I always meant to write a song for you on Raglan Road. Then winter came, with its long johns and bold cats and forty proof. I entertained almost unidentifiable feelings in the basement’s blackout. It would have been better if I had left some feelings unidentified, but that was never my style, or rather lack of it: everybody knows I’ve got no game. Anyhow, if I did, what would we ever laugh about? I don’t believe everyone loves a winner, but I do believe we all crack up sooner or later for a dirty joke, a groaner — everyone loves a class clown, at least once, at least briefly, because everyone loves a punchline or a punching bag; everyone’s punch-drunk, one time. On Raglan Road, your hair started to go grey, I want to say prematurely, except we weren’t so young. Mature is a polite word for it; but you might say we skipped that part, headed straight to rotten. I skulked around those mold-drowned rooms in your rotten longjohns and felt a love for you so perfect it was indistinguishable from mourning. My love was so much more impeccable than any human man, you may as well have died. One imagines how it felt, in the crosshairs.
I missed you, daily, in plain sight, on Raglan Road with the lost leaves of January shuddering above your head in its permanent cowl of smoke, and the unimpeachable soprano winter light sifting through the wind’s tin whistle, and the holes in your socks, and in your shoes, and in that thing I called oh my heart. The sky was a series of holes closely woven as a sieve. I saw you straining through the winter’s pores into piebald tomorrow, halfdead with the life of it, and your greys like the fuzz on stale bread or a butterfly’s wing, your woolen foureyed glare all bergamot and black ice and brandy exhale, and the smell of the numb, simmering earth and your coat coated in cedar dust undusted and your safflower skin, and I could see myself, as if from a treebranch or a crow’s nest or a copcar peeling past on Raglan Road or near enough, at the edge of the frame whistling “Raglan Road” out of key, fading.