Ones and Zeros: poem

He says there’s nothing better

than the taste of cold beer

and he learnt to walk

with his dad holding out a can


His hand grips the glass

arms slung out


He winces as he swallows the dregs

like he’s seen in the movies

Asking loudly if anyone

wants another round

He announces himself


Quiet bar

grey town

small girl

Small enough to wrap his arm

around her waist

wrap his hand

around her wrists

Kiss into her smiles


He has a limping swagger

Swaying from side to side

but too much to the right


He can’t walk too fast, too soon

but he does it anyway



He is a pretender

He is a weaver of façades

A storyteller

He has a battered book

with his name on the front

He has a list of people he’s lost

and he reads to anyone who will listen


He speaks in elaborate tongues

You can smell perfume

on the words he breathes

You inhale in his pauses

and he loves it when you do;

you can see it

in the corners of his mouth

and the flicker of his eyes


Sometimes he is blank

like the alcohol’s bleached him

He speaks in

ones and zeros

He makes ones and zeros seem complicated

The other guy knew ones and zeros

like he knew notes on a scale

but he is not him


He doesn’t talk anymore

and you wonder if you’ve made the list

or if you’re the one he keeps quiet about


His lemonade at the bar


The tucked in page

that he reads to himself

when he’s telling stories



Em Humble

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s