this man

Cowering from the caustic boozing, his liver-nub sits, bruised and bruising, like the woman who quivers in the office toilet feeling the knuckles kiss her eyesocket Starbursting brilliant lights.
The cool tap-tap of his nail against the bottle-neck reassures him against the uneven rapid-fire of his heart.
What is that blood-pump even worth? he thinks with disgust.
A stained grin: it must be pickled by now.

His companion’s head dips down to rest on the sticky-stained bar top.
Soft thud.
Slipping down, his glass hits the floor from fingers loosed by liquor snores.
Soft thud of spreading suds underneath their chairs.
That face, like an overgrown onion – all raw flesh and sprouts of hair –
Moles like muddy water splashed across his neck with a tide mark to his jaw.
Hard getting laid with a face like that.
Must be why he’s sitting here, dribbling on the sticky-stained bar top.

Mumbling, his companion’s sleep-words burst bubbles.
Round, wet spit-bubbles.
He smiles: the acrid popping sweet-notes his swaying, tuneless swaying to his friend’s burping melody – that rotten jazz, steeped too long in dark-club-barley-smoke.

He’s ready for air, ready to retch at this stranger stuck to the sticky bar-top.
Ready to reel into the dark-edged night and fall on some soft rest,
A bed or park-grass,
Just some peace from shaking hands and shaking strangers.

Flashes of pale fingers, jasmine, morning light on red hair on rumpled sheets.
A seldom-seen memory, now.

It’s rent and ripping at the seams, bare threads shivering like quivering nerves.

Gun-shot: jerk awake.
Just a car.

The white sheets fade in the dawn-blue-tinged-night.
His sweat mixes with dew-grass leaving a cold dream-chrysalis.

©Liv Satchell 2012

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