3 on Isolation

On the half-shell

They're walking down the street
so far apart

reminds her all those times

she tried to find him
in the dictionary.

Her fingers moved
like an itinerant stopping

for a while near the sea
on the north-west coast of Tasmania

she tossed and turned on the edge
of a bad dream

he wouldn't speak to her after
defining 'shy' she searches

under 'recluse'
which led to solitary

confinement he said he
preferred to be alone although

something stirred sometimes
he'd mention love,

then run.
This is understandable.

He needs distance more
than intimacy interfering with desire.


The Study Of Demographics

He notices single women getting drunk
more than he notices any other demographic.

And he knows uninhibited in good.

Determined to dance is good. Singing
is good. Stumbling
is less good.

Slurring is worse. Shouting
and argumentative
is not good. Legs buckling is bad. Weeping is bad. Sick
on the floor is really really bad. It's awful

he decided not to call, by the way,
at slurring.

She didn't want
him to call anyway. He belongs to the demographic
of married man with marital
problems who happens to fall into

the drunk demographic where exchanging
names and not much else is less disappointing
than belonging

to the demographic
of optimism
and hope. The married man with marital
problems has other problems

in a blurry world perched
somewhere else they fumbled without wanting

to find
anything, without
feeling anything except chafing

and that silly grin licking her lips when he said
a lot of things that are easy to say
to a stranger

who doesn't care let alone notice

legs buckle.

Both are unsteady
in the world perched somewhere else
newspapers are read, toast is spread with honey
and talk
is called a conversation

no doubt full of good intentions
and sun shine
not found in the demographic cut by ribbons of light.

Futility is always dimly
lit in low rent apartments and hotel rooms
in big cities.

In big cities and in remote towns
someone is doing a Distance
Learning Business Course
with no classroom interaction,
no technical support although there are instructions,

a mantra repeating
make it 'interesting' and 'exciting'
when she writes a report, inserting
business-like headings for business-like points.

The graphs are of a style that takes hours
to decide how much prettiness
is truly desired

while the words
are like those from a married man
promising to call.

(Points 1. to 5. taken and slightly altered from "Times On Line)


Before I leave

this awkwardness
is all that is left, is the only
clue in the bedroom
you seriously
expect me to be
to understand the way you touch
is not a question
you'd ever wish to hear an answer.


- Alison Eastley