southend poetry home page

back issues







John Hennebry
Your Place

We had gone to Mr Bee's in Royal Oak
To rendezvous, to be openly surreptitious,
To dine ostensibly, al fresco in the evening air,
But more so to liaise, while drinking wine,
With what looks and conversation, we could,
With safety and discretion make,
At large, in such a public place.

It was a fashionable suburb of Detroit
Whose Main Street, with cafe-bars
And restaurants replete, was quite all right
For those who like to strut their stuff:
To promenade in pairs, or cruise by
On their shiny bikes, or park-up
In their chromy cars, where they could stare,
As well as we, not out of place, but public,
Free for the night, voyeurs of passing trade.

We met to find a place, our appetite,
More than the fare we ate,
And circumscribed by circumstance,
To each enjoy-the other in the histories,
We let unfold, the intimate expression,
The touch, sometimes, of tenderness
To try to ease the brutal that you told,
Laid bare in fresh disgust, endured,
For practical and patience' sake,
Within the web of contract,
Too complex and uncomfortable to loose,
Where humiliations borne were woven
Into that, which he had called your place.

We met, as lovers do, to find a space.