Tuesday, 01 September 2009




Et ego confiteor! tua sum nova praeda, Cupido;

porrigimus victas at tura iura manus.

                  Ovid: Amores, I, ii


Clothes on a chair, torn off
Pell-mell, in the hurry
To be joined, and get to
Our business. Lax, slack
Pieces of cloth, the shed
Husk that the world looked at.
The constructed being
So lightly got rid of,
I marvel at all the years
Spent making it. But
Later, dressing, I see
How we are both transformed,
That the material
Clingingly moulds us, and
The voice and face alter
As the armour fastens. 


Locked, rocking together
In the animal act,
Limbs tensed, mouthing the old
Banned ritual words... Soon
Memory will soften
The harshness of loving.
Our bodies will slip, roll
Numbly apart, hands linked
Perhaps, or thighs brushing
One over another.
These are the times we hold
Easily in mind: not
The immediate, hard
And dangerous minute,
When the self drowns, and the
Stifled cry wrenches out.


Someone else’s sweat, still
Pungent on the pillow.
The sheets rumpled; each fold
Seeming to remember
The act that created it.
I ;lie upon a chart,
A record of movements,
Intertwinings, knottings
Of limbs. And our whispers
Have died in the hollow
Dark of the room. Absence...
Then the blackness fills up.
You people it; your selves,
Guessed at, are around me.
My hands reach out, surprised
That they do not find you. 


No sooner over, the
Partner gone, the flesh still
Wrenched and weary, than a
Voice begins and images
Burn on the screen of the
Closed eyelid. To be thus,
And thus. The bowels shake
With impossibly wild
Spasms, and the fibres groan.
Now, waking in the dawn,
I am calmer, and have
Time to listen to the
City which moves towards
Another part of its
Cycle. And there, far off,
The crowing of a cock. 


The ghost of your body
Clings implacably to
Mine. When you are absent,
The air tastes of you, and
Last night the sheets had your
Texture. Then, when I looked
In this morning’s mirror,
I found a bruise which had
Suddenly risen through
The milky flesh, a black
Star on the breast, surely
Not pinned there before (I
Count my wounds, and record
The number). How did it
Arrive? The ghost made it.
I turn, hearing you laugh. 


The body burning bright
Like a light bulb. Fever
Thinning its substance. I
Do not know if the flesh
Shines because of what we
Did together, but the
Heat of fever is now
Entirely yours, your own
Ambassador, as if
You filled my veins with a
Reminder; as if, too,
My blood became yours - I
Keep it on sufferance
Only. Make a cut and
Let it drain out. You
Rise from the red, embodied. 


The rain falls in strings, beads
To be counted. It wears
Out the night and the rock:
All things succumb to it.
I cannot tell if time
Is being washed away,
Or if this is time, made
Tangible as water.
My fever has returned,
Like an icy river.
In bed alone, I am
Dissolving. Flesh becomes
ike the wet sacks out there
Abandoned in the dark
Of the garden, lapsing
Slowly into the earth. 


Ah, how I want to make
Every inch of skin,
Each muscle and organ
Mine! My name, thought of, or
Casually spoken,
Must seize your joints. Any
Hint of my presence must
Bring dryness to the tongue,
A cracking of knuckles.
Let these be the signals
That travel between us.
Do not ask if they go
Already from you to
Me. The hand shakes, forming
The words of the poem


This site was last updated 01-09-2009