Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Waltz

Here's another new poem from John Lyons

Last Waltz

What will be the first of the last things
The first word of the last words
The first day of the last days
The first kiss of the last kisses;
What will be the first breath
Of the last breaths, the first sigh
And the first of the long goodbyes?
Here in Buenos Aires the streets
Are haunted by those who have
Gone before, by those who have walked
These noble streets that fell in recent years
Upon such hard times, a sad dreary elegance
Now clinging to so many crumbling façades.
This clear blue sky and crisp ocean air
Known to Borges, known to Cortázar,
Which weathers the skin in the daily bounty
Of those who survive. This may be the first
Of the last memories, the first taste
Of the last tastes to tantalize my palate
The first of the last loves to be made
In the first of the last beds. And as I wake
And dress in the first of the last clothes
Put on the shoes that may be blessed
To take the first of the last steps,
I recall Emily’s supercilious valley-licking train,
A vector of sound in the long speechless distance
A vector of thought, a rugged nugget of words
Condensed around an ecstasy of emotion:
From distance, the sensation of intimacy,
From a silence broken, the tactile meaning of words
Of love, the first of the last words of love,
The first of the last brushes of skin against skin,
Of lip against lip. This is, and always was a merry
macabre dance,  whether upon a lush city stage,
A retarded Calvary  or in the empty heart of the pampas:
Our steps are numbered, even as the band is poised
To strike up the very first chords of our very last waltz.

John Lyons

Buenos Aires 31 October 2011

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