I’m playing my song to the long stems
that dance at my window; the flowers that bend
like light on the depths of my loneliness.
I have lain on the cool stone of midnight
and risen to greet the light of morning.
I have slumpt by the window to long again
for the evening, a cool hand upon my skin.
I am still ill from interminable
midnights til dawn with nothing to fill
the hole when the pills have turned sour.
I harbor the bitterness still.
My audience is the silent witness;
the multiple faces, hushed in the violet greys
of an auditorium. They watch closely
as I mime my antics; verbalise
my grief, my gestures, my lunacies.
To the Spring I have hummed all Winter
an overture to my happy disposition.
I experience everything again; feel it
again, but better. The kiss in the first
flush of evening by the pool in Summer;
the acoustics of the corridor; madness in the cell.
I have waited at the bus station and I was blind
to a thousand faces that were not you.
I have lived for you, the walks in the Ligurian
gardens, the cool evenings, the gay laughter
between the high walls of houses. After supper
you can hear the ice clink against the glasses.
In the morning I sat outside the bar
in the Piazza smoking after coffee
in the sunshine, reading the sport in the paper.
At night again I walk the narrow lanes
between the crooked houses and dig the echo
of my heels, and the near-distant laughter.
My solitude is like a jewel.
Even on the grassy bank of the railway lines
shivering in my clothes under the wintry stars
of the desolate Parisian outskirt, I had a home
to go to. And in the gloom of the morning
I stood on the side of the road to catch the dying embers
of streetlights and headlights, and hitched a ride South.
I feel now for the adolescent kneeling in his room
looking out the window, or arms outstretched
across his bed, cut-up like a rag; and the old man
hurting with his secret love.
I love these long melancholy Summer evenings
on my knees smoking out the window
toward the tombstones, a white generic mass
at this distance. I know close-up the individual
corpses under stone, each with a name, two dates
and a tribute:
I was once like you.
I have walked there at night, paused and
heard nothing. I thought of the dreamless
heads, and the stillness in the air was so dense
and I felt alone.
I leant out to see the pale
city constellations. I thought of the Grecian
brothers that had named them; the Semite
Wanderers also traced those lines; and I thought
of the gods that banished them, as tribute
or punishment – for hubris, love of Man.
5-6 October 2015