SUBTLE, Poetry by Shem Coja

Genre: Love, Affair, Women

by Shem Coja

He was a lover of twelve short months who was the first drink to begin a wasted night
And the excuse of returning every night for occasional one night stands, the reason why
Never a night turned into city lights, why never a fuck turned into making love–

Why the cigarette curled in my fingers lit while in bed with a boy, smoked to remember
And forget– then put out before daylight stings, never remembering a woman’s name
That this boy has yelled last night in his regretful orgasm that hints I just was a pronoun
Of his true love’s name

I used to hear poems and read them to a boy I’m with for the night when it feels like so and I
Would ask him with such contingence what his favorite word was– and for what it’s worth
He’d say nothing as if poetry is uncalled for but I know he’d like to answer her name–
Maybe Serena or Angelica, just not my name.

Of course he won’t tell me the story of how he got here in these flaunts of whores and women
Who are a scarlet letter in their own, painful, unspoken ways
Who want nothing in exchange but to be touched, even in its most insincere,
He won’t even tell me why he got here with me right now, so naked but never really bare
Pieces of the motel’s cloth covered fourths of my breasts with my blue dress somewhere
In the floor, teared up and filthy, and his trousers somewhere over his unloosen pride
Never letting me, his random slut, to the vulnerable part of his egoistic thoughts
Who can love anyone with all its might, who can apparently create could’ve beens

Tomorrow morning I’m just a temporary memory and he’ll just be a poetry
He’ll maybe recall the first letter of my name in the late nights of watching pornography
In the early mornings of warm bitter coffees that make our one shared night
An evening of a neglected secret to be blamed for a relationship’s failure
Or just a time-worn affair left to be forgotten when finally, he has her.

* * * * *
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