead before dropping gracefully into my lap.
I mark the end of their winded journey as I pour their souls into my painted ewers,
having the final pleasure of hearing such wondrous sounds.
These are the most beautiful of them all, I ponder dreamily.
The last set of voices tend to be the loveliest,
for they have been relinquished from prying hands,
and become free of their heartbroken conscience.
Such is the purpose I fulfill in this strange place,
releasing these crestfallen spirits into the sky as they join the fireflies.
Been a while, all in good purpose. Life has rolled by like the poetry of a wintery morning, filled with emotion and aroma and confusion. A table decorated with pretty eats as bodies gather around it, we say our thanks and continue the occasion. You come halfway across the world to roam streets I know like the back of my hand and I insist on a few things because it’s in my nature to insist despite trying not to. So you indulge and I bring you into my nights and you see where I come from. You see all the significant faces of my days. I see the way you look at them before you look at me, thoughts swirling in your gray eyes as you tell me nothing of what’s in your head. I come to where you are, to that gloomy and lovely place you reside in. You look at me the same way, on this side of the world where no one’s looking. Except everyone’s looking and it’s you and me. You smile as if you have nothing to feel but your eyes betray you every time I look your way. As the night wears on you get more comfortable, your curtains draw back and you’re free again. You tell me things you’ve buried a layer down and as your lips move I see who you are. I’m so pleased you’re indulging even if you’re still guarded. A little goes a long way. I willingly meet you further than the halfway point as it’s how I love, in wholes and not halves. But you’re still wounded and won’t completely lend over. I want to bottle up this love and send it out to sea. Who knows where we are tomorrow. Time is fleeting, my days are precious. I’m gone tomorrow, back to my coast, a world away from you. Your eyes look at me like I’m wild and captivating. I haven’t been looked at that way before. Come with me, I beckon silently.
My favorite Pogues song came on so I asked you to dance with me. You wove your fingers through mine and flashed that devilish grin and I gave up. A couple of rounds later we were twirling around the floor like a pair of fools in love. People were cheering, laughing, kissing around us. I was intoxicated by your closeness, your warmth, your drunken lust. You tasted like cigarettes and mint. Your eyes were gray and full of pleading. You said I was cruel but flashed that smile all the same. I didn’t know what I was, I said. Still you held onto me, refusing to let go. Don’t go, you asked. Come with me, you said. Those gray eyes pierced me. I trailed my fingers along the line of your jaw as I contemplated my wandering stupor. Come with me, I asked you. You made a face at my not answering your question. But still we kissed and kissed and kissed until morning came.
A thousand miles later I stare out the window at the passing Irish countryside and you come back to me like a fragrance in the air. I realize it’s the clothes I’m wearing. I smell like you, your smoke and mint. I smell like that place. I smell like the dewy morning air in London and the brisk evening breeze in Munich. I smell like the smoky sweetness of the Christmas market in Marienplatz and the tangy spiciness of the Caribbean restaurant in Brixton. And now I smell like the salty thrashing currents of Galway, the insane winds sweeping me off my feet come sundown. I should wash my clothes but I don’t want to. You were the city I arrived in, the metropolis I inhabited for a time and the town I said goodbye to on that rainy afternoon. You were the bus I boarded before getting on the plane that would take me across the ocean and back home again.