Look for the Man
When I mistake the church’s clock face
for a full moon, I am mistaking my love
for a mere theory circling my brain.
In the context of a great love ending,
one may understand the attraction to
a blind hubris with hips.
I had hoped, at the time, that you would
surround yourself with the kind
of genial friends who wouldn’t try to sleep
with you and instead provide you with some
crucial distraction: a cider and then another, and
then a party, laying on their backs on the
lawn with you, pointing out patterns in the
great clouds above. When you left me
I had hoped the same for myself, but
when the Summer mayflies hopped about
me, up my arms and thighs and prickled
I found myself lying next to who might
next replace you, much as you did when
we first ended. I learned, and cannot
forget, with what confidence she imbued
you. We were planning our life together.
A life, in which we would drink ourselves
into a stupor and lie, a life that needed
your revision before embarking upon
and getting that one last fuck out of the way
before working out that this was real.
You. Red lips and cold eyes, child-
bearing hips that he loved, friend.
Post-coital tristesse, call it adultery.
Through the broken glass your arm
snags on the shards, poet, and
you shout: “Let me in! Let me in!”
because you are a part of this game
now. I will call you Old Me, and curse
you, Sloane you, whose words come red.
May you be known as whip-crack
head-smack and devil-cunt, you.
I want to visit your home and burn it
all to the ground. May you never conceive.
May all the matching underwear you carefully
plan catch fire and blister the parting
of your legs, and may you be forever
alive, never dying, wandering the earth
with unflattering, exhausted and fragile
age, a half-ghost battered by the
harsh winds and rain.
I can feel something unearthly in my flat tonight
or someone, quiet in the shadow of a shadow
I lie here unsure as to if I should communicate
its hands hovering above my face,
Like a starling, I fly close to its body, fluttering
close to a once-beating dead heart.
I remember thinking, as your thin frame stood at the
bottom of my bed, “this is rare”. I thought you were
perfect. Because to me, perfection is what pleases me.
I am reduced to real tears when perfection isn’t with me.
We know what perfection is by virtue of nothing being perfect
but I know what it is because I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen it
betray me too. I remember everything, and when I remember
you at the bottom of my bed, I remember how you paraded
her in front of me, and I wonder why you would do that,
not knowing how I would react, guessing I wouldn’t need to
find out. Real perfection probably doesn’t exist, now that I
think about it. Disappointed, I was no longer calling you perfect.
It’s the same with perfection as it is with obsession. You
are reading your poetry to a book shop full of listeners.
You are singing songs in my bedroom to impress me.
I wish perfection existed so your flaws didn’t have to exist.
Who’s that caterwauling on the makeshift stage
drinking a pint of lager
teaching me a thing or two
talking about love
singing about hate
how hard it is to live
in this unfathomable city
in the bar where I last had a panic attack
where I now sit unable to move
but yet I smile
with my eyes more than my lips
staring you down
where me and Max go drinking
when we want to shake things up
with red candles on the tables
leaving his wife at home
pale-faced, suspended from a rope
making it hard for me to continue
remembering who it was who was singing
“It was me”, said the lion.
The moors’ scrubland grows without you, babe
tainted by death, you’re unable to
walk it. Dysphoric bliss causes me to
continue to live with a noose hanging over me
craving some retribution, to become at home
with the moors, purple, away from us, the
chalky grassland of where we both live
with mouse-bones buried beneath it
to love you, was to love the Northern
countryside. You dream, as you sleep, babe
a world that stretched beyond Yorkshire’s
burials, to love was to love you and to be
friends was to be friends with you. You
are a dream made of flesh. What you will
teach me is a persistent argument against the
universe. Sometimes when I sleep,
I hear a snare drum sound.
It sounds twice.
There’s never anybody there.