Poem – A Loan (2001)

A Loan


Alone is not like a loan,

    the passing of time

        & the accumulation

of interest & the repayment.

    What would I repay to you.


The lights in the park

    Were not quite enough

        to keep the darkness

from reaching inside my coat

    & it was not a warm

    darkness tonight like

the warm darkness of

    bed & making love.


It was not even

    the warm darkness of

        summer & the long

look out over the water

    of the bay. The hunting

        for the waves out

there, the stars not

    moving in the wind.


It was not the darkness

        when you close your eyes

                standing in the shower

letting the hot water

        steal your body

                starting with your neck

your shoulders

        & your back

                the smell of the soap

reminding you that

        you are not in Tahiti

                or the Caribbean

& how the cold

        will greet you when

                you step out into

the bathroom

        steamed mirror

                allowing you privacy

from your own eyes.


It was not the darkness

        of the movie theatre

                & the passage

of popcorn & the

        willing suspension of

                disbelief like a long

bridge hanging

        between today

                & tomorrow

collapsing only in

        a sudden      dream

                Where you walk

through a room & I

        cannot follow &

then the host of

other characters

come up to me.


Whose faces, so

detailed, talk to

me & I cannot

hear & I have no

idea who they are.

Their precise features.

Where are the

rooms & the

houses & the swimming

pools & rivers

the garden that

I walk up to

in my dreams.

They are so

real & I have

                                never seen them

before. & why

                do my mother

                                & father come

to my dreams

                every now &

                                then. She still

walking    not in

                her wheel chair.

                                he old but not

ill. They come to

                see me

                                but don’t say

much, the moment

                shorter than a

                                commercial from

the after life. Makes

                me wonder how

                                often I was in their

dreams when they

                were alive, another

                                thing we never

talked about.

                    I tell you all this

over a phone line

                                        as if I were talking

out loud

                    to myself

                                        to the dogs

                                        to the cats

                                        to the mirror

I have removed           my glasses

                    so I can hear

                                        you listen.




[William Gibson

March 6, 2001]

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