Helios and the Local Colours
When Helios deigns to show his sun-blasted face,
He brings out a prism of local colours.
That’s when I step out of my hovel,
Pull my cap down ov’r my eyes,
And go drink,
at a bar,
Run by a gay man
Who loathes me.

Though he sneers when he slams down my drink,
And abruptly adjourns our conversations,
Frequently forgets my orders,
and sighs smoke in my face,
He’s the only publican
in this fucking town
Who can make a proper cocktail.

He uses a glass screwed into a shaker,
The right bourbon and the sweetest vermouth,
With a symmetrical sliver of lemon
Twisted and seared
Mimicking the drinker and the maker.
He decants into a fancy glass
and garnishes with a gored cherry.

Outside, away from his jeering eye,
I sip my drink and watch the regulars.
I study the indigenous and destitute
As they socialise on a bench
They always welcome me,
Like they don’t know me
And like we are the oldest friends.

A native, smelling of glue, has his face tattooed.
That’s only acceptable on an island
Equally worshipping and scared of its heritage.
He interposes himself on my observation.
And frankly asks for a cigarette.
When I refuse, he doesn’t falter.
He just interrogates me about my day.

The off-duty prostitute surprises me,
she’s not on her usual corner.
Instead, she spreads herself on the warm bench
With her sad face and melted features,
Her missing teeth and blue bark,
She quotes Camus
To her compatriots.

When they leave,
The bartender emerges with a pot of boiling water.
He possessively scalds the public bench they dared to sit on.
Disinfecting their presence from his upscale atmosphere.
He’s an expatriated Castro Fag from the Frisco Bay.
Battle hardened by the local leather scene
Though he hasn’t lost his accent.
He’s as jaded as the stone Moko,
Set in dirty pavement stone.
Strode by prostitutes and artists alike.

When Helios deigns to show his sun-blasted face,
He brings out a prism of the local colours.
That’s when I let when I step into the light
Burn away my undeveloped privacy
I merge with the other colours,
Become refracted and reflected,
Just another dying hue.