They never get it right.
Real joy is dark and a little bitter
Like a kettle whistling in the heart.
Thin like a song
It can burn your lips,
Scald your tongue,
Get into your head
And make you ache
With its smell.
That’s why you've got to be careful,
Not drink too much.
It isn’t everyone who can make it, though.
Real joy must have the colour
Of partings on black water,
It must have the light of moons
Remembered through smoke
And words like sediment
At the bottom of a white goodbye.
It must have regret
And no sugar.
- from 'Espresso Joy', May 2003.