lolls at his table
watching the world go past in motion blur with doleful eyes
his days are a series of still frames
that play over and over in his head in third-person:
always the small of his back, receding to his destinations
receding, eventually, into the small of his mind
where static grows over these forgettable images like unruly mildew
papering over older thoughts, as it were, like frosty cellophane
perhaps mundaneness is the natural aftertaste of joy,
when even idylls are tucked into bed, little knowing that
the duvet envelops them for ever
until mites teem on the fringes
making nests in frenzied scutters
to the death of a memory.
a shadow hangs over him
slender and curvy like a question mark.
a shy shrug, awkward inviting eyes
ease her opposite him
where she sits, assailing him
with unfamiliar scents and soft gazes…
perhaps there is someone for everyone after all:
they come in different shapes and packages
but you know when they arrive,
they snatch your inhibitions
rending them in the air barbarously.
you know because they help themselves
to your Ribena, sipping unreservedly
from the selfsame straw you dribbled over.
you know because the next moment
you’re eagerly making excuses for your solitude,
telling her about how you have to dust the graves every Thursday
how you make up stories of school to a captive audience
how you make your pocket money knocking on doors and pushing used handphones
and how, really, there’s not enough of you
to make small talk
anymore, and –
and she brushes your hand slyly,
massaging your knuckles
silent and understanding,
and right there and then
you share a knowing gaze.
the bell tolls, sententious and brusque.
lolls at his table
watching the girl run past his table carelessly
decidedly exclamation mark-like, or even
everyone else files out
their chatter growing thin
though obtrusive and booming in the corridors
the loner watches timidly
as the girl hops off, shrinking into the
gaping crowd, the inadvertent star of today’s special.
he staggers to his feet.
he wonders which girl he’d make up tomorrow
which friend he’d make
which chalice to spill his burden
traipsing to the exit with steps, Ribena in hand.
the camera zooms in on his feet, heavy and leaden.
perhaps, he mused, loners are licensed to make indiscriminate wishes
purely on account of them never being fulfilled