People At Night

A night that cuts between you and you
and you and you and you
and me : jostles us apart, a man elbowing
through a crowd.          We won't
                    look for each other, either-
wander off, each alone, not looking
in the slow crowd. Among sideshows
                    under movie signs,
                    pictures made of a million lights,
                    giants that move and again move
                    again, above a cloud of thick smells,
                    franks, roasted nutmeats-

Or going up to some apartment, yours
                    or yours, finding
someone sitting in the dark:
who is it really? So you switch the
light on to see: you know the name but
who is it ?
          But you won't see.

The fluorescent light flickers sullenly, a
pause. But you command. It grabs
each face and holds it up
by the hair for you, mask after mask.
                    You   and   you and I   repeat
                    gestures that make do when speech
                    has failed          and talk
                    and talk, laughing, saying
                    'I', and 'I',
meaning 'Anybody'.
                              No one.

by Denise Levertov

Comments (2)

- People At Night - A night that cuts between you and you and you and you and you and me: jostles us apart, a man elbowing through a crowd. We won’t look for each other, either- wander off, each alone, not looking in the slow crowd. Among the sideshows under movie signs, pictures made of a million lights, giants that move and again move again, above a cloud of thick smells, franks, roasted nutmeats- Or going up to some apartment, yours or yours, finding someone sitting int he dark: who is it really? So you switch the light on to see: you know the name but who it? But you won’t see. The florescent light flickers sullenly, a pause, but you command. It grabs each face and holds it up by the hair for you, mask after mask. You and you and I repeat gestures that make do when speech and failed and talk and talk, laughing saying ” I” and “I”. meaning “Anybody” No one.
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