Ian C. Smith
A tangle of rain, shadowy smoke
warty red bricks staring down decades
his hand on her pale belly, her breath
the unheated damp plaster room smell.
Now he strains to feel his former faith
why he loved that worn-out district
almost as keenly as her, and books
and music, so important to his life
its daily miracles, future hope
serious, like religious rapture.
Their cigarettes haloes of light, in winter
they operated a record-player, reaching
bare arms from beneath blankets.
When Nat King Cole crooned Autumn Leaves
they looked to the high grimy window
towards traffic sounds, trams, trains
unforgettable, so near yet far.
He knew nothing about living a life
wanted to be the next Norman Mailer
or John Huston, maybe Montgomery Clift.
He didn't care for money, nor earning it
never considered sexual performance
wanted to live in a house filled with pictures
to sleep each morning until he was rested.
The lyrics always end, of course, with regrets
those autumn leaves softly falling
darkening their windows when they moved on
their albums stored in attics, apart
only to come together again in recollection
of that bed time when they were too young.