Keith Brighouse
a modern Bourbon

I stroll through any shopping mall
lose myself in the confusion of the herd
merge into a coffee blend of imagination and aspiration
this sometimes leads me into a romantic liaison
a lover who never lived or breathed but simply stared
a manufactured stare, of aloof indifference
chilled chic with fawning admirers, this is me
in control of my own whoredom

I am a modern Bourbon, strutting my stuff
up and down consumerism’s Hall of Mirrors
I preen and pout and strut through the palace
from the reflection with which I converse
a reflection within a world of reflections
there is nothing solid to hold fast to, no centre
just myself, shell empty, soulless, beyond reach
no heart, no wounds, no history, touch without feeling

such love is like a day, it simply slips away
the madness and the dream, the cocaine mall experience
you’re up, you’re down but you want something
in between, but in between is nothing much
the daily drudge and hand signals from the clock
breakfast, work, dinner, TV, make love
if love can survive the competition but mostly it’s
‘No thanks. Thank you very much!’

each morning the mirror refuses to lie
but neither does it tell the truth, it simply echoes
the mannequin that is me, I present before it
so while I seize the day, amidst the sparing vanities
practiced in artifice, confident in my own insincerity
in more lucid moments I ask, where is the ‘I’ in all this
the individual ‘I’, the independent thinking ‘I’
the real ‘I’ that would be better off reading books

trapped in a labyrinth of crystal alleys
my reflection no longer depends upon mirrors
like a hologram, I occupy space with light
an invisible hand which rearranges my thoughts and desires
freed this other me beyond my control
I talk to myself but I could be someone else
but what does it matter in this relative world
I choose my own facts and create my own fiction