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hard to say

hard to say - Portside Power Plant*
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it was hard to say why she liked him -
maybe it was because she hadn't noticed
the bleakness that was sometimes in his eyes,
the occasional bitter edge to his words,
the hints of wrinkles worrying their way into his face.

maybe she hadn't caught how
self-absorbed he could be,
how oblivious to the wants and needs of others
he was when he started sinking.
perhaps she hadn't noticed that either.

there was the sharpness in his voice that he tried to hide,
the questionable tone of his physique,
the lack of vocational success -
these, too, must have eluded her.

she was a beautiful, charming woman
maybe she projected onto him an idealized image
of someone who could smile and laugh, who
might brighten her life simply by being in it. and yet

he was part of a different world,
one with much less coherence, a world of
environmental toxins and barren corridors,
of mummified hopes and desiccated dreams.
when daylight did come to him, she did so gingerly
and was glad to take her leave of him at dusk.

as has been mentioned,
the girl was as lovely as salvation itself.
it was hard to say why she liked him.

Portside Power Plant (a pseudonym), 2006. Photograph and text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America

Also in: Portside Power Plant*

a certain kind of emptiness
echoes from the life behind
rendered drab by the shadows of time
of forms assembled in the light
locked from the inside
counterpoint to our fundamental failures
a symbol for the century
the trail of the past
in things continually vanishing
what i wanted