Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Slight Engagement

©  Steve King
All rights reserved

I was passing easy,
close, but no cigar.
‘Paté or champagne?’
competed briefly in the mind.
Then I reached with both empty hands.

The music was distractive:
there was no rhythm in the to and fro.
And all the while the host debased himself
to fawn before the preening A-list show.

It was all chatter and smiles
shaped by the slyest of surmise.
I thought that I could read all in her eyes
while she did surely look through me,
perhaps to gauge some other mingling prize.

Even so, I sighed to speak and listen:

‘So pleased…’
‘I never knew…’
‘Were you there too?’

There is a kind of solace
even to indifference,
an easy sequestration of the self
to guard against the rush of ill-forming desire,
weaponry to shore each unsettled need;

a sweet cache of certainty
of how one does surely surpass
those least of expectations;
a bulwark set to fend the sting
of all irrelevant unsought truths.
(‘True to whom?’ it asks.)

The bulwark firms with each slight engagement,
with each exercise of that secret certainty;
a welcome defense to dark incursions
of indifference and disregard;
against each mindless courtesy,
those pure rote reveries.

‘Champagne or satay?’

Another question set to stave
grim litanies and wearying regard…
Thus fortified against
all new clichés,
I look to find another set of eyes.

And move again
attracted still to bright things,
relentless, as a crow to copper;
just as a sundown flower
might briefly nod
upon the brilliance
of a coming moon.