After dinner

December 12, 2010

Around ten thirty we emerge from the restaurant
full of crab meat and oysters and shrimp.
A queue is blocking our way and it’s cold in London,
colder than I remember
blue claws reaching inside every layer of clothing –
a merciless reminder of suffering oblivious to appeals

We push through the line, politely.
It’s full of these young girls – identical fabulous dolls – straight hair, straight backs, high heels, short skirts, makeup, gloriously mechanical in a
Henry Ford take on lust on a conveyor belt towards loud music and alcohol
once the black maw of the club swallows them

Why they are standing here and
who knows what they’re looking for
not me I don’t.

Their long legs defy cold and night
and their impatience makes air tremble.
Their anticipation steams and my breath steams
and Heat
escapes escapes escapes
all around us and we can find no answers
here, or elsewhere

We walk away full of wonder,
He gets prepared to travel.
I get prepared for solitude.

We continue with our goodbyes

13 Responses to “After dinner”

  1. Claudia said

    i’m always stunned by your capability of taking this everyday moments, we all know so well and you weave our observations and your emotions into them beyond what the eye would see. tight write anton. also like the ending – continue with our goodbyes

  2. forpuck said

    Thank you Claudia

  3. wkkortas said

    I like the juxtaposition of seafood and the “blue claws” of the cold. Likewise, I generally abhor one-word lines (they tend to be affectation without purpose), but “one/by/one” is Exhibit A on the correct way to use them (sparingly, and with a purpose). There is a tangible notion of being an outsider here; the girls are distinctly defined as “young”, which bangs up against the decidedly un-youthful (un-hip?) reference to Henry Ford. There is so much here–the young girls as cogs in the machine (to reference Ford again), the lack of individualism on the girls’ part as they enter the faux community of the club cf. the individuality of the narrator heading off to solitude. There is a great deal here, both in terms of theme and tone. It is an unusually strong piece of work.

  4. forpuck said

    Thanks WK. This is a weird one for me, in the sense that I really don’t ‘feel’ this one that strongly, yet people are reacting favourably to it. Thank you as always for the analysis, which is much more elaborate than what went through my head when I composed this…

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by chelsea g. summers and Anton Gourman, Anton Gourman. Anton Gourman said: After dinner: #poem #london #farewells […]

  6. marousia said

    Beautiful use of the vernacular – I love the everyday as a source of inspiration too. There are some great images – “Their long legs defy cold and night
    and their impatience makes air tremble.”

  7. Another great write…I also enjoyed your piece on New York.
    – Cheers!

  8. Trulyfool said


    Really nice feel to this one. The contrast between cold and ‘hot’. Between alone and ‘social’.

    Where indeed do the birds fly?


  9. hedgewitch said

    Nice processional of images and mood, introspective and almost a set piece of our times–the conveyor belt of lust, the identical dolls–(yes, I see them every day and wonder how they all manage to look exactly the same…)A strong ending that transitions from exterior to interior, general to personal..enjoyed it.

    btw is “shirt skirt” a typo for “short,” or intentional? (They may be wearing shirt skirts in London for all I know. )

  10. forpuck said

    Thanks everyone.

    @hedgewitch – that is indeed a typo, and it has been corrected. They are wearing tube tops and short skirts and high heels. All of them.

  11. signed .............bkm said

    Great write enjoyed the journey and the solitude…thank you…bkm

  12. The lead-up is your usual bustling-with-images-&-tension work, but the last two stanzas stand out – relatable, a quiet exclamation on the aggressive din of what preceded it.

  13. Gay said

    Amused we both started with claws today in completely different contexts. I liked this very well. Images stand out in the cold in neon colors and chilling exactness. Excellent write!

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