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I Heard You First

by Bugsy Watts 2 months ago in love poems
Runner-Up in From Across the Room ChallengeRunner-Up in From Across the Room Challenge
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Without turning around

Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

Lulled into the company of strangers by well-meaning friends,

I was immersed in the heart-pumping,


stifled breath

ambience of a party

designed to overwhelm the senses

and conjure the illusion of pleasure.

The music pounded on my eardrums,

the dance floor rose up to grab my feet.

I inhaled the sweat of intoxication

and tried to loosen each kink in my neck

before discomfort declared victory

and I slunk to quieter corners.


I perched on a sticky barstool

at the edge of the amoeba throng,

contemplating my escape to the cool midsummer air.

I sipped my overpriced drink and

fashioned my gaze on the rhythmic swarm.

I wondered why.

I couldn't help it.

I always wondered why.

Why did I venture to a place I did not care to be?

Why was I sitting here,

silently observing the perplexing conduct

of people I had no interest in knowing.


I ran excuses over my tongue

before my nighthawk flight

was interrupted when

I heard you first.

And I'm unsure if you, too

were caught between obligation and a desire for newness

when you wandered out on a lively weekend.

You certainly rethought your choice

in a passionate lament to an invisible confidant

who could not understand.

He could not comprehend the regret

of a decision already made

to step into the centre of a buzzing, beating, hive.

But I heard the crackle in your honey-sweet voice

connoting an experiment tried

and failed.

I heard you first.


I inclined my ear as you emptied your heart

in a plea so honest

I bent under its weight.

You wished for something more than the fogginess

of insignificant nights placed at convenient intervals

in predictable routine.

You hoped for something deeper than the

half-drained personalities of hazy people

desperate to forget.

You needed to know there was something out there

to remind your heart to keep beating.

I heard you first.


I listened as your exhale drifted

into the open space of misunderstanding

as your confidant dismissed with wry humour

what could only be a minor lapse.

I smouldered with empathy as I imagined

the look on your face.

I commiserated with each word as they fell to the dirty floor.

I reveled in the soothing space of your story

without turning around.


Maybe the stools at the end of the bar

were reserved for discontented patrons

or maybe my wondering had an accompanying answer.

I'm not sure.

But the empty seat next to mine was soon occupied

by the person I heard first.

I turned to catch a glimpse.

There you were.

love poems

About the author

Bugsy Watts

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth

I write about the images and ideas that burn deep within me. I hope whoever reads my work feels happy they did.

Instagram: @bugsywattspoetry

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