Night Out

At 9 the boys come home from Carter’s,
wet with drink, holding handles of Jack Daniel’s
and litres of coke, full of plans.

They play with the Polaroid camera, ask
for the Underworld remixes, and reminisce
on the pill trips of their childhoods.

Once all the bottles have emptied into bellies,
they gather themselves for a night out
in Edinburgh in November.

We are going dancing, they decide.
We are going to the Wee Red Bar.
We are going to get drunk, and be young.

Mounting one another like horses,
they race and spur through the Grassmarket,
towards the Cowgate.

Someone has asked them to fight.
Someone has chucked a bin into the street,
and smashed all but the neck of a bottle on the pavement.

The horses carry on. A blonde in the street
hands them coupons on drinks and they ask her
for a song, any song, they say, sing us a song.

This new club is toxic with pairs.
The birds wear matching costumes—
pirate eye-patches, tie-dye, or pretty in pink.

A lonely girl sways with her eyes shut on stage,
jostled by couples kiss-dancing. The boys
buy a round of tequila shots and forget everything.

The night dissolves into itself – a custard
of liquor and time. One has fallen asleep in the corner,
and the others, standing at diagonals, pick up their coats.

Outside, the first snow of the year falls
in holographic flakes. The boys scrape raw hands
over parked cars, building filthy snowballs.

They wait with lazy eyes and smiles for the Fright Bus
back to Corstorphine. We are getting too old, they say,
too old for such a great night out.


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