on time

polite conventions
our coping mechanisms
merely scaffolding

~

n.b. What has form, seems solid, does the job for now, is nothing without foundations. Nuts and bolts rust, we need cement to build tomorrows.

CLP 28/11/2021

on waking

another morning
not enough hours to enjoy
all I've been blessed with

~

n.b. Starting with a heartbeat.

In fond memory of Moira.

CLP 27/11/2021

Apogee

we can't get much further away
from the summer solstice
grasses tickling your shins
sun pink face, a few freckles
but it's good to be here
with winter encroaching
with your smile
bright as buttercups
your kisses delicate
as sweet pea flowers

~

CLP 18/11/2021

on morning

too soon in my view
night slipped off without asking
stealing dreams of you

~

CLP 07/11/2021

Visitation

Look outside  x x
the text message instructed
Heavens! An angel 

~

n.b. Do you ever think you are living in a dream? She kissed me, but I am still not sure if this actually happened. I couldn’t have made it up, could I?

~

CLP 05/11/2021

Husband

“She’s married?”

“Yes, but…”

The feebleness of the ‘but’ died in his throat.

He had never met that person, just seen him accidently in passing during a late summer storm on some street. He hadn’t missed a beat when that happened. Just kept walking, having recognised the man, knowing that he himself was invisible to the face he recognised from her shared photos.

He tried to move the conversation on with a shrug. The best he could come up with was “So?”

“So, she’s married.”

He had let that go. Her affection to him was genuine. Her pain on parting affecting. It was a joint adventure, both complicit, both old enough to vote. He wasn’t going to be pinned for her infidelities. She would have to deal with that when she was ready. 

Planes, trains and her family people carrier. Hotels, restaurants, swimming, hot spring baths, walks and talking. They travelled, slept and dreamt together. He was looking ahead, not at the present; avoiding the past.

Free of his obligations, he’d paid no serious regard for the juggling she did to make all this possible for them. It didn’t occur to him, not until she decided their affair was done, that she had been twisting herself silly to keep up appearances. Although he had begun to question whether her duplicity was particularly well disguised.

“You always knew I was married. What did you think would happen?”

She had said something about collateral damage being likely when she found the courage to admit she wasn’t playing the wife at home anymore, or indeed anywhere.

He’d always thought that collateral damage was a particularly callous term, but she seemed to like it. It was like when she started talking about Marie Kondo’ing her friendship groups, or even her close family. In retrospect it seemed strikingly obvious that she had ’empathy issues’ his mate observed.

He recalled she had been talking emphatically about people being either winners or losers in life the day they met in the café. He had found that a little distasteful then, but ignored it for various selfish reasons. He didn’t think of people like that, although sometimes he didn’t think of people at all; like her husband, for instance.

~

CLP 04/11/2021

Oyster

A hotel in a small town at the foot of the Jura mountains, a small town just stretching over the frontier, a frontier that drew a line between domesticity at home and adventure abroad.

With Christmas over and the sparkling street lighting gathered in for the foreseeable future, the worst of the weather arrived. Snow warm enough to turn to sleet, sleet to rain, rain to fog, but still cold enough for ice underfoot and kerbs to be indistinguishable from gutters in the grey slush.

The Saturday morning market did brisk business, quite cheerily for the prevailing conditions and time of year. Every customer welcomed heartily, every purchase, whether of vegetables, fruit, hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, genuinely and warmly appreciated.

What was noticeable, in addition to the chatter of stall holders and customers, was the noise of the rain on canvas and the occasional sploosh and splash of a pool of water being displaced by a trader using a broom handle to relieve an awning bulging over the produce, the rushing of the culverted streams channelling snow melt under foot bridges, behind houses, under the roads. The sound of moving water saturated the air, echoed off the granite buildings.

Oysters were being sold from an occasional stall where the market was more open to the weather.

She wanted to try an oyster, not buy a dozen and of course her offer of one Euro was accepted for the single sample of the salty bivalve. She glooped it down with a shiver and turned to her companion with a familiarity born of intimacy.

“As if you needed an aphrodisiac after this morning’s performance.” he remarked.

“Every little helps.” she replied.

~

01/11/2021

on faith

fair weather friendships
never survive passing storms
sunshine after rain

~

CLP 01/11/2021

Malta

The wedding was held late on the Saturday afternoon. The church bright from the low sun beating through the open west door, was a place of calm reflection as the guests waited for the bride’s arrival.

A wedding held after the bulk of the day has been spent by attendees swimming and sunbathing, followed by afternoon sex and a sleep has to accept that a certain torpor will befall the congregation, or at least two of the party.

Our heroic couple had flown in on separate flights the day before and had set about each other as lovers do: savouring the moment of rediscovery; the remembrance of each other’s scents; the refreshment of mutual tastes; the heaviness of shared sleep. By the time of the wedding, sitting beside each other on a solid well-polished pew holding hands, (of course), they needed to be still.

A friend of the bride and groom, flown over to the island to sing, sang beautifully. The priest spoke enthusiastically about marriage and the fruit of the loins. The vows were expressed sincerely and enunciated proudly before friends, relatives and plus ones. The open-top vintage Rolls Royce over-flowed with joy as it moved off toward the chosen hotel. The sun dipped toward the sea warming the backs of the cheering people.

Before the wedding reception dinner and dance under the stars across the harbour commenced, our unmarried couple slipped into the water of the town beach after another quickie to cool down in the slight ebbing tide.

Floating on his back, spread-eagled staring into the darkening blue of sky above, he thought of the afternoon’s ceremony, his own wife and why he had travelled to this island. In a moment of startling clarity he realised that he was out of his depth.

~

CLP 31/10/2021

Red Flag

About four years later, reviewing the collateral damage, (i.e. bewildered family, and bored friends), it was observed that the affair had been destined for the rocks from the beginning.

With perfect hindsight it was obvious that, even without the clarity of passing time, the male protagonist would not have had to be a detective inspector to have seen multiple warning signs; in fact, half a dozen of them, possibly including the local GP, who may, or may not have been a little too attentive to his vulnerable patient. She recalled kissing him once during an out of hours appointment.

There may have been others, but her memory wasn’t very good, so she tried to live in the present as best she could, decorating her presence with anecdotes of times with others, right back to her early school days.

Oh, yes and there was her husband, although she didn’t wear a wedding ring and she said their physical was history.

“I want something different.” she texted him.

This is it.” he replied, removing his wedding ring too. He was clever with words, although clearly, not that clever generally.

And with that simplistic exchange all previous was whitewashed from history, (unless they were resurrected at an insecure moment, or by way of comparison, or by way of instruction), which in itself was an albatross.

For our female protagonist, her certain age, the prospect of being on the brink of unprecedented adult independence, (her marriage was only held together by duty, expectation and financial dependency), shame-free choices, combined with her acknowledged sexually inquisitiveness meant that meeting this man now, was of course, for the present.

From the very start he found this philosophy profoundly unsettling, but set off hopefully hand-in-hand with her, when out of sight of others.

Which reminds me of a friend’s mother’s observation about older married couples holding hands, “Oh, they’re married, but not to each other.” Her mother knew what she was talking about.

~

CLP 30/10/2021