No 10 - January 2000
When I Remember Those Summers...
The sequences I retain.
The images I produce.
I am born.
A tragedy of colours unleashed from a metallic sky.
I am guided.
A purse of gold, heavy in the grip of these fingers.
The sequences spontaneous.
The images rehearsed.
A morning when dead children sang.
Alone in this room, filtering evening’s dumb light, I re-arrange the scripts, semi nude by a calendar month. The woman in my memories ventures towards the scriptures. I warn her, although she is successful. And bleeding on a cross in olid damnation scorns savage my timidity.
My hand like a cloth covering my face. Am I in hiding or am I wiping away specks of shame.....? Is it this image of myself, or a flash of flesh revealing the identities I believe others see I want rid of, one way or the other? A young artist who calls herself Joan commences a portrait of me. I had tried to avoid this but her insistences charmed me one night when the table loomed above me and her pernod lips sipped my mouth. The insignificance of fresh colours detailing the monotony of a working life.......each day an anger, shaded solemn and remote and vivid; the appeasement of death frolicking funereal in meadows I had run through like fingers through hair blended in fine oils. Alone in this room awaiting her insistence towards another piece of art.
The ego swam flaccid beyond the baited butcher’s hooks. My apposition in comfortable armchairs, reciting extracts from antediluvian religions. The new chairs crack cheeks: from every page I move, silently kissing the hand sketching lines on my forehead. A page I cannot tear out. Awash with apathy, I trance the next page. How unlife like I really am.
The wrist splashes colour.
Great humps of orangey purple cloud meshed across topaz neon. Pious, uncontrollably smug; winking twitch endangered smiles at thighs obedient to a rod of sun, tapping lightly: welts of this love heal within this tear.
The portrait framed and hanging.....my smile is made of children made up like parents.....too soon the make-up becomes real, and behind the icon on the wall, the rain slavering mists of my remains are taken to oceans collecting all that ever was love, successful or failed. It appears I look down as if in possession of a solution.....please, spread no more rumours.
The beauty of frail lives.
The benighted walkers unfurl their needs in mistaken yards where sunset breeds.
The sweet secrets hang dreadful in your hands. What you know of me is fearful.
Time imbrued.....ghost flared; I flock into the shadow cast by a dictator’s crook. On closer inspection it is discovered I hold the crook. Afraid an upward crease of lips is really in mockery of me: what disasters I will invent. The streets are full of posters, two toned in blood and the delusion that something better exists if you fight that which exists.....
I lie by a column.....trucks pass, a new regime. Feigning death I live. The problem is, what do I do when I actually am dead? Carry me to a bed and slip me into the covers of my memories; beneath, a pot slopping with a future I played with too long.
A little love music.
In love? somehow your adolescent letters say something I cannot comprehend. Sincerely, faithfully......the business of love; that is what I know......
My heart seeks.....my spirit seeks your lines; the pen, the fingerstain, the hand, the arm, the girl. I find instead a footprint, a fossil in a fossilised beach. My clumsy fingers, panicking in the attempt at artificial preservation, destroy whatever was, forever, in less time than it takes to die. But it takes a lifetime to die.....however short. Joan! Be still, be easy, you belong elsewhere.
My incondign position at your side was often photographed in badly lit pubs. The ultimate valediction, the swirl of handkerchief, a toothy grin, a street corner tune: let me back, let me back! My hand snaps at the disappearing string...
…a child free and lost.....the maze closes.....my breath damp, loud, sad, in the dying daylight.
On the floor.
Yesterday spoke once again: the words do not alter. The meaning strains. I am ashamed it is too late to answer. Vilified by false whispers - the cost of life.
The juke box summons its dead voice. We smooch onto the dance-floor, lying lost and silent beneath the concrete and the carpets: the rules of the office. Lying with a bastard’s sweetly sour smile in the space between two drinks, in the space between two people.....four poles of a canopy closing out the light. The last song.
The last dance.....
The last time I saw your face.....tasted your lips.....the first time I thought of you.
The continuing journey.
-Trains will rub against the clouds, wilting in those cotton
It was a memory from childhood. A sound the night let loose in its frock of dream, a scene the curtains prompted imagination to produce. When I was young and able; when the night held secrets other than fears.
And travelling the sodality of past faces, I glimpse the odd smile. I will unwrap from around the directories of my revolution these tired limbs, sore, nearly rotted in their fulfilment. The shunting recourse through vari-scapes carilloning like how that first day of my life must have been to those waiting and hoping and naming. And who now do I recall in a memory that is thrilled with the eternal?
Brumal fields poised between beginning and end sanction our reflective solitude. You, young Lorraine, labelled foreign and shallow, reciprocating the morning’s warmth with the evening’s cold. I rely on my signal flame to give me heat, to give me light, to give me purpose.
I transgress in my perfect thought.
But at least that thought was arrayed around you.
Perfection and jealousy, violent play-mates, their games usually end in the demise of friends perfection brought along. I should have told you.
I witnessed a slight change around my eyes this morning. I told Lorraine; she said my past had always looked like that.
Am I so close to the end?
A few brief births.
Short sad songs.
My coalescence with what I had originally thought lost.
The cordial views heaped on me by strange men, fair and dark,
peaceful and wild, rob me of my childhood days.
In a church, an unfamiliar prayer cupped over my ears.
In a theatre, the untamed audiences jeer me to oblivion.....here
I lie, a roadside victim of the animosity of years.
And midnight had taken my wine in a glass like the moon. And tiptoeing sly the dreams of sleeping children. I fell giddily to the matutinal embraces of their awakening.
Mortar weathered within the recess; within the bedroom, alarm governed; sheeted in its frowsy bed. I crawl into the hours, crushed by absolution. A prayer on the breath of this old and empty priest.
Death takes my stomach, pouncing on its unease.
On the call of the past I fly.
A man within this world:
A heart within the universe.....here lies.....
That night when morning would never come.
A preliminary note:-
A cloudless sky.
A wordless stream.
A nameless day, with you and I, acquaintances of love.
There was a table by the wall, always highly polished; the brown aged photograph, in its crude brass frame, had fallen in love with itself. Dark eyes focused deep in that love, dead inside that rim of bone, dead inside that sleeping face by the window with the curtains drawn. There is a completeness in the picture I cannot find words to discuss, but I ponder, and therein lies immortality.
Thinking long ago.
Lorraine said “Love dies hard.” - I sniggered foolishly - my pretend youth thought there was a joke in there. But I had loved, and love often dies harder than one would wish it to. What frightens me is simply how obvious that sounds whilst easily forgotten.
Thinking long ago.....yesterday.....and the now that is gone.
Everyone I knew dead, or too old to remember whether or not they are actually in that past as they walk with school string and conkers into the yards lined with screams of children whose footsteps have echoed away to the travesties of dreams that beamed on young faces, before they had learnt how to die.
I hear a very familiar voice, Lorraine - but you are dead. Lorraine hold me. Death rolls his eyes. I attempt to smile, my lips press against what gums I have left - hold me. Where is your flesh, sweet dead Lorraine. A heart within the universe.....here lies.....
Recollections from homes I can no longer enter. The spy with cold eyes is behind the twists of blue smoke.
I knock at a door, well known to me; it does not recognise my touch.
The woman inside settles a squinting eye to a gap in the curtains.
Long ago I woke many times next to the eye, and never realised it.
The eye widens. It is alright, I’ll go away, I realise the man beside you has different eyes, although you believe we see the same.
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- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
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- Modern Poetry in Translation
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- Paper, The
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- Poetry Cornwall
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- Second Aeon
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