English poetry

Poems in English

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.

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Poem People at Night - Denise Levertov