Sunday, 8 January 2017

Mad Love (a visual poem)

Mad Love
on Epiphany 

Afraid of the January void, of these empty days divest now of adornment,
the time, the space, like a vacuum sucking me down, almost a week in, offspring 
at school, past the sugar rush of new year wishes, 
I take a double-decker to a friend's basement in N16, the back seat,
as a sage to a holy abode, and he fed me on spelt-flour bread with brie, 
a supper of korma, aubergine, fine shavings of coconut, with
tumeric and Rosé. I gleamed the ash-smudged coffee table
until we could see again through the glass, and went for sea salt. And
he taught me nutrition - he likes to teach -
and, sacred but not religious, we celebrated an Epiphany of sorts, 
he more radiant than ever in the warmth 
of the fire budding out of the beeswax, glowing in the red glass
holders I had given for Christmas, scarlet stars shimmering...

How much should we do for a beloved?
Could I be as a classical ballerina before an auditorium,
feet latticed into pointe pumps, toes blistered, muscles honed,
trained to make an artless show of hidden degradation,

dancing at the shrine of love's temple, expressions as if 
painted on? A body like a glossy lid. If I were a dancer,
my teacher would be Isadora, the name of both dancer
and the girl I miscarried, whilst he would be teacher of love.
He likes me barefaced with natural grace, my un-kohled eyes 
undisguised. I did not learn artifice from him. 
He cannot be blamed for any prior
contortions. And did he teach me how to pose?
To apply cosmetics? What to wear?
Or to eat less to try to stay thin.

Let's suppose we were strangers on a train, passengers, 
drawn together, initially just passing the time, I would want him 
to stay on forever, skip every station, to the end. I would (I know) try
to keep him on, would agree to things, may, for example, wait 
for him in the washroom cubicle, (depending on the state of it), 
permit access to my leg, stocking tops, beneath the table between,
but like to think I would not agree to everything, and
even if I was deep in I would not, for example, dance naked on the train,
on the top of the train, to please anyone. Also, I'd be ready for him to descend
at any time. (That paradox of non-attachment and desire they train you in.)
And never would I threaten to throw myself onto the tracks if he should wish to descend.
No blackmail.  But who wouldn't chase the rewards? The thrill of 
the game. Only on the days I'm not wanted would I, my new default setting,
read Proust's In Search of Time Lost (not wishing to regret lost time).

On other days, I travel home on the bus and watch an abstract 
of lights through the rain blur and dazzle as a multiple of fire-ball stars -
fairy-lights randomly spaced along invisible threads,
mad flowers, splurges of spilled ink in fluid...

the image of my love-shot mind, stripped of sense and vocabulary.
strung as if in twinkly love jewels, mouth quieted,


as if some invisible love-God secretly spiked the drinks,
as if I'm not of the real world, as if angelic and wordless, unwilling 
to limit my mind with the common currency of words, abstracted...
And I don't know how to give this up - will do anything, almost, for 
such (pain-numbing) euphoria - for the man - we as spirits -
each others' medication, but I like to think I would not
lattice my feet and get blisters for the sake of love.
I could not be a classical ballerina,
not even the prima donna,
not if I damage
my feet.

A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.
Simone Weil

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