Basenotes

When I bought you the perfume that best described you, you were flattered. Power word to you, not an epithet of shame. I too fell for the gander. Self-belief – so attractive in one gender. I forgot you were no longer sixteen.

Incisive topnotes of tangerine reeled me in then left me stranded in male territory. No heartnote, mere cynical mime of floral romance. I knew it was fraudulent but I soared one brief inkling on spiderly thread and landed with the bitterness of ambrette seeds. Too late to flourish in this sandalwood ground.

The perfume I bought
to celebrate beginnings
soon foresaw our end.

 

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Mood Indigo

It’s time once more for that most joyous of occasions – linking up and joining the discussions at the dVerse Poets Pub. This time I have a dreamy love poem inspired by Greek poet Kavafis (known as Cavafy). Don’t they say we should never talk about the moon in poetry, that it’s too commonplace? In celebration of World Poetry Day (which was yesterday), I will break such rules.

Thin sliver all that’s left of the moon
over Alexandria’s port tonight.
We map out each other’s body
on scented sheets in shuttered rooms
your heartbeat in my palm
then slink into the shadows
complicit in their deepening
to journey so far from our generous beginning.

The Seasons

I wrote this a while ago, but it feels oddly appropriate for this time of year, when winter keeps telling us: ‘And another thing…’

If I make it through September, fold my pinnies, cool my forehead,

Don’t wait for gaps to be filled – there is no clemency

Left in any fibre.

If I make it through October, it won’t be for want of trying

To end the throb of left-side temple

Trapped flutter under the skin.

If November doesn’t bring morose companionship on wet flagstones

Where would my certainties drain?

They’d pool like ink on poor quality paper.

And if you can’t wait until December for my waxing sleight of mind

I waste my breath and months

Wondering why you never measure up.

Imagine Lights to the Rescue

Sole guide and friend when I am
lost on country lanes. It’s night
and the loss is sometimes straightforward,
sometimes
the strands of complication get plaited in
colouring warmth in where none was scheduled.
I imagine torches on scenes of small disasters.

Someone we love is always the shape of the missing
the gap unfilled
a careful step on the cracks in the pavement –
it never hurt anyone
to be doubly sure but
who’s to say superstition hasn’t cursed the world?

There can’t be one heart for hatred
and one for love. We only have one…
and it stains easily.

Finding My Roar

We won’t be seduced by the mildness of your listening.

 

Too ferocious to be constrained by borders in light and shade

we shimmer in the mirror,

palest by far reflection of light on the threshold.

We know impossible spaces and how to tame them –

those feet of bronze and ivory ashen after all;

when the fog lifts, it takes the mountain with it;

when no one understands, all you can do is speak to yourself.

 

Once your purple heart was surrounded by green rays

and swayed on its supple stalk.

Watch us now! It’s more painful than it looks to be so

dignified. November fast-freezes

our roots, leaves us taut and tense like a ballerina mid-stretch.

Prickly leaves dry up in our hands

gathered in prayer.

Happy Martisor Day, ladies – hope of spring springs eternal! Photo courtesy of Travel Away.

If This Be Nostalgia, I Am Guilty

I want to be once more on the land
when April brings a frosty surprise,
where even August can powder with snow.
September smiles indolent and clement, umbrellas are pointless.
Lime trees put on a show as they fall in our hair,
as we hide in their tunnels, as we skip class at school.
I want indigestion with memories both false and true.
I want clothes for all seasons,
and not just babies with fuzz-ripened skin.
Sharp-clawed darkness, the wolves howling from forests
that linger primordial near clean-ploughed fields.
I want you and I to be younger,
not necessarily a happy end.

I am linking this to Open Link Night at the dVerse Poets Pub, where the living is easy, the drinks are plentiful and the poetry is magnificent!

Haibun: The Feather

You are the colour of slate, you smoke in husky float, you describe a butterknife arc. I pluck you out of obscurity from under a bush in my old hometown. Supple-smooth, tripartite with frazzled edges, worn white with grief, you lie supine in both of my hands.

You were once the pinnacle of aviation engineering, now less purposeful than you appear. November, surplus to requirements, your bird doesn’t want you no more. Just like this town doesn’t care if I come or I go.

All I can do: comfort you.
Always knew this day would come.
Soothe through boxing-gloves.

Linking this to Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets, where we are talking about hometowns. I feel sadly out-of-place in my ‘official’ hometown and am not necessarily welcome in the hometowns of my heart. Like a feather, I’ve been transported across many countries and towns, and I’ve left a little bit of me everywhere.