Sunday, 25 September 2016

Thoughts on a Complex Passion

LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 
September 20th 2016

Two years since we met, your gaze
has become watchful, knowing 
my fragility, now, as you would comprehend
the fissures in 
a favorite cracked vase
you try not 
to break when 
pouring fluid in. 

Now, I only have tiny 
amounts of wine.
We know how I can get sick after a single glass and cry. 
And run to the bathroom locking the door, 
like that other time, you 
attempting to get in, because maybe you think
I will commit some kind of self-damage
alone, with a razor or other improvised

weapon of self harm. I won't, but you don't know it,
that I'm not envisioning self harm, and maybe I made 
you worry more than I realised at the time.
Anyway, they don't teach this, do they 
at boarding schools in England's remote fields?
How you handle a crying woman in a bathroom? 
They teach you to write to a far away mother.
Seal it and put a stamp on. No tears.


Two years in. And now we know everything there is 
to know about each other. We know it like we know 
The Songs 
of Innocence and Experience.
We know how to steer this carriage we find we're in
together and how fast this love 
chariot drives in each different gear.
And how to press emergency stop.

It is good.
All fine. I think.
After the derailments and the rifts, the coffee dates and messaging
with the various chancers and newcomers, tried out to see if
there was anyone we preferred, like choosing a garment
that is the best fit and style on us and moves 
how we want it to move like some exquisite fabric,
the perfect fit.

Back together - you say,
look it may not be forever.
And I sense that you won't get aboard.
Because you will be up,
high in the tower, 
watching for other ships, still thinking
there could be some better option, some younger girl
docking in a glamorous port; you warn me it may not last,
shining the lamps for me on the rocks.

And what am I to do?
Just sail away, into oblivion?
Or moor the little coracle on an island alone, 
lighting the kindling of my own tiny fire? 
And when you return like a seafarer with many stories to tell, 
do I surrender again at command, saying,
'So tell me then?' The only consolation, the pillaging of ideas
for the novels you and I one day will write...
And am I still in your contacts?
Do you have me on speed dial or someone else?

I would like to drop you in the sea like a piece of cherished
worn down glass I no longer have space for in my pebble collection. 
No, I don't want a sybarite, I want your heart 
stowed away in the curve of my little boat, 
and sealed in box and bow so no one else
can get it. This is what I want, really want, but I'd never say that
I want it all, want for nothing but for you to mirror me and say,
yes, it is all or nothing and yes I want it,
forever in your arms until death parts.

But you win me back anyway. By chance, for no reason, we are 
discussing sports cars and you play me Paradise by the Light of 
the Dashboard.  You sing me it. Singing, part of your 
charm arsenal. Could have been written for you, you say...
Did you copy the lyrics out from the middle stanza where she
tries to extract a marriage promise from the ambushed man?
You know me so well. And I know it. We both know
how I say the right things but will agree to anything...
And I know I am entirely transparent.

And even as I rock about in the little storm of my passion
whilst you look on saying, it is just half-love, be ready
for this all to end, (and other such commitment-phobic euphemism) 
I stage anniversaries of first dates, 
Rosé with lunch, 
(as it was that first day), the pink cardigan again, like
the first time; arrange birthday dates, 
drinks I know that you like, such as Cassis, or Strega, 
imagining you under my spell. This time 
he will not get away! I'm working on this behind the scenes! 

Sometimes I wonder if I am in love with love 
instead of in love with you. Is the real you in the picture at all ? 
Or a mere vision, a version of you?
And you warn me, you can love me as madly, as I want, 
but could hurt me badly, and you mean it, no doubt, although at least 
you say it straight...
'Remember what they say about me, sweetheart, 
'Mad, bad and dangerous,' don't say I never said!'  And I could
sail on. Sail by. And
I picture you lighting up the lamps of the lighthouse, 
whilst I want to sail across oceans.






The island has people on it now.  
I made sure I would not be alone.
If you want me then leave the tower and come right down
to the sandy beach. It's sandy see? Doesn’t hurt the feet.
Splash through the shallow waves, warm and never cold.
And into the deep water.  
No rocks.
Into the boat. Heart ideally for a ticket, I'd like to add,
but I don’t.  I tell myself that I have it 
and he has mine, as he steps in for nothing but charm.

And to me we are inextricable, fused into one and it does not 
really matter where he is because I am inseparable from him 
as the cells of his being. And meanwhile I wear him around the house,
even whilst miles away, and even if I wanted to cast off this garment
and run off somewhere else without it, he would still be there.
I did not choose it. Just
happened. Love chooses us. And in his absence I 
cradled an imaginary him, never got over it, just replaced
absence with an imaginary him. 

Yesterday, I read it back, a diary entry from before, barely able 
to read it over. ‘I am nothing without love,’ apparently I wrote.
I could never write such a line now!
I want him because I like him, but not because I feel like
I cannot survive without the man. And 
I’m in the boat, waiting,
but not for long, not for long as it will take him to cut
out his heart and leave it like a blood stain 
whilst I drag aboard a corpse. 

I could call the yacht All or Nothing.
Whilst he calls his tower Half-Love Hotel.
And stranded in the in-between he flutters an agreement
before my startled eyes -
I call it a ‘pre-fuck’.
It is full of warnings and opt out options.
(But I have an opt-out date in mind. The last laugh to be mine.)
And the Strega will be drunk on his duvet spread like a 
beach blanket in a forever holiday romance.

Stranded between - the sybarite and the hopeless romantic,
the scissors are on a high shelf and no cutting out hearts
or sick-inducing rollercoaster rides.
Where are the others? 
That other girl?
Whilst we are drinking this Rosé,
this Strega, they are gone. Does it matter?
You’re the one. You say when you’re drunk. 
Sign here. Sign it in ink and blu-tack it onto the wall.




