I spent long hours on porches,
hers and mine, to convince her
she wasn't unhappy. I brought beer
and held her cheek as bribes and tethers
to hold her with my (competing) theory of reality.
She'd flinch, sort of. She stayed.
We were both in good neighborhoods then,
places where the men were young and tall and thin
and walked their big dogs beneath the elms,
and the women eased through their worlds
with half-smiles and sundresses
amid an uncollapsible profit of beauty.
My girl was lonely, adrift in livid loveliness.
She stored her library-copy Foucaults
atop piled stacks of never-to-be-scanned fashion mags,
always on her way to some
eventually unsatisfying coffee shop or another.
I was too casual to ever really keep up with this,
a ham-and-cheese guy too OK with OK atmospherics
and some solid albums everybody'd already heard before.
Her tastes: acidly fissiparous,
constantly fragmenting into smaller
and smaller shards of dissatisfaction.
But I like a good disaster. It stokes my sense of adventure.
And I like getting my ass kicked a little bit,
so I tolerated the deep mysteries of her anchorage to me,
her motives always buried like murder plots
behind those ice-blue eyes and a pair
of overexpensive sunglasses doomed to near replacement.
"Maybe I'll only ever be half-happy," she said in a down moment;
life's a real swoon, ain't it?
But she'd smile and feed life with a little of her sunlight
and it was moments like that that kept me weak
and sent me caroming off the walls
of this godforsaken magnificent city.