We found each other for a while, for a moment
That should’ve lasted longer, while we searched
For a new life amid ashes of ones already lived
With frailties and fractures and losses in each.
We stopped for each other- a bond too briefly bred-
And in delighted ignorance planned out a future
As inseparable as sky from sea or water from land
Yet time, in all its wicked wisdom and wily wit,
Proved us more porous than primarily perceived.
We began as shadows; you the night and I day,
Serving distant Eire abroad in separate solo shifts
On Chevelaret’s street, coaxing coins from 13th
With pints of the black stuff and stirring them with
Fine fiddles and fanciful folklore long before Bercy
And Bibliotheque created culture and credibility.
But I felt drawn to you, caught by your secrets
And intrigued- as if you were a rendering of me-
Born earlier though arriving later- same baggage,
Same story; that free-falling flight from home-
From the fields and folk, the gossip and groans
That somehow led you here to this paltry place
That must have rang out, upon first impression,
Like the end of the Earth or, at least, last stop
For long shots and last chances. Eventually
The first rays of summer found us at home
In this quirky quarter- all cozy and crouched
In Chinatown’s shadow, settled into life, the bar
And each other- blind to what lay in wait for us
Beyond the horizon. How did it happen, then,
In that single summer, in that glorious summer
Where we’d promised to make it the best of times,
That we ended up losing each other? I sat there
On foreign steps, covering them in foolish tears
As passersby watched on with worry and waited
For explanations that I didn’t know myself,
For I knew not, that day, how we’d failed each other.
We’d been no more than oil and water all the time,
We’d foolishly deluded ourselves into thinking us
A more compatible blend. But I admired you then,
In that time, in that interim as spring fell to summer,
I admired you then for all that you were and for all
That you tried to be, for the wounds you revealed to me-
Wounds you could not cure and so I lifted you
And carried you and feared for you and wondered
How to get in and worried, later, how to get away.
But, of course, you heard me too and cared for me,
You carried me and cured me too, for a while,
Within that fickle and finite time we had and shared.
Was the mix we made too explosive from the start,
Were we faithed before we’d begun, did we share
Too much on opposite sides of a sacrifice, in a bond
We made, loved and let break- brother and sister-
For a spell and, once in a while, Mother and son?
I was the adopted boy, adapted to be your brother,
I was given up where you’d given up, the follow-on
You needed to see and you the listener I looked on
As a mother never seen and you cried for all you’d lost
And all that could never have been. We tried to heal
Together broken hearts- ones we thought we’d left
Back home- but memories came flooding back,
Shadows we hoped the past would file to forgetfulness
But time was not willing so we looked to each other.
It was, for but a precious moment, a way of letting go,
Of moving on. How little, in the middle of it all,
Did we know how soon we’d let go of each other.
For we would never be enough and nothing could cure
The washed over lines the hours neglected to bury.
I was not, to you, the lost child found and you,
Not for me, the shadowed mother returned. Was that
Our downfall; we’d hoped from each other too much
And found not even a whole summer on that street
With its towering temples, viewless windows and lovers
Who came to divert us from what lay uncovered?
Brother and sister; sipping coffees, learning French,
We taught each other a lot but failed to learn to hold on.
Where are you now and do you ever, for a moment,
Wander in your mind down that street to the bar
Were we talked and laughed and cried till dawn
Before heading home together, to lie together,
In our tiny home, gossiping and giggling in separate beds?
I see you sometimes in my mind’s eye- smoke in hand,
As always, and eyes lit up with excitement as we danced
Through that bar- our bar on Saturday nights as we simply
Entertained the audience perhaps just as simply as we
Entertained each other. In my mind we will always be
Dancing like that before closing the bar and finding comfort
In a drink and each other; Brother and sister for almost a summer,
Dancing in the ignorance of what autumn had in store for us.