Let me call you when I’m off work. The shirtless man sleeping on the church steps. The scar running laterally up his belly. Wanting the little spaces of freedom inside an absolute structure that flows between time and space. Your foot dragging in the river beside the boat. A little snag in thinking. How I finally learned my bra size. It’s about everything else. The oiliness of good coffee. What goodness might mean and whether it has relevance for this historical moment. Totally administrated. Rooms for thinking or for fucking in. I hold my desirability tentatively and with deep ambivalence. Fly me to the moon. Sound of something unseen being dragged outside. The way the market might want something. What you learn about your clothing once you wear it outside the home. Sweeping the rug into some state of newness. Like hands on your windpipe. Like cold hands inside you. The pride I took in my own peripherality. My stance of non-involvement in things like fame or belonging. How fast and small every movement was then. Counting the recessed lines of bricks and the cement windowsills. When my reputation might mean my paycheck. How you stood at the edge with your eyes all over everything. Kids with cameras. Wanting to be pressed down onto a couch or bed by a stranger’s nonsexual hands. Wanting to be held suspended. Even I can’t hear voices from elsewhere so well anymore. Even I fantasized walking as an approximation of freedom. Liberty always in process and never achieved. I said as a poet I am naturally shy. Archived all your bodily aches as though you might appeal to them later. As though these cast-iron buildings might have had some other fate than condos and flagship stores. Pale blue all the way upriver. Rest your head on the oil-smudged window. Wanting to be a string of small acts of care. Laughter from the street below. The eerie familiarity of the man in the coffeeshop. Language making a small despair in the middle of the day like a hole into which you might breathe. What kind of work did you think these poems would do for someone else. On the bedspread on the concrete floor I tried to make a space for something new.
M C Hyland
1 February 2016