I have a moon growing deep inside the centre
of my head, just under the brain.
I was bom with it. It’s a remnant of some long ago
extinct species and very rare.
I’ve lived all my life with it growing in the dark cave
of my skull. It’s now the size of a golf ball.
It can’t be removed or stopped,
but it grows slow as a stalagmite, and most like won’t kill me …. just yet.
But it exerts an awful lot of pressure
on my brain and pushes softer bits of me
aside which would best be left where they were.
Some reckon the existence of this rock
has affected me all my life, long before a head scan
revealed it was there: “it’s like the grit of sand in the shell
of an oyster that torments the creature into making a pearl”.
Jean reckons my novels, paintings, and poems
are my pearls. Funny the name of my publisher
is Oyster Press. Coincidence or what?
Maybe there’s enough time yet for my moon
to nudge some extra lyricism out of me,
but is it cool to have to cripple myself into beauty?
I might have preferred some other way –
drink or drugs (of which I’ve had a few) – to be creatively
fucked up. Maybe I should just quit, move into the woods,
live on ants, caterpillars and grubs, and in my next life
they could live on me.
He began to visit her most afternoons
at Riverside to act out whatever it was
he did or wished he’d done with his first love
fifty years ago.
The uniform was red.
Red was the colour of the single rose
he used to bring her coloured with the blood
from his heart.
But red was not the colour of her hair.
The Riverside girl enquired once as to what happened
to the distant lover whom she was meant to impersonate.
He told her that the girl he’d loved most,
who was most important to him was not gone,
she’d just never been.
Never been where?, the red-haired Riverside girl
persisted, cutting him a slice of the iced cake
she’d baked him as per.
He retraced his steps
for a moment, stood at the window to watch the St Johns river
flow by. Let’s go out he said, the visit queered, I think the true
blue moment is over or yet to come.
He realised that if she never grew old she couldn’t be
real, unless she was growing old and growing real
somewhere else, far away south on this continent.
In any case he didn’t want the Riverside girl
to impersonate her,
he wanted her to incarnate her.
He wanted her to be her.
Outside Valerios opposite Third & Main
street lamps like twin ice cream cones come on.
I reel at the richness of a remembered life
I never lived. A greyhound streaks south.
How far to Buenos Aires?
Lost love unknown sprayed onto a cheap canvas.
Butterflies look lost flying past you at night
and if a play was ever staged as a monument,
most of it’d be kept in the wings.
Maybe it could be done as a love story
in two movies running at the same time
and the viewer switches from screen to screen
to juxtapose the real with the imagined.
What if she isn’t around anymore?
For all I know she might’ve been extinguished
fifty years ago, not long after she left.
Maybe she never lived long enough
to have an adulthood at all,
except in my fevered brow where thoughts
roll over-and-over like rocks battered by the ocean.
I dreamt I googled you and found that the life
you’d made for yourself has a harmonious resonance.
I liked the picture of you sleeping,
your face freed from all its waking strictures,
while I am still trapped in the disordered dreaming
of about twenty pounds of letters
written over fifty years but never sent.
What if I scanned them in and emailed them
all to you now?
I could settle in some brooding old mansion
on leafy Pearl Street, call it Almora
and pretend that here was the setting
where it all began.
You can read ‘Almora – Personae Separatae’ on this page.