13 February 2013

Two from Edna St Vincent Millay


It's little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it's little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It's little I know what's in my heart,
What's in my mind it's little I know,
But there's that in me must up and start,
And it's little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
Brings up, it's little enough I care;
And it's little I'd mind the fuss they'll make,
Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

"Is something the matter, dear," she said,
"That you sit at your work so silently?"
"No, mother, no, 'twas a knot in my thread.
There goes the kettle, I'll make the tea."


An Ancient Gesture

I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:

Penelope did this too.

And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day

And undoing it all through the night;

Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;

And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,

And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.

Suddenly you burst into tears;

There is simply nothing else to do.

And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:

This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,

In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;

Ulysses did this too.

But only as a gesture,―a gesture which implied

To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.

He learned it from Penelope...

Penelope, who really cried.

10 February 2013


I want him all the way home. 

We discussed perverse traditions (or perhaps it is our enthusiasm that was perverse) – human sacrifice, starvation... 

Half drunk I wander into the designer clothing stores on the way to the bus stop. This had become a ritual, my own perverse tradition. The security guard eyes me suspiciously. I am rained on and dripping on dry clean only items. This delights me because I can’t afford anything and I am above desire for material possessions. (Except that bright red mohair jumper.) I see my face reflected in the flat torso of a black mannequin. My eyeliner is smeared like how his lip half curls under when he talks, breaking his neat mouth lines. Sensitive Elvis. Maybe I want to destroy him. God I love the sweet fug of the first few beers. I had nothing to contribute to the conversation about weightlifting. I am still reeling from his voice. Tissues drop out of every sleeve. Multiplying allergies. Polka dots triple into tesseracts. 

The notes I wrote beat against his breast pocket giving him a rhythm to walk to.

7 February 2013


Curls of dog shit litter the pavement. They look exactly like Hershey’s kisses which incidentally taste just like shit - those rare treats friends bring back from America... You excitedly peel off the silver foil and smooth it out between your fingers as you suck the chocolate and slowly realise, as the flavour seeps over your tongue, that you have once again been duped by the myth of America! Once again there is a foul taste in your mouth where there should be sweetness.