poem: the coffee-shop people

the lights in the coffee-shop are plague
lights; the orange faces of men neutered and hung upside
down. i am the lonely one,

sitting at one of fifteen tables round like breasts
and remembering why i studied in university to such
an extent that i had only casual
friends; people that collided into my body
like accidents; and i spent spare time watching world war
two documentaries in french,

to practice the language and because it was
my favorite war. now i am my own
favorite war — is that blasphemous to say? the hanging
men castrate me with lucid faces, both i and them knowing
that they are the only men
i will find palatable; we are both exhausted by the catastrophe
of ourselves, the inherent arrogance of sitting and
reading like beasts, performing.

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