Les Quatre Nobles Vérités [Part II]

II. Dukkha Samudaya

across the table, through the haze
a streetlight concerto bears the night,
holds the starlight steady
under which we (tired from the drunk)
leave our padlocks empty—
it’s been a long time.
the vodka flows and the wine engages us.

burning chicken smells ground us—
we are not in Eden any more, darling;
we are not surrounded by fertile hills
and ramped plains. instead,
we sit in a crowded bar and imagine what the other
would look like sprawled out on the floor;
i imagine you under my bedsheets,
in a slumber that only exhaustion and strain
can induce.

around the bend there’s a car horn
and once again we shake our heads.

are you alright?
i’m okay.
just okay?
could be better.

let me pour you another drink,
let me wet your lips and you can wet mine.
of course—who knows who leaps up—
every word hangs in the air
because i can’t drink them in
as i can drink this glass empty.

are you okay?
i could be better.
another drink?
could be better.

she brings another; my hands tremble
and my fingers curl around the glass.
it’s so cold but my hands give more moisture.
my words should only be so chilling.
when you brush your hair aside
my throat dries up. you tell me to speak
but i can only dream—what you would look like
without these lights on; how soft your body is
when i lay my bony frame upon it;
how when you finally fall asleep
i can finally fall asleep to.

the bar is loud.

are you okay?
i’m fine for now.

i could be better.

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