by Walter Benton

February 13, 2008

Day to Day

Now that your intemperance has canceled mine …fully,
act for act and word for bitter word,
achieving reciprocity in scorn and balance in betrayal —

with yes and no for every no and yes … and a dead draw
in grievances (fancied or experienced),
only this residue remains:
drab, chronic, hangover days… lonely, sterile nights.

And we self-caught in this equation of zeros, pass time
passively–
our nerve-wiring insulated against pleasure and pain alike.

Sometimes we may seek each other in substitute arms–
use love,
wear its mask to please a habit or to incarnate a memory.

Sometimes you may half-waken, perhaps…and dream-beguiled
reach out to find —
not me … or finding someone, call him by my name.

Sometimes … I may walk Eight Street or Fifty-seventh,
Madison or Fifth,
window-shopping florists and Chinese shops … pricing old silver —

or stop at the corner tavern by the East River … where
one war-weekend evening
we stopped … and the stevedores bought us drinks.

We may even wonder furtively, remaining steadfast, however,
against insinuating irresolutions.
Confide in bartenders, instead … or talk to ourselves, agreeing
that all is for the best, that we are right —
that no better way exists than strangling what is left of love.

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2 Responses to “by Walter Benton”

  1. Heather said

    Hi,

    This has been my favorite poem for a long time. Good find.

    Cheers darlin’.

  2. kiki72 said

    Thank you!
    It is one of my favorites as well.

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