January 2004 / Volume Five / Issue One
Paul D. Brown
New Year Kiss

The taste of her water reminded me of early spring.
A time when bits of grit and moss laden terraferm
slip and slide down the length of gutters and alleyways.
Dogs and cats stranded and hunting for love,
alone in the night, drink deeply this pre-Valentine mixture,
and puke out the remains of an early Winters death.

Empty beer cans and twist-off aluminum paper from
Texas Champaine bottles line her trash can decorated with
ashes of cigarettes and other smokable remnants.
I smudge the outline of Jesus I see there
and wonder if this too is profane.

Targeting the youth market, an advertisement,
lining the Kitty-box touts advances made
by modern clothiers in the area
of Asian weaving techniques, leaving
the advancement of chained and forced labor
to the imagination of the procurer of said garment.
We wear our blindness like a robe of distinction.

Falling backwards onto her couch, the evening before,
a book of pious poetry in my hand,
I discovered the lonesome nature of time, 
It's all the same, we just wish it were different for us.

When morning came
we crawled off each other,
out into a world, that didn't notice us.
I took the book of magic words
to paint a canvas of my own.

She wears no color singly as well as tan,
and covers no part of her skin
as needs to feel the open air,
not to mention the tangle of her hair.

A glassy look of comedic expression
pastes itself upon her brow,
to hide the occasional scar of depression,
brought on by the knowledge
of impending loneliness.
A familiar feeling, a familiar crowd,
we are all alone.

Somewhere behind all the glitter and glitz
of an evenings bliss, there lies the
boundery of contact between two souls,
seldom crossed, seldom found. 
It takes more than a kiss to find it,
It takes more than a word of praise to cross. 
It has to be found through subtle ways. 

I took the book of poetry, read clearly,
soberly, of the longing for something
most of us are not willing to give. 
The center of our being suffers such intolerance,
digs deep gouging holes in our bellies,
when we pretend it isn't there. 
We have, to learn, to care.

When the world escapes our notice,
and the page is as blank as the expression on her face,
I dream of what I might put before it, and her,
of what might bring it, and her,
back from the gouging pits of despair.

A kiss may be all, but, it is not mine to give.
I wait patiently for permission to proceed,
for a clue to the nature of her need
and drink deeply, the water so found,
so pure, in the early parts of spring.
Return to January 2004