Like Father, Like Son

Down the lines
to slow
estrangement… till
I’d move into
a one-room apartment
close to work
and closer to travel, with
barely a window, hardly a view and
seldom have it mopped, but
have those shirts
dry-cleaned and routinely pressed,
reread escaping books,
revisit reruns and
stranger passing screens among
the angles.. each
wall makes
with the same ceiling.. and
in time, get restless and visit
a whore
or two – which
I’m not sure you
did, but
only get lonelier… to turn
to the reeds, needles and white;
then quit the drugs,
then give up whisky,
then stop smoking and
try
starving
from time
to time to test
how much I can take, though
I doubt I’d be able to do it
as well
as you did.

    
No saints
you and I, but
each of us
belonged… to
a woman, whom
we mistreated
in our different ways, as
they did
in theirs, and
it seemed
that everyone learned
to live
by themselves, though
it’s us – you
and I, who couldn’t
or can’t
care or smile
as much
for ourselves
at
all.

 

From Book IV

Echo

I thought
to myself yesterday
that just like it was
before, you probably wouldn’t
have agreed to listen
to my many trifling tales
of weakness
and petty failures,
just like you never shared
your harder stories
with me, unlike
you did with her, my
mother, who once
used to be
your friend… and
once divulged to me,
one of your secrets. And I saw
that you neither spoke,
nor sought to listen because
you were
too ashamed to reveal
your scars and
too proud to believe that
I might have a few
of my own…

   
Perhaps…
you didn’t want us
to become as alike
as we
turned out to be.

   
Perhaps…
you didn’t want me
in some places
you used
to be.

 

 

From Book IV