The morning after the night before

Dedicated to the memory of Ciaran Carson

Words are heft, he says,
confetti falling like shrapnel
or bullets that miss the brain
by only inches. His sentences
are Belfast gnarls: tight alleys
with tight-lipped boys, housing rows
rubbing shoulders, neighbors’ lives
leaking through damp walls.
Suspicious of big ideas and fuck-all,
he trusts only the rooms of
memory’s mansions, how the past
opulently warps the present.
He measures time constantly,
not in mathematical increments,
but in the cigarette’s duration.
He knows life does not flow
riveringly; it carries a tentative,
whiskey-blurred step and indulges
in obscene gestures.
There’s never a destination.
There is only groping, ecstatic
searching.

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