Five Poems for a long ago love

There are some desert plants
That live death sentences
Beneath the sands.
Unseen, unknown,
In seeming sleep.
Until the rain…

And then they quicken,
Push their frail stems into light,
Entrust their fragile frenzied forms
Enflamed with unexplored fluidity
Into the full glare of the sun
To open up their latent growth:
Their leaves, their flowers, their fruit, their seeds,
And know their own luxuriance.

Sometimes the rain does nothing more
Than skim the surface of the sands,
Blown on by winds to deeper distances,
Arousing life in passing merely,
So that the tenuous shoots
With just a glimpse of what life might have been
Are withered up before they know their flower.

I am a desert seed.
You are the rain.
Seasons I’ve spent escaping joy;
But now I know what moisture is
I need to feel your gentleness
Again, again, again, again, again…

Missing you, I turned to Dance on Four,
And as the fugal forms unfurled,
Releasing friction into space,
I knew our bodies had a ballet of their own
That I had come to overlook –
Hamstrung still perhaps with guilt
I’d thought excised by my veneer of newfound liberated lust –
But that I’d relegated to your bed
Almost denying it beyond.

But here, within those moving forms,
The last resort of words and images,
I recognised the beauty and the grace we move together,
Muscle magic, weaving, curving, gleaming smooth;
And wondered how I could have lost
Or disallowed full consciousness of that
In my pursuit of flawless empathy.

Go on and dance, you say;
And I want to do just that.
Me with my club foot and my broken wing.
And I try all the hardest steps
In the naked air.
But when I turn for you to join me in the difficult dance,
You will not move
Through the bars
Of your cage.

My wing will not stop hurting as it beats
Against the bars,
And my feet are clogging
With all the shadows and the detritus
On the floor of your cage.

You are not there for me very often.
You are not there for me often enough.

Only if I can contain my wanting
To the appropriate moments
Are you there for me sweetly and fully.

Am I prepared to channel myself
Into your courses?

Would that be better
Than nothing?

I feel the tentacles of my love for you
Perceived as life-absorbing limpets
Choking the arteries of your armoury.
Decomposing on the defences of your soul.

I feel you cowering against their cloying,
Beating out feebly in a clammy claustrophobia
So that I am cut out, tolerated, placated only;
Endured for the occasional nocturnal occupancy,
For ‘let-me-say-when’ companionship.

“Just don’t try to get too close, too close.
I’ve told you before I don’t want any more
Responsibility for the happiness of another,
I’ve had enough of my failure to be
The perfect antidote to the despair
I see perpetually pubescent in you.”

And so the warmth of my affection curdles…

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