Being something of a self-made philosopher, the writer has esteemed the worth of his own aphorisms as a code to live by: ‘Boredom should make workhorses of us!’, he descried in lonely hours, keeping to his solitary vigil. After a decade spent working on his first novel, all the while filling volumes of despondent poetry and exultant short prose on the nature of man and the world, he comes, at last, to a stop and is ready to share what he has learned. Exsanguination, or, blood-letting, is a small collection of varied works, collected over the years and now placed delicately beside one another; each a little piece of the human heart; a feeling, a moment, captured in essence and shared, like drops of blood on the pavement.
I’m sorry that I held your eye.
You looked at me, as I stared
into the colour hugging your pupils.
I stared… sunk… drowned- and smiled:
seeing in you a kindness
intensified by your concern.
You didn’t know, that day I could have wept
just to be noticed.
But more than that,
you gave me love-
held me, trembling in an empty space
and kept my heart beating.
We became one against an old church wall-
a degrading descent, downwards we traversed
stairs and ethics so brazenly. Not
even quite hidden, but by people’s ignorance
of our designs, the cloak of night our only witness.
With the leaves and the rain,
the crystalline drops caught in the moss,
you and I unified with Christ
in our own sanctuary
and made our own Paradise
in a small slice of earth-
all the while quiet, as the near buried dead
but, the doors to the catacombs were closed to us-
alive, in our own personal Eden.
I sigh a breath that
is green with life as botany,
and give a heave that shifts the weight
of all my dreams,
as I make
for the two
of us; myself and
I drink a glass of water;
warm, from the static heat
of my room.
I think of all the things I am;
of all the things I’d give to you.
After the Holiday
We stood in the hallway and
kissed after saying our goodbyes:
three softly spoken words,
that had me reminded of all the ways
I was made to feel
those days we spent together.
I wanted to say
but it was already with you.
I picked flowers from the bin for you
as we ambled silently out the cemetery
and with cold hands, cleaned them of their mildew
in place of the words my tongue found heavy.
A little scarce of petals, but still their golden aureoles
held fast to the sweet pollen, so you took them home
and put them in a bottle of their own, as though
I hadn’t plucked them from some stinking hole.
I meant each shape and scent and colour for an apology
for acting up with my funereal disposition-
but my quietude had moved you like a eulogy
and your sadness was my admonition.
In leaving, I was happier- for all that you had tried
in reviving my mood and giving cause to smile.
In the early hours of the morning,
after you have gone- my head
still feeling fuzzy, busy with thoughts
like the leaves of Autumn;
scattering the road,
I glance up at the rack
that holds your empty clothes:
removed of you, they flit like ghosts
and I recognise in the sight a familiar feeling-
like I, they exist independently
but missing your presence and
all the places you would fill
they lack character-
no more than empty shells.
Then I think of the warmth of your skin,
the ways you move, and of your smell-
all the things they lack- these clothes
that will not dance again until you’re back,
though a sleeve is lifted by the wind
and I know that I will come to miss you-
a race against a growing distance,
astride the clothes horse, it begins.
Basking under the sun, shovel
and pitchfork in tow, I dug
with imperative purpose
an oval hole.
There was no fitting box,
you were submerged
in a black bag,
as if you had been waste.
I picked up your motionless body-
the perfect example of a boa,
devoid of life-
to watch you disappear with
no hugs or sentiment shared,
though, perhaps, I wanted to.
I took off my shoes and my socks,
feeling the dew from the grass
between toes, as
little by little
I buried you there, watching
the ever-diminishing truth,
at last, returned to earth.
Primal, in the way that we united,
I finished the job with outstretched palms,
then I reluctantly washed my hands.