We sat together on his balcony, looking over the traffic.
From below came the rumble of engines
and the buzz of the local restaurants
and the calling of street vendors.
Across the way, the brown river made its sullen way to the sea.
The air was hot, and sweat beaded in my hair
and made my beard itch.
The cheap scotch scorched our mouths
and smoked out our voices
like the gritty output from a rubber fire somewhere nearby
that hung in the air and smarted our eyes.
“Isn’t it funny,” he said
into our silence
“how you reach a certain age and you think
all that emotional bullshit
is finally done with;
but then, out of nowhere, some
thing comes along
and makes you feel like you’re
bloody seventeen again.”
I set down my glass and picked up the bottle,
and poured myself another long, bad drink.
In the street below, a skinny local went by,
pedalling a cyclo with a fat tourist sitting in the front.
I swallowed a full mouth of whiskey
and knew I would have a headache later.
“I guess,” I said at last,
“that I never really thought about it.”
This was a poem I wrote the other day. The setting is real, the interaction is fictional, and the sentiment is somewhere in between.