90% Happy

It’s vulgar to show off but I’ll do it anyway,
it’s only natural I would. It’s because I
live in the beautiful countryside, overflowing
and wild, non-judgemental, ever-changing in
subtle ways that I always noticed, and you never
could. Would it irritate you that these are my
pleasures now? The joy I feel of seeing where that
river forged those valleys, the height of it, what
the cloud formations mean and why? Yes, I am 
more alive than you but now I am even more alive
than that. I saw baby goats in a neighbour’s garden. 
Me and your fella once kept ducks, those were
the people we became, and I’ve tried every day to
find it: the Heights. I’ve been climbing over stiles,
I’ll reach a farmhouse sitting solitarily on the moors
and yet, it becomes too pretty to be what I wanted
it to be. Would it irritate you that I’m still trying to
find it? Didn’t we once pin it down in the ruins of a
farmhouse? Didn’t we do a picnic there? I lived
there for a little while. That was the person I 
became and he was there too – those were the 
people we became, all thanks to you. Would that
irritate you, now? Am I not grieving when I am 
dragging myself up the steeps ever afternoon? Or
sitting on the village green and smoking, writing,
scribbling away in this old notebook, does it seem
too much like I am enjoying myself? Is that why you 
appear? Guess what, today I saw the hawthorn bush
and I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I sat next to
them absolutely silent out of respect. I out-sat the
misery. In fact, the misery sat opposite me
and I stared it down. I out-sat the grief. These are
my little pleasures, the names of birds, the scent
of leaves, the tracks I make and return to: I was 
here, and once, so were you. I read emails last night
until 3am. The beautiful countryside is not mine to
be proud of. I didn’t do any of this myself. Do you
think you’d have been beautiful here? Would the trees 
have all bent toward you, the vines grip at your ankles, 
do you think even the crags would have started talking
and shouting at you for everything you were? Do you think
the countryside knows how to love me? Does anybody
except you? I sometimes feel we’ve been apart too long. 
You’re sitting in the creepy treehouse near the farmhouse,
smoking pot. You’re laughing at the sign that warns
dog-owners that their pets will be shot if caught off-lead.
You’re telling me to go off-trail and start a new one, you’re 
setting fire to dry grass land to teach it a lesson. But, 
even you couldn’t remove the truth from these old trees. They 
would have made you saintly. They might have shaken their
leaves onto you like light drops of rain. You would have
become baptised. The pain might have stopped.
The bleeding might have stemmed. The heart might
Still be beating, your eyes might still be open. No,  I
still don’t understand what happened or what that 
meant for me, me, me. I am sitting in a forest. 
It is different to the forest you are resting in now. I 
am more than awake, I am super-conscious, and
I am kicking up the soil in my boots, digging for 
digging’s sake. The trail of our abandons finds me
here, as a whisper of your voice, and a grip on my 
arm from the wind. You were a forest of constant
diversions. I forged my own desire lines through you, 
and closed each single one of them off from the 
general public. Welcome to my enclave of selfishness. 
I wish I could bring someone here and they’d feel
as close to anything as I still feel to you. Don’t allow
yourself to be irritated, but kindly pity the fact that every 
single leaf, each stone in rubble, every single breathing,
living animal or insect, somehow reminds me of you. 
How they move and grow with the freedom of unknowing. 
I guess you’d say that was quite ironic, if you were
still around.


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