The Montreal Review, November 2010
On the day that we had been together
17 months, we lay in your bed
and you wept on my arm,
because we were just then faced with separation,
physical and permanent.
To lose you will be losing a piece of myself.
You will surely take my knees-
you weakened them and now they
can be yours without a fight.
One year from now,
I will walk the rain-soaked streets of Boston,
probably smoking a cigarette,
always sipping a coffee,
stumbling about with nothing to hold me up.
Hunched over like a scarecrow
beaten across the back by the wind,
feet hanging limply
over the edge of my roof
and smoking myself to sleep,
whiskey and water to tuck me in,
and my head buried
under bathwater to drown out
the din from the city streets.
They tell me I am beautiful,
and I smile and wink
and play the part of the spry young dancer,
magic on the stage
with blood in his shoes.
Sitting- at a speed of
3 cups of coffee per hour, warm cream
churning thick and heavy in your guts,
vacant like hotel rooms with
cigarette burns in the bed sheets-
I look at myself
in the old spoon stained brown like vacant hotel bed sheets,
I don't like who you're becoming, boy.
And neither does she.
So just sip that coffee, boy.
It's just us this morning.
This whiskey makes me gag
but I won't stop drinking
until the taste of you is off
of my tongue.
Where will you be when I'm there,
sitting at the table by the window
constructing tiny mountains of ash
and watching them crumble,
as quickly as they were formed?
I am a world-creating god,
helpless against the ruin
I've so readily put into motion.
Sometimes the greatest wonders fall
of their own accord, and all we have is
gagging on cheap whiskey and cigarette smoke.
Coping is a madman's dream.
you sit at the other end of the table.
The whiskey is gone but
the cigarette is still there and
you don't mind because your father smoked
for your entire life, and you like that sometimes
I remind you of him.
And the mountains still stand,
despite the sharp wind
coming in off the bay.
Patrick Braley is an 18 year old poet, living in a small town deep in the heart of Maine. He spends much of his time reading Bukowski, listening to podcasts and not sleeping. Patrick plans to attend college next fall to study creative writing.
Illustration: Underground (oil on canvas 122 x 91cm) and
Interval (oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm) by
Christopher Thompson was born in Grimsby in 1969. He trained at Norwich School of Art followed by The Royal Academy Schools where he received his Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art in 1997. Whilst being a resolutely figurative artist, the characteristics of the medium are as important for him in conveying the essence of a painting's meaning. He has won numerous awards and in 2003 his portrait of the British actor Peter Postlethwaite was acquired by The National Portrait Gallery, London for its collections.
His works can be purchased at Albemarle Gallerie (49 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JR, U.K. )