Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Having a martini with you

Having a drink with you

is even more fun than going to such exotic places as St. Malo, Inverness, Gdansk or Milnor
or being sick to my stomach on Broadway in Fargo
partly because in your perfectly 1950s dress you look like a better happier St. Gianna Molla
partly because we like each other, partly because you love wine and I, teetotaling vegan that           I am, love virgin mojitos
partly because of the music that plays in my world and your world
partly because of the secrecy we share about the people we love and wish for
it is hard to believe when we’re together that our bartender notices not you but me,
who promises to lick even the last drop of that delicious liqueur from the shaker he so expertly handles like the hands a lover has for the one he loves
and still, despite that, we share there a solemnness as unpleasant as the talk of a pretentious composer of popular music
in the warm Fargo 9 o’clock light in which we are drifting back and fort
between our talk like the sun which is escaping us in this dusk we ignore

and the mirror beside us reflects not our faces but the clothes we wear and the pain
we bring to this table with its inlaid crescent moon
bronze as the skin of those we long for and love with a love so intense it brings tears to our 
and in this instant we wonder

why in the world anyone ever ignore us or not love us or refuse to see in us
the beauty we see in each other

                                                                   I look
and you look and we would rather look at all those people we know and love who
stare back at us like portraits in a gallery with all their pains drawn on their faces  except possibly the ones we long for and love most who stare back us at like
the elongated turqoise wonder of the frescoes at Decani or the incessant haloes honesty of 
           Keelan McMorrow
and it’s not this at all but rather, as Frank O’Hara said, at the Frick
which we thank the heaven we hope in together
and which some day will welcome us with a beauty we can only glimpse at
now in this hidden corner of an out –of-the-way bar far from those
we can’t escape

we sit here straddling 40
the same age Frank O’Hara was when he stepped out in front of that dune buggy
on Fire Island in that summer before we were born
and the life that lies behind us
and the life that lies before us
is laid out so clearly we can’t quite recognize either
and yet still we know that’s all there
all planned out for us
all written out for us as the prophecies of some wild-eyed
visionary who gazed into the void and saw
in that clarity
the heaven toward which we are headed

but we haven’t gone to that heaven yet
to that place our dear friend Ron has gone to too early for our comfort
and the fact that we move through this dusk so beautifully more or less takes care of
the scared music we hear in our that spark of life within  us
just as intense and Baroque as Mikolaj Zielenski’s Beata es virgo or
at a rehearsal of a singer whom we envy and love in our own way
and what good does the liturgies and music of the church do us or them
when they never got the right person to sing their hymns
we don’t sing hymns
we sings songs of love lost or resurrected or ascended
like that One we know loved and lost and was resurrected and was ascended

oh let’s face it
we’re the pure ones
we have thought long and hard about all of this
we have been tossed to the whim of love for too often in our lives
and it seems that we have been cheated
because others have had this experience and are content in their daily lives
snuggling and hugging each other and whispering sweet-nothings to each other
in nights that never end but go on blissfully like heaven
while we are here drinking and crying
but it’s not lost on me
oh no
which is why I am sitting here in this dusk telling you about it

(after the poem “Having a Coke with You” by Frank O'Hara)

 for Michelle Gelinske

From the chapbook Having a Drink with You by Jamie Parsley, copyright 2011, published by Enso Press, Fargo.

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