(a free version of this)
Today, on the street, I saw a boy
who was just like you. Same face, same sway.
Maybe it was you indeed,
even though I knew it wasn’t
because it couldn’t be.
It didn’t matter. I acted just as I would have
even if I was sure it was you, casting that shadow,
standing there, by the gutter.
I would have stopped to tell you the news.
I’m on a diet, you know, and my watch
is early again.
I am not supposed to have time to gobble your words
and no longer clean my fingers full of
oil and blood
and man milk (sometimes),
face and hands smeared after swallowing.
It’s been a really long time since I last felt
the sweet taste of your rhyming
or your vernacular caresses.
Your slap on the cheek, with kid gloves,
me or whoever reads in between the lines.
So, I just let myself be haunted by your
rainy smile, by the orange sign with politics
you were carrying when I saw you.
Why was I wet and embarrassed
when you asked me to put it up too?
Even if you were here and not in another country,
we would be unconnected, out of touch.
You know, family, the kids, not easy to be the breadwinner.
I don’t know if you are one too. No pressure!
I prefer to think you are married to a ghostly muse
that feeds on your images and thoughts.
Am I digressing? This was meant to thank you.
(is it a defiance to art to call my own work this? Are you slighted?)
It is supposed to be a eulogy, a kind of prayer.
Not that I am comparing you to God,
you know? I don’t inflate egos like I do
those sculpture balloons.
I would never dare underestimate your
wits. You? Mr. One-Step-Ahead?
So I’d better come to an end, as our story never does.
(It also had more beginnings than one).
How I met you could be a script of a noir movie.
J’ai peur du noir.
Luckily we left the lights on all the time.
Now, we’ve got to turn them off.
Have I mentioned the bills, the imaginary wife with the rolling pin?
I’ll get my umbrella, yes, I will, but until I open it
I’ll let life sprinkle me again,
smiling like you a little bit more.