French ordinary court

I always hoped one day I might show you this
Time calcified on dun brick bone
Clerks dashing down the town’s obscurities
Always too many steps ahead of me.
The mistake of living for adjectives instead of verbs
And the weight of dank walls like these who
Carry the touch of an infinity of hands
Avenues penetrated with a pedant’s book
Slipped down gracelessly like awkward laughter
But before we submerge: errands and pleas
The weight of the brow, of knowing
Whatever could be given would never be enough
The supermarket fruit better-travelled than stranded hands

No one has the patience for these games now
And there’s no place where we might begin again
It’s not the cold night air against the neck
Or the ancient moon that simultaneously sees us both
Talk of plans: plastic food, spiralling numbers
You’re either ahead of me or I’m behind you
Traffic’s murder: seeing like this is killing us both
There’s no damn air or breath in these places

If I could take you away from this I might, but
This tunnel was supposed to terminate long ago
This game of run and hide is getting deathly tight
Words all mixed up don’t come out right
Half a truth for half a lie? No, not now,
In the middle of a courtyard folding in on itself
Shrinking your form ever closer to mine
Silent and behind glass, driving me out of my mind.

No. Now we have to leave.
There is no you and I.
The city non-place is prey to a poet’s looking glass:
Every street corner a pissoir
Every rat a son or daughter
Serenaded by bombastic rapists,
Handling oneself with far too much care.
Enough of this. Return to lager.
Missing, or simply disappeared.
These moments unbudded
Perhaps they end up here.

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