I Am Guilty of Trying
Enshrouded in no logic whatsoever,
pieces of her rusting heart sprawl
around the idle litter: holy cards,
prayer cards, pictures of The Blessed Mother,
miraculous medals taped to charcoaled carbon copy.
And this is the difficulty—
relics of her goodness,
manifestations of an agitated, deeply seeded
passion are pickled in writhing abandonments.
I ache for her. Nothing can be lone and beautiful at once.
I sort through the travesty, pluck
the pearls from the debris, polish
them with the perspiration to pray for me.
Her words are beads bowling down my neck:
What did I do wrong?
I don’t know how to handle so many things.
September is the best time to find a new flat. You escape high rent by living in neighbourhoods the tube doesn’t reach. You remember moving from student halls to Friern Road and how obscene the train journey felt to Brixton because it was followed by eighteen stops on the bus. But it didn’t matter because South East London was finally going to be more tangible than The Windmill. And even though the fridge was empty, the room unfurnished and the call unreturned, your first night was happy and unintellectual: sitting cross-legged on the floor eating mango sorbet while it thundered. It would be the first and last time you’d meet your neighbours, the last time they would see the kettle you borrowed. And by the end of the contract, you’d learn to bleach the bath and your hair and to forgive the acerbic tongues of your friends. As you flattened the cardboard boxes, Paul mentioned you were an ingénue and that living on a street with a telephone booth meant good luck.
ON A VISIT TO HASTINGS AND RYE
You realise the churning pit below your ribcage has nothing to do with New Brutalism or the vague blue of the Thames. And even though you needed the city to be your scapegoat, you can’t help submitting to a sunny indifference when reading a billboard with William the Conqueror’s timeline or queuing for fish & chips. It took you looking at the English Channel to realise you’d rather be aimless in London if you have to be. You think about everyone who’s left and come back just to leave again. The Marylebone bookseller speaking about the Lamb House. How sunset happens at lunch for most of the year and the autumn summer is holding.