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XXXVII

Tell me why I stay…
I have found no love here,
                      but I have brought love back
and kept it wrapped in tissue between books, safe
to know that my love is around me, my home
built from the walls of our bodies…
       and yet its door is three hundred miles away
       and I have little love for that place, but you, now.
I am distanced from those cars, and towers, and crowds
but then, too, distanced from the embrace of your bones.
I have made my bed here,
where I feel you not between its sheets,
but in the biting winds,
       indefinitely longing for you
       but content in the quiet.
My soul will churn away through back-streets,
writing stories step by step
and distancing myself to a character in a narrative
of constant absence.
I have found no love here,
                      but I have brought love back,
                      and bring love with me every time I return.


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I remember that time last year, with the bottle shaped like Champagne, that had me excited, I made us take a photograph and all my love for you in my eyes had you excited, instead we drank warm gin and bourbon (I’m sure I can’t stand bourbon) and had a quiet night’s sleep. Can you recall the lights from Kew? At New Year’s gone; that one shaped like a peacock had you excited, you made me take a photograph and all the electricity in the trees had me excited to drink wine with you, with the television muted (I’m still not sure whether I like the Talking Heads) and rest my head on your shoulder.


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Lament my leaving
so that I might translate
your absence to an object,
or mine to these words,
both held precious, unwanted
and unremarkable,
like that scar just below
my seventh rib;
you say you don’t notice.
I’ve painted that scar
seven times this year, but
I still cannot see it.



XXV
You trace your fingers over the edges of me
drawing my lines
to map a memory of my body
that you can bring home, to bed.
You’ve drawn me countless times before,
but each image seems to shift
and you seem to forget my boundaries
for another month.

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My bedside lamp glows red,
reflecting an old gift bag I never received
the whole thing is quite seedy;
I am thinking of you, missing you
between my sheets, or arms, or legs,
but instead of your back, my red
lamp illuminates a book of sculptures
that I don’t particularly like.
Their forms will never be able
to replicate the sight of you, over me, so perfectly lit.


XLIII
1.
September 6th,
my mind is full of flowers
and moving pictures of clouds
that cannot find their form in a crowded sky.
Still, I have no images
to translate to verse for You;
I am staring at myself
naked in the mirror
that warps my chest and hair
(not that it will do me
any good at all).
2.
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy,
Intimacy.
3.
Our intimacy
puts miles in the eight inches
between our bodies.
4.
September 7th, the clouds are fragmented and still, and your memory takes myriad forms: the coffee stain on my duvet, a blue t-shirt (that I cannot find), a Pulp record, and an unlit scented candle.
I hope that you collect me
around you
in the same way.
You surround me
in quiet ways, with a voice so loud.


XIII

In my orange shirt, I look like a worse-for-wear, miserable St. Valentine (orange has never really suited me), and I don’t particularly like yoghurt (I’m terribly sorry, Frank). I haven’t been to the Frick, though, if anybody fancies taking me…


XLVI

Oh, absent body:
Metronome of my heart,
and sweet harmony to my voice…


Find me in your veins,
or in the pit of your heart, always wanting after you.

© Oliver Doe 2014-2018