Charles Newman

disregarding your disguises
[exquisite though they may be]
some essence of you escapes me
since I cannot inhabit your fantasies
and you will not exit mine

pain pleasure purity
seduce me
as I wander these
halls corridors passages
relentlessly deaf dumb and blind
engaging one hopeless dream after another

guests come and go
[naturally you like it this way
and so you encourage them]
dressed like robots from some 1959 sci-fi movie

even so you
hold me back like a blank page
torn in frustration
disabled emotionally
every shred of faith shot to hell
with eyes as wide as a child’s
out in the world for the first time
living in handcuffs
following you from here to there
[saxophone jazz playing softly behind us]
approaching turmoil
hidden in what remains of us

damn you!

only you know me
only you remain with me
like a hammer beating a nail
beating a nail head deep

someone talks quietly in a dark corner
[every word a treasure]
someone else listens intently
[every word wasted foolishly]
you ignore it all

[even though you can repeat these
secrets hushed word for hushed word]

delicate birds flutter overhead
refusing to perch
or leave for more serene climes

yet it all fits
making me question
until I can question no more
even though I know
no more than I ever did

you lean on me softly
learn what you need to know
slough off the rest
escape without effort
seduce someone new
evade me like it’s second nature
slide into shadows
lean on me again unexpectedly
suck me dry
urge me on
even the score
reduce me to a cipher and
leave [as far as I can tell]