breaking up

Health Warning

we should warn each other when we feel like kissing -
that in a few weeks time one of us might be pining
or in a few years time one of us might be crying
things that you would think should be understood -

because things don't always work out, for so many reasons -
in fact, they rarely do -
in fact, given a long enough timescale,
they cannot.

So we should warn each other, and ourselves,
when we feel like kissing, or maybe more,
and our skin is tingling and our pupils are dilating
and our hormones bubble and we get excited
about life and love and all the pretty things
we had allowed ourselves to become cynical about -
when our faith returns as chemistry in the blood -

we should warn each other, I may be the one for you
but you may not be the one for me - or vice versa -
we should say, I may cheat on you, or you on me -
we should say, you or I may be secretly psychotic
beneath these skins of attraction
or worse, I may want to marry you and have children with you
I may fall asleep with you into twenty years of destiny
and we two may only wake when we are old
and think it has all been a waste and a mistake -

or worst of all, my maybe-love -
worse than any of the above -
we may be in love our whole lives -
problems overcome and age accepted,
children and marriage beloved and finally irrelevant,
growing old under the same ancient sun,
and then one of us will die, leaving only one,
and then that one is gone, and of us two
only memories and dust and a space for something new

so how can we be expected to warn each other -
what is there to say to a potential lover -
everything ends, but what else is there to do?
everything ends, but you're so beautiful?
and for as long as neither of us fucks it up,
lets just enjoy it for what it is -
no past or future, nothing but us
and a feeling like maybe we want to kiss

Other Suns

lift me out of myself and carry me
to someone else's house
and leave me invisible on their sofa
or sitting at the end of their bed,
empty of whatever it was I used to look for

I will be the star they chase in their dreams
sparkling through their clean bathroom
smoking cigarettes on their patio at night
I'll smell their eggs in the morning
and make them shiver when they look in mirrors

I've forgotten what I thought I had to do
so lead me into someone else's purpose
let me read their story and guess how it ends
I'll see how they feel alone when they're with others
and how they hold themselves together when alone

if one day the sun gave up and disappeared,
this planet would still move through space,
no longer orbiting but tangentially hurtling
into the sugary galaxy like a starship
cold and lost probably, seeking other suns,

beautiful light and inescapable gravity -
to be enfolded in another orbit, lovingly -
someone else's house and someone else's life
and all of history and memory buried by time
until she becomes the only sun that could ever be

3 Chords And No Chorus

When I think of you alone in your bedroom,
chilly evening light, white walls, quiet air,
picking out sad sweet songs on a black guitar -

I don't wish any more that I was there with you -
all our stories together have come to their ends.
But I wish for the bedroom not to be empty -

for your face to be alive with a smile -
singing to be heard, playing to be seen,
someone's eyes full of the sight of you.

Honour

ice and cloud in the evening, walking home
to a feather bed and a glass of milk
only a memory of her skin in candle-light

the samurai a dancer in my mind
flaying the air in ecstasy
lord of the bracken and the ditches

leaving the flickering screens empty
hiding to listen to voices from the road
as the brown dusk brings mist

i kneel in her shadows
i lie down before her to see her smile
to me she is the flame of a cool fire

i swear we are not like this
this couldn’t be me, who kisses good night
hears his lover’s door close

stands on the bridge over the oily canal
unable to cry, no pleas left
scared she cannot love him as he needs to be loved

Samurai
cherry blossom on white robes
white like the eye is white

draws blade to strike the sun itself
dances before the sun itself
unafraid

only the ghost me is unafraid
only the ghost me needs no one
i’ll beg for the touch of her hand

i’ll never accept the ghost of the girl
the drowning dancer who smiles
and asks me not to ask her how she is

I never left her behind

I never left her behind
her heavy beauty and the calm
of her clearwater eyes
the certainty of her voice
as she spoke to me about losing

already lost in the height
and the dizzy softness of this life
she played guitar and sang brightly
and never agreed not to love me

Mistakes We Have To Make

You,
standing for a photograph
on the Pont des Arts

with the sun in your eyes,
laughing
because you loved me.

A room
in a small hotel,
just for one wild day,

to make love in the dark,
to music
from across the courtyard.

Hugging goodbye
in the early morning –
the strangeness

of our time together
before
and after that moment

making us weightless,
ecstatic.
Your scent on my skin for days.

You,
not a secret but a mystery,
unanswerable, horizonless.