the only free man

Writing it down is literally writing it out
and the love I suffered, the pain that nearly killed,
embarrassment misreading Mandy's pout,
the choking angry anthem that had filled
my heart with murder when I saw blood rise,
the glory of the sunset on the beach;
the echo of her laughter, the shadow of her eyes,
the half-wave as she walked beyond my reach.
To capture these in words I write in lines:
the dancing, drums, intoxicating drinks,
the road-gang years, the taxes and the fines,
the kisses Death blew to me through the cracks
of the forts and palaces I leased for gold,
to write them is to forget them, make them old.

The Only Free Man appeared in Möbius in November 1999.