January 2001 / Volume Two / Issue One
David Bates
Next the Quiet

the quiet of the tangle of a cigarette’s ghost
          leaping slowly away from itself or
the quiet of eyes winking or blinking or
                      closing in the dark

we’re an odd duo
           you & I like
two lone predators cautiously feeding
on the same remains of someone else’s kill

sounds low mean and guttural
always in the back of our throats
each warning the other to
            maintain an intimate distance

            are we beggars along the
            avenue of experience

ragged in the shreds and patches
of what’s left of our faith in some
dogmatic Hollywood love

haven’t we blown our kisses
on every one but each other

           I will fight you
           in the alley w/a brick
           for the last good scrap
           of your affection

I’m sorry

I was merely taken for a moment
by the soft grenade of your goodbye
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