Monday, December 28, 2020

Here, Today by Gerry LaFemina

A brand new love affair is such a beautiful thing...

With hair the color & texture of grackle feathers
the woman at the table beside mine waves
to a friend on the street. I’ve fallen in love
with Dublin today, even with the cackle & caw
caw of seagulls on St. Stephen’s Green, 
which could be the name of a shade of green
noticeably different than St. Anne’s Green or
Phoenix Park green. I’ve fallen in love, too,
with the way raindrops freckle the sidewalks
one moment, then sunlight sets the whiskey
in my tumbler luminous. As well with the word 
tumbler, which I will not look into the origins of.
I want to raise my glass to that woman,
not because I find her attractive or I’m lonely
in the way of tourists & transients, but because
we’re both here, today, a Thursday, afternoon
& our waiter has left us alone.  Lovers 
parade past, walking close, even that pair of seniors—
how gently he holds her arm to steady her.
Maybe Tony Asher got it wrong. I could watch 
musicians play songs their fathers knew, 
their grandfathers, or else see the Blackrock
Boys cover the Ventures, Jan & Dean, the Surfaris,
the Beach Boys. They insist the surfing’s great
a bus ride away in Dublin Bay, no need
to go to the west coast despite the famous swells
off Donegal & Sligo. Everything old is new again
or so the saying goes, even this city,
even desire, even the green that fills 
the sycamores so that I want nothing more
than to be here, by myself, where the faint
keyboard & guitar & tambourine tumble from
a neighboring pub when the door opens, 
the Blackrock Boys imploring in harmony
with slight accents we keep in mind love is here, today
tomorrow it’s gone. Or I’ll be gone. There’s only
this moment. I can’t bear to try a whiskey
called Writer’s Tears, but I’ve tasted the Red Breast,
the Yellow Spot, the Method and Madness. How 
satisfying this Green Spot’s sweet smoulder when 
I take another sip. I’ve fallen in love with anonymity. 
At the other table only her empty wine glass 
remains, pink lipstick stain on its rim the only kiss.

Gerry LaFemina is the author of several books of poems including 2018's The Story of Ash, numerous books of prose poems, a short story collection, and Clamor, a novel. In 2014 Stephen F. Austin University Press released his latest poetry collection, Little Heretic, and a book of his essays on prosody, Palpable Magic. His textbook, Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically, came out in 2017 on Kendall Hunt, and a new collection of prose poems, Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping, was just released by Madville Publishing. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, he is a professor of English and serves as a mentor in the MFA program at Carlow University. He also plays rhythm guitar and sings for The Downstrokes.


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The bell rings so someone bought the bar a round. You look up  to politely acknowledge the kind stranger. You have another shot You go with ...