When I was a young man,
I was hell-bent on making a name for myself,
don’t know where it came from
this cloying ambition,
this shard of self-promotion
stuck deep in my heart
Oh, to meet me you wouldn’t know it,
wouldn’t sense this striving
seething beneath my politeness and good breeding.
No, you would probably say,
if you thought to comment at all
to your companion at the time,
upon walking away and not being otherwise distracted by,
say, the play of the light on the sun-tawny hills
or the way a passing young woman’s dark curl strayed
across her forehead
that “there goes a sensible young man with dreams,
sure enough, but dreams rooted in pragmatism”.
But all the while, I would be clamped down
on the ashes of envy, bitter against
the roof of my mouth and I would covet
what you had, my Jekyll and Hyde shadow
to knock you from your perch.