Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

I am working on a big big poem, or group of poems, about a relationship years and years in my past that I never did all that much with, except for 'Faith by Nights' I suppose and 'Some Moments of Pleasure' - so actually I did quite a lot with it really. But not in ways that satisfied me.

Only now, I seem to be going to each of many memories, and harvesting them in turn. And here are a couple of those -

Flash after flash
Hurting the eyes
hurting the head
the head that cannot turn
like the heart beat
of a broken heart
that beats out pain
like months
of lost love.
A dance floor
with no dancing
but the stroke
of whip or strap or cane
On shoulders
Or buttocks
Or breasts
Or balls.
ears at the brink of bursting.
At our feet
Begging to put
Tongue to instep.
Couples and triples and quartets
Against the wall in corners
Half seen in the flashlight
Pumping to its rhythm
All of this,
And the sudden touch
Of one finger
One finger nail
that scratched
its red signature
from shoulderblade to spine
and up to nape
and down again and on,
and whispered away.
You do not turn
you do not turn.
Dead love
Does not come back
if Orpheus turns
in the flashing light of the underworld.
Dead love
Cannot speak.
It promised silence
To its newer love
And so a silent scratching touch.
All of the rut
All of the blaring sound
the strobe that aches the brain
The whips, the slaves,
Are symbols
Of that single point of pain
A flash in darkness
That whispers ecstasy
And promises
Except itself
In purity,
true to all oaths
true to all loves
the sweetest treachery
that we can know.
And do not turn the head.


In San Francisco
On vacation I
Looked for her through the smoke of twilit bars
Looked for her name carved into toilet doors
Her face on strip club posters
And her breasts.
No one knew where she had gone.
And no one knew for sure she was all right.
Looking for her
Did not delight my love
Who tolerated what I had to do
And said you'll never find her, she's not here.

The drinks at the lesbian disco
Were non-alcoholic that night
We had a small bottle of gin in our bag
So that was ok. Then outside
A taxi pulled up. Looking down
From two floors above,
saw a hand in a glove,
a black net lace glove
elbow length.
And I said
I just know that hand
that is fumbling for change
Each finger and knuckle. I know
How they scrabbled my body
And tried me for size.
And my love said
You're fucking obsessed
You can't know a person from seeing a hand.
But I did. She stepped out and she walked in the door
and she walked up the stairs
And I said
And she said Didn't know you were here
But not as if she were surprised
the world is so full of her friends
And she pecked both our cheeks
And my love smiled a tight little smile.

Oh, and this -

Then at the end of things
I told myself
It's just like Swann,
In Proust, I said.
I wasted years of life
Wanted to end things, for
A woman who was not my type
Was not my thing at all.
I said this to myself
And so did Swann
A hundred times. So never ever say
That novels teach us nothing,
Just recall
You really have to read them to the end.

I really don't quite know what has got into me.
Tags: poetry ashleigh desire
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