In A Heatwave In 2018
I’m nostalgic for shivering myself to sleep
Inching ever closer to your thrumming skin.
In these summer months when air threatens
A gulf opens up between us and I never know
When or how we’ll bridge the human distance.
For a time I’ll sleep in some other person’s bed,
On a sofa or the floor, if you can part from me,
If you can bear the ever unforgiving touch
Of my unconsciously glacial back facing you.
There is the you I am writing to and the you
I started writing about and you are not the same.
It’s the middle of July and I’m already thinking
About grey winter mornings and waking up with you.
“You owe it to yourself
To be more than just soft furnishings”,
Is a thing I think you say jokingly
– I know it is –
But it is a thing I feel infinitely deeply
When I lie down to sleep, when I wake,
When I am buying food that makes me miserable.
I think of all the times I furnish other people’s lives –
Change-tables for the infancy of malice
A flag locked up in the closet –
Satanic shopping list living, seething.
I tell myself I’m a centrepiece
But even the consolation prize is glorified waste.
It is easy to take and it is easier
To be taken from, to be moulded,
And much harder to love another
With yourself in equal measure,
Not to just debase yourself for their gain.
The gift of concrete value
Is a new and holy sustenance
That I will crave perpetually from your lips.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
And I am holding your eye in mine,
The sheen of a playful fake tear
Telling much more than it means to,
Reaching out with recklessness saying
“I have also made myself an accessory”
And in the silence we acknowledge that.
The thing I told you first, I think jokingly
– I know it was not –
Is that I would be a pillow for you,
That I would hold your head up,
That I would tell you all the things
That you could not tell yourself.
And in this moment we are both of us
Softly furnishing the others’ home
With mirrors brimming full of love
And curtains keeping rays off
And the gift of wall-space big enough
For a thousand painted portraits
We will make of each other, beholding.
I want to achieve a new level
Of purposeful ambiguity
When I write about the summer
It is really a lover
I court and capture in my sleep.
The summer and I dance
With hands enfolded together
As a monument to possibility.
The heat of the summer
Makes me undress at odd times
And leaves me hopeless
With all the things it keeps
Pent up inside of me, the rage,
The promise of hotter tomorrows.
The summer makes me wish
That I was beautiful unreservedly
And friction could melt the excess
Leave me with nothing
But love and sweat and longing
For an endless summer swelter
And a ceasefire on real meanings
Of the words I mean when I speak
That this summer has made me.