Sempre Lisboa

The cupboard was massive – it fell and fell was the falling of it.

I’m waiting for uma mulher
It has been a long day
She’s left it late
She will come
So they say


It’s Monday again – it comes frequently. 
A life smart-metered by bingo sponsored
daytime telly. Dry toast. No milk. Black tea.
There’s beans in the fridge – I can eat them cold.
I need to stock up. I’d go to Aldi,
but a flat tire makes that a long wet trek
in sighing rain. So maybe tomorrow.

I am alone, unloved, neglected, but
women have loved me – no one lately though,
not since Dinah. I blew it with Dinah.
I could have, should have, handled it better,
played hard to get. They say women like that,
but I was in love – assumed she loved me,
like a fool rushed in – I assumed wrongly.

Did she ever love me? Who is to say?
She was expert at ambiguity.
I kept her forget-me-not billet-doux,
a Celtic love spoon and gift of honey,
on a shelf with lipstick kissed photographs.
They slipped from view. She slipped from mind. Time passed.
Her cards gathered dust. I ate the honey.

In bed, watching The Jeremy Kyle Show – 
dismayed at the parade of wasted lives – 
the screen went dead, then flickered back to life,
I figured a lightning bolt struck the house.
The cupboard where I stowed my precious dreams,
objets d’art and flea market curios,
had worked loose, it’s headlong dive to the floor,

interrupted by a marble table
and ancient leather sofa arm. Broken
porcelain tea pots, Moroccan tagines,
(bought from a hawker in Albufeira),
smashed bottles, a vintage percolator,
shattered glass and fragments of terracotta
scattered themselves over the kitchen floor.

Lea and Perrins, ketchup, peanut butter,
splattered a cherished snapshot of Dinah
lunching, smiling, waving, blowing a kiss.
I damped a soft cloth to stroke off the smears,
as I wiped, her eyes and her hair erased – 
my fingers clutched tight a dissolving wraith. 
No face – just lips – an enigmatic smile.

“…Had an accident that was not your fault?”
A jag of isolation jolted me.
No chance of tea – my cups were smithereened.
I swung a wild boot at the t.v. screen,
scooped my passport from the Worcester Sauce pool
wiped it acceptable and headed south
by train and boat to buy a new tagine.

Lisbon terraço. Dining al fresco.
Douro. Anchoviella. Choice cigar.
A ballet of jasmine scenting the breeze.
A trio plays. A woman sings fado. 
Her words bleed duende – the hurt of love.
The song is not mine but I know… I know
she sings of Dinah – a song of my life.

© coolhermit 2023
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