Have we got as bad as all that?
Said Dick Lively to his
life-long enemy,
the scale of resentment
about, between and beyond
his lips, balancing, playing;
have all these years produced
nothing but awkward moments
after incorrigible hosts
cultivated our convergence,
issuing beguiling invitations
like favorable weather reports?

I say, have we produced
nothing more venomous,
more baleful
than ordinary and distinct
distaste for each other?

The two of us, at table,
facing away, drinking ceremoniously,
presenting our well-played disdain
to our dining audience,
to our own lying faces?

You say you hate me
as you always did,
but is this a deception,
a disfiguration abetted
by friends who see us
for what we really are?

Something like love
or thereabouts I have
more often found
than hate lately
in your dark eyes, your mien,
or was it always there?

God be my witness,
my hate for you
burns bright
as a midnight flame
true to its faith
in its shrine,
but sometimes
I seem to feel
a warmth for you
prowling like a panther
about my heart;
is this merely the calor
of youth passing?
Or the deep
and enfeebled in limine
disgust of old age?

I wish I knew.
Surely, you have some thoughts,
ideas, ruminations on this,
but no communiqué,
no answer I expect
or will receive from you,
squalid bastard and reprobate
and all that, my lifelong enemy
or merely a loved one in disguise?

Some endings, some problems
we can’t solve, implacable
daggers drawn,
a fight to the finish
with all the fixings;
the whole shebang
still ending up
betwixt and between.

Give it up, give it up,
don’t think about it,
my foe, my friend,
a labyrinth with no end,
no thread to follow.

Just face up to it;
all those bygone years
ravished, thrown away
trying our best to hate.

Woe, woe, cry it in the streets,
publish it in Gath, in Askelon;
no good being good enemies
or bad friends
if nobody knows or cares.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The RavensPerch and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies. The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen.