He Can Run Off

he can run off---
he can hold on night as a
best friend and be afraid
and tender with the other
artists at the tavern feeling
the licking cold of Coventry's
winters thru' exposed corners
and wettened mahogany while
I sit up face against moon hidden and aching cold of glass

while he can run off.
I cannot.
there: I have my poems and my
photographs and he has
his Tchaikovsky his Bach his Brahms
and the men in the bars with their
tragic faces all pallor and dark eyed RAF pilots home
from Argentina or
Iraq:

if he ever broke apart here then I would
not be the one to sweep off the floor
like a rose-vase shattered and the porcelain
egg-thing white as the underside of a comet.

he can be blinded.

there are iron fences
lining the yards of the wealthy
and when I crack open his wine
bottles or packages from Calais
the hurt underneath my fingernails is

his skin and sweat and blood.

this is not me sobbing wildly when
the Leonid meteors make quarterly
bombing runs reminding
Coventry that the hurt of things is recorded
on sky and intertwined stars like the ivy outside
the ruins of old Saxon mansions and stone plows.

He can in his catastrophe hold on tightly
to Frenchmen up country the farmers'
sons and here I am burning paper once more.
The curled delicate smoke is another
celestial piece of evidence that he is broken
and I am whole and he can run with deep
scratches across his broad Italian
shoulders and I will stay here.

Van Gogh portraits.

Finding that blue-stained wine bottle behind the headboard and postcards from Paris.

It is not uncommon to be alone