kiss

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

Wedding From Hell

I was meeting Liadain  and my mother in a gigantic shopping mall, after a play I'd been acting in, in which I had forgotten almost all of my lines. The play was being held in my old school and all the actors were my classmates, my teachers the directors, my friends' parents the audience. After the first act they didn't even fucking applaud, it was so bad. I was so embarrassed and angry that I walked out.

Liadain had written a song for me, and I sat down to read it. I wish I could remember the words. A friend of mine from Leeds, R, arrived and we started to talk about our personalities. I got really superior with R when he asked me to describe him, and I said something which offended him. I wish I could remember what it was. Anyway, he got up, hugged Liadain goodbye, and said there was "dissent" between me and him. I followed him to the elevator and told him I was sorry. He said that I had no right to say things like that to him after what happened between me and his girlfriend a couple of years ago. We hugged and made up.

For some reason, when I returned there was a wedding party in full swing. Liadain and my mother had gotten into a conversation with a real asshole, someone I knew and didn't like. He had long, curly dark hair. I kept trying to explain what had happened with me and R, and he kept interrupting me, so I stormed off and sat on some railings outside the building in a big huff. Liadain and my mother came looking for me. When Liadain couldn't find me, she turned around to the dark-haired asshole and started to kiss him. I was shocked, and I thought she must have forgotten about me completely.

When I went back inside to go to the toilets and splash water on my face to help with the shock, Ariel Sharon greeted me, handing me a fake cardboard dress shirt and a black tuxedo jacket. There was also a letter which began "I am a member of the Nazi party," and went on to describe his plans to cleanse Palestine. I looked back at him, and I saw that he and Yasser Arafat were leaving the party together! It was obviously a conspiracy. I raced back upstairs to see Arafat heading towards the car park. He glanced back at me, and all I could see were small, beady, gleaming eyes which told me I was going to die. I knew I was in trouble, and I started trying to show the incriminating letter to people: "Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat gave me this!" Someone said, "They're going to get you."

I had to find Liadain. When I tracked her down, she was different - her face was oriental-looking, and she was dressed in a black leather skirt. She seemed older. I asked her why she kissed that asshole. She didn't want to look me in the eye, and I suddenly understood what was going on around me: this whole party, the wedding, was for her! Her marriage was being arranged to someone she hardly knew. She told me that she felt "freer" now, and that she had discovered that she didn't need me any more. I said "Liadain, I feel like my life is coming to an end. Are you joking? Please tell me you're joking." I knew that once I left the building I was liable to be shot by Sharon and Arafat's troops, but I didn't care because all the stories of my life were over now anyway.

Rana

because I can't touch her
I translate her

her arms and fingers
are the feel of the wind when I walk

the tired sweetness of her voice
is a yellow rose I found in the road

her kisses are the smooth cold
of the mirror against my forehead

and, crying in bed, she's the soft sleep
embracing me in her mercy

Unzip

If you think you know me today, please,
unzip my skin with your knife;
see if you can stand to see me
unravel before you;
see if you can bear the little sounds
of organs plopping wetly to the ground.

Without my face, who am I
that you love me?
No insides, no outsides, and no shape.
What is the feeling, the thing I call my heart,
when you can see this bloody lump of meat
pumping gently at your feet?

Love, no need to heal, to kiss -
there's no need to be afraid of death.
I know I'll come back stronger,
held together by something even stranger
than this invisible brightness - and then -
we'll cry, and tomorrow, softly, start again -

Sundari

I remembered, touching you,
how soft and loose your skin
how you smell sweet
the place on your neck for a kiss
your strength that costs so much
and your secret weakness

there's a house that's ours
it looks like every house of light and floorboards
we are the brightness there
and no story told of the house is true
no story told of me-and-you

lover, everything happens anyway
something in the silence
sleeps us through the night
and remembers to renew us in the morning.

I am a call

against a cold window
palms spread
this I surrender
 
morning star
over fiery horizon
loving wind
 
songs under the atmosphere
at a great distance
melody
 
I couldn't sleep
whole night writhing
between two lightnings
 
breathing fast
dawn in stages
like dying
 
open eyes
kitchen window
house damp with silence
 
I miss your heartbeat
June a.m.
outside they're kissing:
 
boyfriend girlfriend
supercharged
by summer sunlight
 

Resonance

once I thought we were born here with no clues
no path, no means, no scent of home
like a cellist without a bow,
grappling with an arcane instrument
before a vast audience of laughter

like they knew better than me -
"Tabula rasa", as if babies come into being
with no brain or heart, no feeling,
nothing that might have been carried
from a lighter, timeless world

look at her fingers tremble on the strings -
she's not afraid of the sound
but of the audience, what they'll do
when the sound wakes their hearts -
one single note, to kiss, to destroy -

something to rise out of the brain
into the early evening skyline
they know the trees are shaking in the wind
they saw the constellations appearing
like diamonds sifted out of the sandy clouds

take care - they never asked to be reminded -
"I'll know when I fall in love" - how are you so sure -
except that you are a singing wineglass,
a bell that hums when a voice speaks underneath,
that knows the truth because you feel it making you true -

your mother will lead the tiger out of the house
by its teeth, she'll put you to shame -
while you wander through glaciers, mazes
like endless Inca cities, stepped and geometric,
unable to escape the memory of death

except that you hear the violinist -
she doesn't know what she does, but the sound
is not bound by her knowledge - if you cry
when the crescendo takes hold of her hands,
what is it in you that moves, that resonates,

what did you recognise, that you feel so ruined,
devastated by happiness, reduced to nothing by love,
like an empty evening sky for seeing comets,
like wind for laughing, roads for the feeling of distance -
an empty peace in your clearlight bedroom