Issue 12 - Armando Halpern - Foreign Town

The real travel starts when you open the door

and hundreds of miles catch up with you in a breath,

when you step out of the car and walk

along the gravel on the garden alley,

when you push the door in and register,

when you go out in the evening

walking between old doors and houses

and check the old square of the town

where you are to stay for a few days

and you sit and you sip a beer

and you look at me and you open a smile

and you think at last that it might be real.


You are in a foreign town, you and I,

where we don't know the language or faces

and you are new to yourself and

I am different to your touch,

to your ears, to your arms that hold me

as the proliferation of subtle systems of reference

of which you have yet received no key.

Here, we are not names but loose shadows

sticking to our gestures no matter what we try,

no matter what we think or say,

you do what you do and I see what I see

but we'll leave no scent or trace here

and the town is always outside and welcoming,

pulling us closer in an intimacy that adds

to our own like an invention of identity.


At night, when we go to sleep, before and after,

our fingers are busy and harvest and relax

the fatigues of the day, of crossing random streets and alleys

as if you looked for yourself and always discovered

something else, without a shape or a colour,

as if projected out of time and space.


You see me undressing in a mirrored hotel room

and gaze at our silent images

as if you worshiped the goddess of the mirror,

the one that has no image of her own,

you sense my touch and stroke the warmth of my skin,

you see my face so close to yours and my breath,

you feel my weight settling between you thighs

but we are nowhere when we moan and scream

as we are when we rest and smile,

not in this town, in this hotel, in this soft bed,

but in this place where we discover

what is irrevocably ours, so irrevocable

that it could already be in our hearts

even before we left that source we call home,

sleeping with the beauty of a large coiled snake

hiding behind churches, museums, doors

and open roads.


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