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A faithful woman visits me weekly

  • 18 November 2014

Pre-ordained (for Debra)   A teenager living alone, I fantasised about heroic deeds, improbable futures, among them, floating with no beginning or end, no idea of the cost of seriousness, one in which I was a novelist with a dog, although I had never typed a word. I wonder which movie implanted this idea? Chapters form a tidy pile in my log cabin. In the gathering silence I drink, or build a firewood stack swinging a shining axe. A faithful woman visits me weekly supplying food, whisky, news, loving sex. All this on a pine-scented mountain.   I trim my stark white beard, shampoo, sweep, spray, squeegee and swipe, update a list of internet cul-de-sacs stymieing crucial poetry submissions. The hour you drive up our steep hill I open our front gates like a greeting. You park close to this inspirational house, unload food for me, books, whisky for you, as the cats provide your weekly ankle rub.   We work better this way, playing cards, you watching out for me, near or afar as I float between aces and ideas, what is truth, and might have been, the wood stove's heat thawing frayed hearts. A pair of wrens peck our glass, watching. My thoughts curve inwards as we lose our days. I am so glad you were able to replace the shining axe I carelessly broke. 

  Rue has a bitter scent   Picture a Metro station's harsh stage lights. She turns and walks away without a fight or looking back at me, statue-still. I feel my heart rush, our taut happiness vanishing down the gusty tunnel's throat.   I don't throw away a cigarette that afternoon, nor wear a trench coat with a snap-brim hat, this isn't an entertainment by Graham Greene, just me acting egotistically, my outburst not quite a public scene.   Throughout the ramifying silence since, the calmness of books jostled by rowdy flashbacks known only to me in my melancholic urge to chase the shadows of tangled moments, I yearn to re-enact that foolish strife.   In the pre-dawn hours we need a helpline to talk us back up the long slide of years to the silly songs, to those rumbling stations of the past where we put things right, correct our bitter wrongs, see faces we never saw again and don't deserve to see.    Black Overcoat   When I fail to produce a