Escape

For S

The city lights always invade the night:

I just want to fuck you in pure moonlight
or beneath a furious storm,
but the city forever prevents me.

I dream of our escape, but first
we must learn how to be caged
                                together.

Memory

The weight of the rain cripples the name
of a person & place
once delicately traced,
like a a sketch by Toulouse-Lautrec;

all colour & movement, sweeping angles
tangled into a lie more real than the truth:

                                    who is that person now?

What do they dream about?

That the past is forever lost
is the only proof we have that it existed*,

                                    but the city,
the city stays standing:

poisonous giant always reneging
on its promise to keep us safe.

Just as memories will disappear
                                    so too will the city
& all those within it & all those yet to come.

Even the light will die in time
& nothing will remain of the elegant lines;
not yours or mine.

Our strange gift is to know this
                                    & then try

to accept it.

* J.M. Coetzee

Losers of the world

The game is rigged, every decision made
into a mistake, chained
                        to debt
                        & to regrets;
the boulder becomes heavier & heavier.

No matter how we carry it
                        – in the stomach or on our shoulders –
the weight will break our backs one day.

Violence is the only way to break the chain,
only through solidarity can we regain
the dignity they stole from us
                        before the game began.

Fear holds us back,
                        but we’re always afraid anyway, so:

Losers of the world unite!
All we have to lose are our lives.

All For Two, & One For All

Only those who know how to truly love
                                    know how to hate:

we wait for them to despise us,
a prophecy possibly more fulfilling
than anything they’ve offered us before…

Life has become an idea; vapour
rising from the surface of a shrinking
lake, never to return again.

Our first fuck was a clumsy mess,
but am I wrong to see the dignity
we’ve since spent building beginning to crumble?

Who’s the most humble, the pessimist
or the optimist, & is it naive
to believe that the only worthwhile thing

is to keep giving a shit
                                despite the odds?

‘cos I’m all in now; no backing out:

you’ve got everything I can give.

So it’s time to ride or die, to fight or hide;

to fucking decide & then fall,
                                if we have to,
on the hill where

we’ve chosen to demand the impossible

& laugh at the improbable.

                               

Eros & Philia

The city lights conspiring to hide
the cold shimmer of starlight from our eyes;
walks together: a flower & it’s thorns,
sharing our thoughts,
secrets, fears & feelings,

each the other’s mirror
using silk to remove any marks that
prevented us from seeing clearly &
the resulting electrostatic charge
binding us together.

All of this
& more
is a gift,

& every poem I give you
is an attempt to make amends
for being no more than
                   an unremarkable,
undeserving
                   mammal.

Cassandra

On a Saturday afternoon,
running through the busy streets,
a lunatic screams:

“On the far side of the desert,
there lies the open!”

The crowd listens,
forced from inattention
to focus on this strange woman,
who’s voice reaches them all
regardless of their distance.

For a second
she holds herself still;
though she’s a physical presence
her appearance
is not settled:

she is a synchronous image
of the terrifying
& sublime.

Then, she begins to speak again,
her voice softer now,
but no less loud:

“Between the desert & the open
there is an ocean!
It is up to us,
& us alone,
to construct the bridge
which will allow us to pass over
the unfathomable darkness
that lies deep beneath the water.”

Throughout the crowd ripples a deep unease,
an undercurrent stronger than the sea:
she disturbs them,
this woman
disrupting the process of consumption.

All they want is to be left alone so
that they can purchase objects & atone
for the sin of wanting
what cannot be bought, but
they’ve been taught will save them
if only they try hard enough.

She senses this,
attuned as she is
to the hostility of others:

she is speaking to the distance.

“We can be deceived by belief
in what is not true, but
we can also be deceived
by not believing the truth!

Yet to acquire that which we desire
first we must suffer
that which we fear cannot be endured;

& we need to do it without knowing
the possibility of success, because
live must be lived forwards yet
can be only understood backwards.”

Confused by this disturbance,
annoyance spreads like a spore through the crowd;

some cease to listen, while others
throw out angry words
only to find them return
as words of shame
generated from a place
they never knew existed;

some in the crowd are transfixed,
but the woman doesn’t know this,
accustomed as she is
to rejection.

These silent admirers remain hidden,
lost to anxious thoughts
about what the others might be thinking.

Her message finds a motion of it’s own.
Now, even she isn’t sure what she means,
only that it needs to be said:

“The bud unfurls into the blossom”
she says, as she somehow produces a flower
& rolls it between her slender fingers
“just as this” – & suddenly the flower
becomes a ball of paper – “will unfold
into what it has always been, but now
has also changed.”

The anaesthetised audience walks away,
but the attentive stay
& begin to approach this strange creature.

Suddenly she becomes desperate:

this wasn’t supposed to happen;
she doesn’t want disciples,
only for people to listen.

“The present must die
for the future to live;
the music is always playing
& if you do not dance
then why continue to exist?

But however well we dance
death will still persist!”

Soon she is surrounded by questions,
& having no answers, she makes her exit.

She leaves her followers with a final message,
& then, impossibly, suddenly
disappears.

“The tyrant dies
& their rule is over; the martyr
dies & their rule begins.”

Mythology

In the beginning
                there were two Lovers & one Mother.

The Lovers believed in her dreams & she
believed that memory hides like
                                shadows in light,
like death in life.

The Lovers soon decided that
they wanted pretty lies
                                &,
equating beauty with simplicity,
demanded a story explaining everything.

So the Mother told them
that songbirds never remain in cages
without dreams of escaping;

                                that agape love
is a concept only a virgin could conceive of,
because rejection is integral
to all romance;

                                that others
must be sacrificed to indifference
or love means nothing; fabric stretched too thin
always tears apart at the seams.

The Lovers rejected this:
                                they wanted comforting,
to believe in their selflessness
& inherent goodness.

So they ignored the Mother, searched
for a new teacher & found the Father.

The Father took the little songbirds &
plucked out all their feathers;
broke their necks
to make them
appreciate
                                the sky,

& refused to answer any questions

including “why?”.

I remember…

For S

I can still taste the memory of those cold
December mornings,
when all I ever wanted
was to stay with the warmth of your body.

Or the Summer evenings when
you would rise, like a feline, from the bed
to describe the most perfect lines,
just by stretching your limbs,

& how the sunlight would slip
from a halo to fingertips
brushing against your skin.

Lovers & Liars

"All lovers become liars in the end."
                                    I said,
as we lay there, naked in the bed.

They refused to believe me,

& in that sweet moment of post-fuck repose,
I looked into their eyes
& realised they were right:

only some lovers become liars.

I just can't decide
if the lie will be theirs or mine.

Excuses

You ask me what I think the consummation of
                                            sorrow & regret
will bring.

I think
that in trying to escape we made the mistake
of believing the things we leave behind
will somehow have changed or else dissapeared
completely when we finally
return.

Gentle susurrations of bad-faith hold
to themselves & nothing else; excuses
running so thin,

the hideous birth
of conjoined twins,
who want only to be loved,
& are as beautiful
as they are ugly,

                            just like us.

The Slaves hates the Master &
the Master hates themself:

we have no one to blame but ourselves.