Dire Straits
Romeo and Juliet 






LONDON BALCONIES
September 25th 2016
on the second anniversary of our first date...


Haven't heard since last Friday at 20:37!
Filed then under missing person /
gone to St Tropez with that girl who invited him
to a Regatta on the internet. (A Regatta now !!)
Meanwhile, I dally writing love poems on the 
'second anniversary' of the first time we met
off-line and wondering if I can (with a clear conscience) publish 
this spontaneous literary flurry before he reads over them, and if not, then
how do I find the missing person so he can check
my portrayal does not depart too much from
his self-vision as perfection personified?  Better not risk it. 

Though I want to publish everything, being an exhibitionist.
He knows about this exhibitionism (knows everything) and 
whilst drunk has agreed to being written about, but I am unsure if 
this counts as agreement.. (sigh)  I could of course Phone. 
But what if he does not answer and I'm left there just
Hanging on the Telephone ? At least we both like Blondie.
The one thing we have 'in common.' Anyway, supposedly we have a date 
lined up for tomorrow. 'I will arrive early,' I said, but 
it was only pencilled in.
We have not confirmed.

So lost now between thinking
that this is a 'prep' day or I should just get on with my
novels. Stranded in the no-reply-for-a-day waiting 
room of angst as though the plane is delayed without any
explanation at all. What did this to me anyway? What made
me into this tragic Juliet awaiting her Romeo like for sunrise?
his last message incidentally, a link to the Dire Straits song Romeo and
Juliet to which I did not reply for half a day as I was out. I was just
elsewhere at some gig in Portobello. 

Perhaps he’s filed me under Missing Person / out with that man 
who accosted her on the internet the other day.
Maybe not. But why did I leave it so many hours?
Like a rejection.
And that brief reply to the link I sent. 'Oh yes, I remember that track. 
Good one.  Have to go out now. Bye.' 
Over confident. Feeling like I had the 'upper hand' for a while...
but now, two years since our very first date of the internet,
I hover as a butterfly on a plant that in my imagination
today is dead, but will burst back into bloom the minute
a message lands into my inbox. Anyway, I always said
he knows just how to 'play me', and he does. Yes.

I am right there on the turntable now and I expect he can
hear these laments even via telepathy, wherever he is even
if watching the little yachts, sails like the pristine new untouched underwear 
of some new lover, shimmering in a patina
of suntan oil like a girl ready basted for lustful consumption.
She's probably sent him the single airfare to Nice. 
I won't even try to compete. What is the point?
Anyway, I should do something else. Yes. 
Instead of writing a poem about the poems I cannot publish
until he reads them and says, fine, pin them up, pin me
up for a slating. For the devouring eyes of your readers.

Where is he? Is he asleep? Is he  (you never know)
dreaming of me?
Anyway, I never got over it. Or over him.
And neither of us ascribe to no texting rules.
Except evidently this has changed on his part 
and she perhaps has said no texting to your ex
lovers. Perhaps this is the explanation.
Not sure it's going to happen. The two dates
set up for this week. Will we ever make it to
the so-called 'Strega day', just the first of many 
birthdays together, each named after a different liqueur -

a different spirit to be sampled, 
birthday after birthday, 
until we die.
This is the idea. 
But he does not know about it yet.
About the last scene I scripted in at his death-bed
when he old and ready to slip out of my arms into
heaven.
I have not told him he must wait for me patiently and not talk
to other women or text them. We do not talk about the future.
He says, 'Don't ever look ahead and no promises.'

I said, a few times, 'By the way, if you think the old 'treat them mean'
adage actually works you would be quite wrong...'
Anyway, I think he is in his apartment
and deliberately holding out so he can 'pretend'
he is at the Regatta. That's it. And he is simply making
his breakfast, and thinking well, it's Prep day, so I'd
better tidy round, as in, move a shirt off the floor, 
push those papers into a slightly neater pile instead 
of an avalanche, put all the things she left here in a little heap 
for her to have back. Bracelets and stockings with bows on.
She likes to make her presence felt... he smiles. 

the this smile infects me like contagious telepathy, and
makes me smile... I like this imaginary friend. 
And perhaps he is thinking, how many 
hours until she is here?
Shall I phone her?
But I don't want to 
disturb her,
my Juliet...
I'll just smooth the covers on the bed.








III
December 19th
Not an anniversary of any day or date.
Just another day in the year.
We've done the birthday Strega,
and had the peace offering Cointreau after one or our break ups,
and I suggest tequila next but intend to hold off until Valentine's;
then says he can make a good marguerita.

So next time at his apartment,
a basement near the River Lea, which has become now,
my favourite River -
the footbridge to the fields beyond reminds of crossing the fence
between my back garden in my childhood home and the fields
beyond, the same angle on the railway track cutting through
we drink margueritas,

side by side on the couch,
with the margueritas he made...
Tastes of the sea, I said, like being
underwater, and swallowing
brine. ''Yes, but you get past that," he says.
"Is it sea salt?" I ask.
"Himalayan salt."

My last marguerita was in Paris in around 1996.
Twenty years ago.
About the same, he says.
And twenty years from now perhaps we'll have the next one.
Tequila day.
December 19th is tequila day.
Remember that day?
By then we will be so old.

How long can we make it together?
How long will this last? Does it matter?
We are just adding one day to the next,
one date onto another like a string of them...
a string of crystals
and whenever it breaks we mend and rethread it
again because somehow it matters more than we
ever imagined it would.