ankle-deep in scuffed leather
It may not be logical to anticipate another chance, but why not keep quiet. Satisfied with glances and glimmers, french exits and the ghosts of fingertips on shoulders, like that laughing girl on the wine stained floor where you rose above the crowd to look down, lofty and lonely in a smoke-filled sweaty Olympus.
Your pantheon will come, wind along the path of least resistance, look to the wilderness outside your window, wait for the wind to blow something your way.
Window shop for houses, boats, birthdays and hangovers, fall asleep on the way home.
There’s something new in those veins that glow blue through roughly tattooed wrists, something that emerged from a chest of gold nestled in thousands of years of plastic and cigarette butts, soggy bread spread over the decks where the birds dip down to peck again and again as if they can change anything. Blood replaced with mud and salt and smoke, sipping from flasks full of feeble sentimentality, a potion for melancholy and dignified laziness, an elixir to disregard time, cancel plans and dance until morning. Swim in it if you like, where the waves push bottlecaps and bits of plastic in your direction, where you watch loud street arguments and sip cheap beer flavoured with social anxiety.
Toss your hair twirl and stare, grasp hands and twist away. Find a far off target, set your sights to solo so the end is nothing more alarming than a dance through dark streets unsteady on your own feet past towers of grilled meats to the corner, where the wine leaks out on the page in a wobbling imitation of some dive in 19th century Paris you studied for a few months. Your lines are loose and languid cold and confused in comparison to the master’s mark making you barely remember.
The equivalent of 3 sous in today’s American dollars is 85 cents, or 4.5 turkish lira. It could buy you most of a soup at 3 am after a jarring ride on the omnibus, or an early-morning poğaça to nibble while you pursue banal conversation in the tekel, like one does.
Wander home in the happy haze of wasted days and the thrill of sabotaging your own plans. Crouch cozy under the covers with an aching back and smelly breath, wake to cats yowling outside.
Wake alone under the sun, wake wild and willful and weird, untethered, those scars on your back are the beginnings of feathers, though you may have only realized this now.
The waves are screaming to bathe us in syrup, to spin swirl and sweat, for every piece until we tear apart, or away, or whichever direction one goes with arms in the sky and an inability to meet defeat. We defy, detour, put up signs that lead nowhere and disappear when they’re needed.
Take us by the hand towards those streets we never dreamed existed where we turn to finally realize this skin is our own and the silhouette somehow still in the distance.
thumbnail image . soup a trois sous by James McNeill Whistler, etching from 1859 (sourced from the Met Museum)