So I explained the story of how Jenny Browne was reading me poems in my bedroom at home and how this slipped out of her little book of poems. This was before she had her blog so as I pinched it off her I was very happy with myself. For the next two years I read this poem almost daily and it travelled with me from festival to festival and had many a strip of tape holding it together where it had been folded so many times, until one day it just dissapeared.
So a week ago I emailed Jenny and she sent me this copy. And all the memories came flooding back.
It’s got nothing to do with love. A sweeping feeling dragging you down to the bottom of the ocean; your back rubs the corals, aquamarine skims by and you float motionlessly through this tunnel of blue. Like the butt of a cigarette into burning ashes - a ring of amber surrounds the tip and drags it down. Impossible situations, lost communications, broken faces and mistakes of the past. You can’t get over, you can’t get under. Hold yourself close and think of home. The safest place to stay alive, your private rooms in which to hide. I can think of nothing I want more than to disappear. Fade away into the solemn darkness, grabbing at air as you are pushed through the wind tunnel. A given name, meaning sorrowful is thrown at you and you reach out but only oxygen skims through your grasp. Nothing to hold; nothing to have. Naked in the darkness, oily skin and dry palms, perspiration rolling down your forehead and dripping moisture onto my face.. I am smiling in the obscurity but you can’t see. I giggle noisily and you collapse on top of me, burying your head into my pillow. As you raise your head I catch a glimpse of the corners of your mouth, rising to meet your ears. Warmth is at one, just as I am with you. I am thinking ridiculous thoughts. A blackbird in solitude on a fence post in spring. Waiting for the morning to rise up and sing. Reduced visibility during the lighting of the sky. It will let me out, release me and fly. When I was little I didn’t know love, now I’ve been through and out and I am still unable to breathe. A torturous rollercoaster. It melts your mind, freezes up your brain and holds you back from anyone else you had ever imagined being with. Thinking about you or me or you and me is like an epiphany. A sudden realisation narrated by spoken word. The essence of a meaning, but without a meaning, no common logic or symmetry. There are too many miles between us for this to be real. We cannot hold it together because you are never here. I can still smell you, the dirt between your fingers, your hair wet from the rain. That time we kissed was so beautiful, God opened up the heavens and the rain came down in sheets. You grabbed my hand and ran, me lagging behind. We went away to hide and you pulled me up close, wrapped up in each other to stay warm. The affection I felt for you cannot compare to anyone I meet now, and might possibly share. We are going nowhere other than down a steep slope and I wish for the day when I am finally completed, when we are older and more intelligent and sick to the bones of not seeing each other for so long. It’s so hard. I am tumbling head over heels for this image. This vision, these dreams that I cannot contain, I see you smile in the half-light, smothered in rain. If I close my eyes they will want to be open. If I try to stay awake this apparition will grab me. Alone in my bed at a quarter to two, I lift up my eyelids and turn over and see you. But it is not you, simply a space in my bed and I stroke the same space where maybe one day you will be.
copyright to Jenny Browne