Blue Seed Pattern, 1987

for Trish Sewell and MM

What if we stayed up all night?

This was long years before Seoul

Tokyo, beloved Kyoto

singing Daijobu! with the genki boys

down on Kawaramachi-dori

down by the hot coffee machines.

 

What if we walked the city?

This, after years walking

the long browed hills of the north

only the starfields above us

far away, like the spangled rest of the world.

 

What if we followed the night? so we stepped out

scuffed down April-grey sidewalks

creatures of northern spring, our thrift

store trench coats, Army and Navy sneakers

hands in pockets like New Romantics

but we were cold, not cool.

 

In Little Italy, we dared Tra Amici

hunting gelato, authentic flavour

felt the true, deep, smoky closure

around each table, these men

who owned this hour in this place.

 

In time, we wended back to the Bay

Station, empty now with the last train sleeping

don’t sleep in the subway, darlin’ we sang

hooting ironically, admiring the shine

of tiles in orange, grey, hard blue, too quiet.

 

What if we go home for tea? so we did.

Back to his place, my sister and i, like

Leonard Cohen’s Sisters of Mercy perhaps

we each held something tight from that night

something we each let go, this place

not wide awake, not a world city, just a dusty

prairie gathering of souls, those awake

contemplating the far off spangle of other worlds.

 

Here, it was enough to drink jasmine tea

not like any other song or story, just three friends

each cupping a warm round

serving to connect us to every conspirator ever,

and to none. We were just kids, hungry for life,

satisfied with green and flowering water

and the cheap light through blue and white

crockery, none the less mysterious for its low price.

 

See, he said, you can see light

through the pattern; it’s meant to mimic grains of rice.

We owl-nodded, mesmerised

and comforted by patterns

in pale blue, like every night before or since.

AMS

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