Stewart Brisby

Supply & Demand

you left metropolitan hospital
in my fourteenth year
ten blocks from those city projects
dangling on the lip of the east river

& the sadness we saw from a distance
was your constant thing
disguised in lenient poppies.

had i known you were so close
you might have borrowed the filters we wore
the fine mesh screens laid lightly
on callow eyes
because sadness is demanding

it hangs on walls in east village apartments ingesting music
from voices mirrored in the air.

sad songs are necessary
they supply

melodious demands
on sophisticated ladies crushed between white gardenias
& exonerated bibles

chivalrous demands
on discourteous death
for failing to return a lady to her seat

silent demands in frigid vestibules
recurrent genuflections
of someone in need

& because you sang
the end of a love affair
in tones that escaped your throat like
the ghost of original sin
going home after an eternity
of all night jam sessions

then walked away
only half a mile from my ignorance
i hung the song sheet beneath the mirror.

are you trying to tell me something?
my woman asked.

no i replied
i just like sad songs.
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