Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Endings - a poem

Last year I wrote a bunch of poems and two of them were published (Blue and Notte Rossa). 

This one was my favourite, though, and because it's the ending of my residency, and the poem is called Endings, I thought I'd share it. 


When you told me:
"You're no good at endings."
and I cried.
My face pressed up against the bobbled grey sheets
of another borrowed bed.
The city outside 
with its heaving multitudes 
doesn't exist. 
But we can't contain our whole existence 
in this:
a borrowed room. 

I'm no good at endings.
And so I don't know how to end this; 
our holiday. 
I leave it to you
to leave me instead. 
I stand,
naked, framed by door.
You, half
nude descending a staircase. 

Is it because I'm no good at endings
that I cry when the plane takes off?
The air stretching vertical between me
and the place that still holds you.
Alarming the correct couple sat beside me
as they reflect on their holiday photos,
first on one lit screen,
and then on another.
The sunflowers that had bobbed in welcome,
only visible from arrivals. 

I go to funerals on my own.
I wake, panting, from a nightmare.
These moments when I wonder if it's worth not being
If it's worth having someone
to stand, tear-wet hand-clasped with,
at funerals.
Someone to smooth your hair when a ghost lifts you up 
in sleep.

I get drunk under a blurry sky.
I flirt with a Frenchman,
and then I flirt with
another Frenchman.
He pokes my stomach.
My mouth a moue. 

It all seems such a waste of time
when the end result is not

There must be a reason for me to stand:
naked, framed by door,
my body a strobe in black.
A white flag in the dawn dark.
Watching your back move away from me,
Like I watch the towns escape one by one behind me
on the train home,

like I watch the Alps shrink beneath me,
my nose pressed against a postage stamp of white light,
until they are reduced to 
papier-mache proportions. 
The heel of my hand is wet with
wiped-away tears.
The couple beside me say:
"It's so much easier to go on holiday now the kids are grown."

One day I'd quite like to collect all the poems I wrote last summer into a pamphlet. But who knows...

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