This isn’t enough
This just being together
We are more than us
This isn’t enough
This just being together
We are more than us
When I touch your hand
I feel you touching me too
Touching with feeling
Love is not liking
Like is like loving but less
Like is not loving
See me in flowers
See me in all that you love
See me in your heart
This ludicrous life
is most easily ended
with a simple kiss
In heated moments
We all say things we don’t mean,
Mean things we don’t say.
It begins with a barbecue. It often does.
Out on the front lawn, with fold-up chairs
and a puffed-up paddling pool,
on a manky stand that is never cleaned,
they cremate creatures and eat them.
The lighter fuel stink and the great swirls of smoke
they freely share with neighbours,
who stare and tut through laced-up or blinded
windows, from where they see but are not seen.
The food is lubricated with lager, cans in hands
all day, from early until too late.
Today there is some issue. You can see it in his walk.
He moves cocksure most days, straight back, pimp sway,
but today he is hunched, head low, arms just that bit akimbo.
His voice is raised beyond caring.
You can hear the fucks and twats and bastards
from two streets away. The children watch in silence.
She sits and smokes.
She has been here before.
Soon, after he begins to throw things, cans, food,
chairs, she stands and walks slowly into the house
and says goodbye to the father
and drives away, his voice enlarged by rage behind her.
Two days later the car is back.
The passenger door opens and he gets out.
He walks to the driver’s door and opens it to let her out.
The children emerge, skipping out of the car
and following them into the house.
There is no distance between them.
This love is a disease.
This is modern love.
Walking into a city centre shop
a year or two back, or perhaps longer,
I did a double take and stopped in the doorway.
I turned and called out her name.
She turned and looked around.
It took a moment for her to see me
but no time at all to know me.
She saw me but said nothing.
She walked up and wrapped her arms around me
tight, like a bond,
squeezed with a strength I hadn’t expected
from this woman so much smaller
than the one in my memory.
She squeezed hard and then kissed me
harder, full face, on the lips,
in the doorway of a busy shop in the city centre.
I glowed. I burned, but not with embarrassment.
“Oh, love,” she said.
That was what burned me,
the heat of her love, pure, simple, and unashamed,
standing there in a stream of sniffy shoppers.
“Oh, love,” she said, again, “oh, it’s lovely to see you.”
That voice. Deep, broad, still powerful, still warm,
overflowing with feeling, her father’s voice,
loud and tuneless and wonderful,
speaking to me from when I was a child,
when I thought as a child.
The voice of Joyce, our Joyce.
We spoke and kissed again.
I can’t remember anything that she said.
That wave of love washed them out of my mind,
the words of Joyce who was born Kay.
My sister called the other day.
She told me Joyce has got that evil thing
that steals your marbles one by one.
More proof, as if we needed it,
that there is no God.
You don’t get it.
I can’t get it right.
We don’t understand us.
Nothing of us is understandable. We are complex,
complicated, completely normal
in our abnormal ways. This is how it goes,
how life unfolds for us, for all of us, for always,
forever, ’til death us do part, our carved hearts
entwined in the bloody accident of our meeting,
of our simple act of simply being,
of the living of our ordinary lives.
Husbands and wives.
Neither knows the other, and never will, anyway.
I know you little enough to be able to say
I do not know you, too.
You will always be a mystery to me,
as I will be to you.
And this is true,
Venus in the dark sky.
Bright light of love in the night,
wrapped in black satin.
if you love someone
there is always the wonder
of how it will end
Once upon a time in Bangalore
I lived in a Palace, and from there
I could see a world I would
never know. The rules of the road
we’re indicative. The lives of
the herd were imperative.
A greeting was a meeting
of hearts and minds and souls,
of simplicity and complicity
in the life and love we all share.
There is no brighter beauty
than the darkness of their hair,
or the brown-eyed brilliance
of the faces I saw there.
Outside in, I saw the thing
that makes me love them still.
It is the will to be a friend
until the end of time.
I have never known
a sweeter people
in all my life.
When I kissed you as you left
today, we were as close as we could get
and yet we were still indistinct
to each other, from one another, thinking
different things together, separating.
We had been so close that what was on you
was now on me. I took your scent, tasted it,
carried it on my lips, the essence of you
with me still, in your absence. We had
been so close but still I could not know
what was in your mind, or in your heart.
We believe we know, we coupled folk, we
long-time lovers and lifers together, but
it isn’t true. We never do. I don’t know you,
you don’t know me.
Perhaps that is as it should be.
This may be true for all the others,
for all the unknown, untouched,
What we all know, if nothing else:
we are a mystery to ourselves.
Is hard to do
I’m not an easy lover
But loving you
Is easy too
For me there is
her lips are so soft
they take what I give to her
a kiss and a smile
On this Valentine’s day
Remember these words well
Learning to love yourself
Is the greatest love of all
When we say we love,
This is what we really mean:
Don’t leave me alone.
All those we have ever loved
None of the hatred
Love is a fiction.
The best that we can hope for:
Liking, not loving.
The meaning of love
Just like the meaning of life
Is a mystery
A man I met on holiday
told me once the story
of how he never met his mother.
She was blown to blitz
in the same old war that
his father fell for.
Their only child, he’d been
sent away to stay in a place
full of strangers, with dangers
of its own. He had known
no relative love or tenderness,
just the kindness of strangers.
He smiled unceasingly.
The woman he’d wed, an orphan
like him, said they were paired,
that they cared for each other,
sister and brother as much
as lovers. She grinned without end
at her partner, her friend.
I thought of them today when
I heard the distaste in the bray
of your voice. The orphans had
found each other, each chosen
the other and chosen to be happy
together. You and I came together,
we were never the chosen.
We do not like the same,
we are unlike each other
and like one another now and then.
If we too were orphans, I wonder
often if you would be better
When we say we love
We say it in the moment
The moment will pass
Reading John Carver
Just what happens to people
Small stories of life
What is vanity?
Loving the self above all
But without reason
On a cold dark night
This is the heat that I need
The warmth of your love