I wish I’d whispered more often with a saint’s conviction,
especially when in the early hours of morning it seemed clear
the sun was on its way, to be spent sooner or later
in playful illumination of my own mind or of each lip
which has conceded and confirmed, though not concealed,
desire and reserve to tease would-be voyeurs,
overdosers on diversionary half turns of faces
laced lightly with precise quantities of favoured scent, its
traces still insinuate in the sparkling dew of dawn.
Yes, I do recall a run of such years: the first, the fear
I’d found – yet overcome – of the where and the how
we had begun to bow and lay our coats upon the ground
to win whatever quid pro quo was then considered apt,
often indicative of dowry; hence my store of give-away
embroideries that wrapped tarnished keys to bedroom doors
which squeaked unhelpfully – as any self-respecting floorboard might –
and so misconstrue the whispers either side and force such keys’ retreat;
to be rested until I’d scrubbed them bright as looking glass,
labelling in coded letters lest I both lose them and forget.
It is in such moments, a half-life later, possibly more but
now less sure, languid, I find myself slowing, sinking.
I fear that the aggregate of all things of a possessory nature
that sit by my side or surround me or just track the rolling motion
of the fleshy folds at the back of my cabby’s neck, yes, the sum total
of all things that just are, this swelling, this burgeoning accrual is
never in the black, never out of red deficit and, despite all
whispered incantations, when matched against the mysteries
and marvels conjured sky high by
our scientists, our artists, our philosophers,
amount to a bowl of sweet cherrystones.
These days we all do compare and so (it’s said),
for most of each week, tongue in cheek, to keep
heads upon shoulders while wallowing deep in
the do-do of the undoable while the perennial losers
attend to their deficits as if their lives so depend. It is as
much as I can do to shift the risk of whispered barbs –
to hypothesise about this and surmise about that –
quietly confident, in consequence, that shortfalls of the type
I describe need not be the preoccupation of most of us.
Which is such a sucker to those who instinctively think
that the entirety of the world’s salt water and sausages are
in play and so are required somehow to defend themselves
from the likes of me (and I think you) with toxins dressed as
fine confectionery that they concoct in adopted kitchens then
leave to quicken for a week, filling time with the study in
whispered trades of the language, the regional variations and
broader idiom, some knowledge of tainting the tips of walking sticks
and a dozen thumbed thesauruses all in a row.