Alone in the warm dark
drenched deep in your music
feeling a pain as it pushes into
my wide open pores
watching each breath, following the notes
nerves rising and tangling
and you beside me
your soft hand caressing my hair
wet from the sweat on my neck
I can smell the torment to come
drink in your seducing music
I love the taste of you
Grey is the path we walked on
The cobbles, the road
Each different, each blending
One into another
In the inadequate light of the day
When I walk by now
I see your ghost
Tall and handsome
Black and blue
Jeans and leather
When I go to the bus
On bleak Saturdays
You are there
Standing by the pub wall
Waiting for me
Soon I shall go
You will not come with me
I have written our story
I will be free of you
In a stepped town of white-walled houses
I tried to find peace inside myself
The rich carved doors were closed to me
The hand of Fatima did not reach out to greet me
Under my feet the cobbles were sharp and shiny brown
As I walked slowly around embracing hills
Wishing I could fly
Knowing I must fall
Safe for a while in the hilly cradle
I traced the lines of your face on the tiles
The arms that held me were gone so soon
and life must be traveled alone
A dance in the rain
my last movements, last breath
as water rises up in my lungs
sinking me under your weight
To feel I am falling
the music in my ears
just a rush of water
a slither of sound
When it is not love
when it does not have a name
it is a strange lake of deep fear
and you are calling to me
Hurrah – the book is finished! A couple of glasses of whisky and I have a final draft of 101416 words that has taken 1 year and 11 months to complete. Next is the endless round of rejections and I am trying not to think about those just yet. The next book is bubbling away and I have to write it.
The book does come from personal experience. There is point in denying that. I thought examining the unbearable pain of desertion by a long-term online friend would make it easier to deal with. It hasn’t. If I allow myself to think for one moment about him, I get a physical pain like I am being punched very hard in my rib cage. I thought that by inventing a story about what might happen if I searched for him, it would stop. As Ishbel says in the novel, ‘I think of you every hour of every day’. When I wrote that I did not realise how true it was. I do think of him of every day. Now the book is complete it is time to forget him. Having allowed myself to care so deeply for another person, I shall need some damn good reasons to do that again.
In the last two years, I have come to think of myself as essentially unlovable. If I consider all my partners, not one of them has ever cared much about me; I am too capable, too self-sufficient. I am useful to them, I can arrange their lives, their work and look decorative at parties. But what goes on in my head is just too much trouble for them. They don’t see what I see and that is the end of it. So I shall label myself ‘reject’ and get on with it. I shall tell jokes about it. Maybe I should get the T shirt.
I don’t regret giving up so much to write this book, there was never a choice. I miss Sydney and, most of all, I miss the ocean. Now the book is finished I am free to decide what must come next. Staying in England is not an option anymore. I remember reading Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of Survivor and being terrified of finding myself somewhere as poisonous and uncaring. Lessing’s predictions are ringing very true at the moment.
So a nice clean page. The next strand. I must look for a place to be, where I am safe and happy and probably alone. Preferably with water.
A gentle bolt tore out my breath
A rush of lip stained air
A slither of truth sliced its way in
Dividing my open trusting heart
Looking back to that moment
I knew the pain would start soon
You can’t love in a world gone so wrong
I knew it was better to turn and go
Than take the risk of happiness
If we count up all our the sunny days
There are not enough to light a life
There are fogs and mists floating low
So they obscure the truth
We cannot see beyond their menacing gloom
To the life beyond
Give me one sunny day
When we wake bed-warm and muddled-haired
we will float high on the thermals
Gliding to the far edge of the clouds
After the rain, I will show you a rainbow
Suddenly like a crisp new shirt
There came a perfect stranger
So easy, so sure
Yet walled in and keen to lock me out
A closed door
I wanted to laugh and say I did not care
But I did
I wanted to cry out, just shout for joy
But I can’t
I am silenced
My tongue is cut out
There is nothing to say
The perfect stranger will pass me by
I have a book for you
I have read it many times but love it still.
The story of sad Alberta in a winter Paris,
from in a warm bookshop down the wynds of Edinburgh Old Town.
A long night’s reading, feeling her loss, so soon to be mine.
I have a book for you,
a story of a film, the craziness of Hollywood.
Thousands of pages like discarded scripts piled high on sets and stages.
Someone made a film of the book of the film and made me laugh.
I have a book for you,
the strong wings of an angel, a real angel in love,
a strange love between heaven and earth.
Wings so large, they hold me still.
Take these books
breathe in the dust of Cairo streets,
see the narrow boats floating on the Ouse.
Books still scented from my lover’s bed or stale from the airport shop.
Walk through my life.
I have a book for you.
We lay and wondered
where our words had gone,
as a heavy dusk
rolled over the water
wrapping me in lines
of sea mist.
I lay back
my hands above my head,
like a slave ready for her master.
He travels on oceans thick with nets,
that drift and sway.
Still craving his touch,
I swim up to catch the light.