© 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:
‘I never knew…’
‘Were you there too?’
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.