house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Northern Bosnia, July 1993

Eye of silver water open now, silent after
another shoal of daylight hours
burrows its hunger in muddy caves
beyond curtains of papyrus and please
tell me it's not true, although I know:
We are not together tonight.

Army blankets spread over green grass,
you, she, he, I,
a flask of tea
young crickets on moon wafers and
why, the smile on your lips can be called shy
midnight picnic by the lake
I look at you then no, I turn my eye:
We are not together tonight.

She starts to say something her long hair
spun out of cloud and oblivion
dark and rich, coal and cotton
it covers your face and
I can't see you anymore but how
it burns, how loud the thought:
We are not together tonight.

Her voice husky and hurried, low and light
a game she plays, a joke,
words with a whiff of tobacco and sunshine,
an outlandish accent, deep and charming as she
cuts bread, opens cans of sardines,
with a tomato, starts a mock fight
wields a knife,
a blade of grass falls in pieces and
she laughs a private, guttural joy,
then, for you, she pours tea.
We are not together tonight.

The other man
loves me.
My eyes, you see, have now melted the sky
this and the fact
that my blood slows, stops, staggers again
with the beat of unhatched
birds in the jaw of the badger
well it
makes me so damn irresistible,
so loved, so lovable
so untouched, so untouchable
so alone.
We are not together tonight.

I sit on the pier.
Not to hear
those velvet vowels, the chiseled 'h',
the flute inside the odd 's', the low murmured 'ow'.
What more do you want me to do? stare? swoon?
I long for silence.
(What more is there to know?
We are not together tonight.)

You dive in.
A dark arrow which I follow
with my gaze, my first smile,
but wait, nothing's changed:
we are not together tonight.

After a while your otter head
brushes my toe
We are not together tonight.

your hand closes
on my ankle
We are not together tonight.

Without coming to the surface
you stroke my cold calves
we are not together tonight.

you cup my knees
we are not together tonight.

you pull hard,
I fall in
eyes open and
still holding, inside them, that
roving orb, that
blunt, beguiling bitch
the moon.

We are not together tonight.

You wait underwater
with a kiss.

Still I don't close my eyes
Still I don't kick, don't swim, don't fight
Still I don't float, don't fly
Don't know
any more than
this blind

And everywhere I look, another moon.

The round, the yellow,
the painted directly on night cambric, with stars,
and milky and mild above
two strangers and a blanket
sardines and smiles and foreign-sounding stories
and a knife growing green rust
from just one blade of grass, chopped small and then forgotten in the dust.

And here
this unblinking, imperfect,
this chestnut-and-blue
moon full of night
night full of sky
and, for this one long breath,
you full of I,
I full of you.


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