portion of the artwork for David McAleavey's poetry

Friday night dinner and a movie
David McAleavey

starting from Larkin’s “Friday Night in the Royal Station Hotel”

High 20′ ceiling, flat black like the pipes and ducts.
Chairs willowy, reassuring. The evening’s smooth,
differently intriguing, when a robot-faced guy
declares, then repeats he’s not, repeat, the one to blame.
Glass of red wine, please. Or two. Obnoxious. Maybe he
reads the same self-help page daily to her, like prayers.
Pass the pepper, please. Let’s imagine far-off places:
Leeds, Lima, Honolulu. In this amply designed
room, so many cute little nooks, how’d we get stuck here?

How come he won’t eat his little pizza and shut up?
It is hard to refocus. Still, we do. We unwind
hometown gossip and workplace dramas, patching wounds, till
now at last (ourselves like them?) we ignore the neighbors.
Villages dwindle as you climb to altitude.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013