My Beautiful Drunk

Even when
you don’t show up for months
I know that you will return, your smile,
your eyes, your frame communicating
release from longing,
you will come and my need
will ignore all
that I try not to dwell upon.

You are here.
My lips silence the apology on yours.
I don’t mind that you dined
on Dutch courage before you arrived.
We’re both of us breaking the rules.

You are here,
shoulders shrugging off duty,
eyes pale as twilight ice, yet
like a welcoming Spring, smile
describing a question
and echoes a reply:

“Do you still love me?
Yes, you do, and I
love you.”

“I’ll get my coat,” I say.

Dipping into the living room
I ad-lib a hasty drop on my stop-gap squeeze:
“I need you to leave. You’re welcome
to finish your coffee. Sorry but I want
you gone.
It’s been fun. Sorry it’s so sudden.
Sorry but we’re done.”
I have no time for pleas. His lack of dignity
repels me. I didn’t encouraged him
to fall for me;
I always warn them;
nobody can compete
with Frankie.

Maybe I am harsh
but my heart beats only for you
and now you are here,
you are here.

When our destinies drive us apart
I might train to be kind to those
who don’t compare
to you.

We find a pub where we are not known,
the void forgotten;
pointless days stretching to months
aping passion, faking pleasure
with failed imitations of you,
playing the field without reason
in a game where I cheat, don’t care if I kill,
where nobody wins and no healing takes place,
filling space while I wait for the only man
who leaves me intact.

As you turn my way,
that rebellious blonde forelock
flops over your face.
You flick your head,
and as always, your effort fails.
A kitten wakes inside me, chases a tickly ball of wool,
nudging the overfilled bucket of love in my chest,
spilling it everywhere.

Wherever I go, your glow accompanies me,
pumping through my veins, blowing in the wind,
catching in trees,filling me, pressing my flesh,
its tendrils
caressing all I see.

When we are together
Your physical presence
overwhelms me.

You’re over the limit
so you drive slowly, tyres
clipping the bank once or twice, yet
I know you will keep me safe, like in the days
before I was told you were spliced;
all those times you threw your knife
while, locked in faith
I lay, a starfish in a pool of grass,
the blade missing my fingers and thighs,
It could have been luck or skill that guided your arm
but love shared a place.

We speak of inconsequential things;
paper and bricks, scraped shins,
spinning tops and sycamore wings,
while our souls hold their own conversation.

You are my nutrition, my breath, my home.
You love us both, and that’s fine by me.
Your happiness is top of my list.
Any joy that might come my way is a bonus.
In your shoes
I’d be unable to choose
between sane homemaker and dazed adventuress.

The clock ticks, timing each moment.
banking memorise
to hold when alone.

You will ever be my succour, the source I sup from.
When I grow old I will relive
each moment;

the shrug of your shoulder,
the sun in your sky-eyes,
the dissident slick of hair,
the smile that wakes butterflies.
My ears won’t need to strain
to hear those familiar words of love
rising sober from the sodden slur.

I love you,
my beautiful drunk.
The car idles while we pretend
to be saying goodnight.
You admit defeat and turn the key
leaving silence,
silence
but for the distant whistle of guilt
accompanied by two heartbeats,
while you and me;
our clasped hands displaying your frayed loyalty;
remain untouched by release
on separate seats.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Back to my Mother’s Womb

mother's womb2
.

If a demon
donned in silver frock
offered me the chance to start again,
promising that I may retain
a select portion
of the wisdom of sixty-four years,
would I?

Would I return
to the workish warmth
of my mother’s hearth? Hear
her sing again, revel in recitations
of Wordsworth, Rosetti, giggle at the rhymes
of Edward Lear, Spike Milligan,
enjoy stories and small talk
as we cook and clean.
Sit on her knee while static
crackles and a voice fit for kittens
simpers through Listen With Mother.

Playing in the rabbit’s pen,
feeding scraps to the hens, waiting
for my brothers to come home, my small heart
filled with the only love I know, my flesh
as yet untouched by the unholy.

Would I try again?
If I could evade the mistakes,
the fast and false breaks,
the arms of pale ogres and odius fakes.
The ache of living for living’s sake.

If I could relive
my pre-school days,
correct my dwindling years –
would I do it all again? Build a castle
of amethyst bricks, fill it with laughter,
let the children bounce and leap
on furnishings picked
with impeccable taste,
live the high life
’til I die.

Would I –
if I could evade all the pain –
would I choose to be born again?
I’m tired and I want to go home,
back to my mother’s womb, yet
would I give it a second go?

Hell, no.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil