Bohemia

Paint-flecked floorboards creak
beneath the siren songs
of cheap whiskey
and beers
belonging to someone else.

My hand
runs down the crooked neck
of a little dove
hatched
in escapism –

You,
a poet
lost in time
and place and memory
of identity –

We,
watching
as a mad poet manifests
his art as a culture;
a movement –

She,
laughing paint
onto a canvas; cigarette-
burning expression
into being –

Whiskey and red wine
congealing like
a King’s Cup
turned poisoned chalice;
this is our Bohemia.

This is our Oxford;
teaching class on unsustainability;
an art born out of a rebellion
against the self –
writ in the blood

Of the people we might have been;
were we not now addicts
of poetry –
It’s been three days
since I last wrote, the mad poet

Says;
laughing as he preaches
as he teaches
the second year
born-again writer how

To live
with herself.
Our names are writ
in water, he says,
the lesson is art is not.

I’m holding your hand;
like a prayer
I’ve said
too many times
to believe in anymore –

We’re laughing;
like a poem somehow
so sing-song;
lyrical like
the lies I tell myself

About you.
You’re holding my hand
like a microphone;
ready to speak
truth –

To be too honest
as you pick
my eyes
out of a crowd
and say truth about

Me;
a lost boy,
grounded in this city
for reasons quickly
evaporating;

You,
coming home
triumphant;
to a place
You’re not sure

You love anymore;
like a long distance lover
better in concept
than in practice;
less practiced

In love
than mundanity;
ready to ask
too much
then forget.

I’m holding your hand
like I do not
expect
ever to again;
and you know that.

She, performing now,
a lesson on the
nature of
our poetic city;
the scene, but not heard.

“The poem breathes,
so you do,”
I tell her –
and she looks at me
seeing more?

Reading more;
wondering if there was
meant to be more
than breathing
to my words.

You tell her
She is fire; to burn
bright on stage –
so bright
that no one will forget.

She;
already knowing
about bonfires
about
self-immolating

For someone else –
I wonder if She
will find
a new way
to preach her art.

The mad poet
groans approval and I
laugh in harmony –
You smile at her,
our little sister;

This is our new family –
Bohemian as sin;
a rejection
of mundanity
in favour of pursuit –

In favour of pursuing
the perfect art;
the perfect
truth
even if it only matters

To us.


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