A girl looking at a boy looking at a girl

I spent an hour awake

tired out of my own sick mind

trying to find a moment

when this body

this infection

living on my bitter brain

(the same as his

might I say)

when this

‘tired of your eyes’

skin tight frame

wasn’t treated like meat

offal and blood beat

a pulp

spat and secreted

I try and imagine a moment

when there won’t be someone

who would find me appetising

want to bite or tear

and consume me

from child to mother to old age

in and between

every centimetre of life

and it’s sort of funny

suffocating

body rid of air

or worse

purpose

when you realise

you’ll never not see that glare

side eyed stare

at my skin

my pink speckled flesh

gross and unloved

but still makes him salivate

pleading for more

there isn’t a time

I’m afraid

when I am not there to ingest

And it all comes back to him

looking at me

a girl looking at a boy looking at a girl

Prufrocked and Rushdied

I don’t often recognise references or allusions in novels. I think I gloss over a lot and miss much of what makes a book special. But, when reading ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie, something stood out. It was a line at the end of a piece of prose, poetry? The line read, ‘…is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?’. It was the rhythm that caught me. Made me stop. I turned to my phone as it was closer than the book and googled ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’. Now, looking back and knowing more, I see so many clearer links to the poem. For instance the reference to the narrator being ‘prufrocked’ and the almost direct quotation, ‘I have see her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening?’. Nonetheless, it was the rhythm that caught me.

Let me explain.

When I was in second year of university going through a rough spot. Rough? Maybe it was more weathered, or stormed? Anyway, I found it harder and harder to fall asleep. I tried all sorts of remedies but nothing worked. And as always when stuck in an unsure moment with no one to turn to ( or maybe someone but oh god not them) I averted my gaze and found myself looking at poetry. The one thing that seemed to make a slight difference was listening to T S Eliot reading his poem ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ each night. The 7.52min recital mimicked lullaby. The ups and downs, peaks and troughs, cadence of his voice sent my body into as close to sleep as I could muster. It became a ritual. I’d lie and let Eliot sing to me. I’ve always believed poetry should be heard not read and this poem proves that precisely. It is a joy to listen to. Makes reading seem unsubstantial and pointless. Makes my eyes redundant and my ears gold again.

I listened to it again after my recent early evening revelations and my body went into an almost paralysis, a lucid state. I was hypnotised by a familiar voice who had tried many times before to knock me out. But this time, although my mind was preparing to shut down, I wasn’t. I was still revelling at my newfound knowledge. Insider knowledge. Like I said, I never make the links. I can never cut as deep as others into the many facets that make up and inspire a novel. I’d struck gold and it felt amazing. And so, as cliche would want it, I couldn’t sleep that night. My head full of things I wanted to share. And so I share it with you. Below is the discussed extract from the novel ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie which I recommend no one reads but everyone to have read.

“The first night and the second night, the first two nights of the new year, she demonstrates her wares, let’s him see the quality of what’s on offer, not only physically but emotionally. She…and here I rear back and half myself, ashamed, prufrocked into a sudden pudeur, for, after all, how should I presume? Shall I say, I have known them all, I have seen her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening? Do I dare, and do I dare? And who am I, after all? I am not the prince. An attendant lord, deferential, glad to be of use. Almost, at times, the Fool…But, setting aside poetry, I’m too deeply in to stop now. I am imagining her already. Perhaps kneeling beside him on the bed. Yes, kneeling, I think. Asking, is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?” (p.78)

The Rude South

Commuters are like buses

And I am human

Or bus

Stuck in traffic

And everyone around me is beeping

Their voices

And the buses are ignoring each other

And no one is giving way

Or talking

Because we are all too desperate

To be away from each other

Not because we are the rude South

Or because London is lonely

But because this is life now

Or something like that

Monday

Another sun

Or maybe the same

Wakes us early

And forces us to change

Again

But remain very much the same

And hustle into another car

Which gives good news

Exciting scary news.

 

Us three

Walk down past ruined castles

And beaches

And talk about each other

And laugh about each other

And queue for something

Very much worth queuing for.

 

Home again

To spend

Another never-ending night

Talking about

How amazing it has been

And I think

How strange it is

That your thoughts are mine

And I cannot wait to wake up

Tomorrow (and for many more tomorrows)

In a good mood

‘I think it might be your fault’

Sleep talking

You slept on tiptoes

and between dreams

and told me

in your sleep

that I was stealing the covers

and I laughed

watching you cradled in cloud

and linen perfume.

 

You woke before the sun

and between seconds

and told me

as your eyes opened

that I’d stolen the covers

and I said I was sorry

and kissed your smiling greedy eyes

back to sleep.

Counting sheep

She looked at me weirdly today

And then not at all

And then my mind took me on another adventure

Where her hands were a harness around my neck

To keep my head upright, and my throat closed

Where her hands cut lengths of my hair off in my sleep

And began to weave a blanket to smother me with

Where her hands made fire and burnt my skin so it crackled

To show that I am lesser and I am not so fierce

 

 

And it took a while for me to escape my miserable dream

And find peace again in my sub-conscience

But also to rid the memory that her hands will return

To torment me again