Sunday, August 10

Nine Years (& two good-byes)

‘DON’T STOP UNTIL I say so.’
I remove my watch and I sit down to write and there is the weird sound of the fan; weird because it cannot be placed, no matter where it is turning; is it above my ear?
You might just wonder where I have been; I have been here.
You might just wonder what I have been up to; I have been up to many things but I may not talk about all of them.
You might just walk away, disinterested; I have been interested.
It’s an autumnal day where the sun sets sooner than one is used to, the breeze is a wind and is cold about the shoulders, where the rain falls a little too hard for anyone’s liking and in the eyebrows of light is the brown colour of another season, a new one. I sit down with so little to say but I am writing and that is rare enough without having to comment too much upon it.
‘Okay,’ she says.
But before all of that I am sat with Walsh in a bar on Commercial St. as one road engulfs another like a diagram of reproduction; (colourful in pink purple that colour of bone). I say to him—‘When it’s bad, it’s the worst thing in the world.’ He nods. We are cradling beers, a little out of place, just the two of us. Solely me and him we can have good conversations—‘But when it’s good, it’s the best thing I’ve ever had . . . and it’s worth it, you know?’ He knows.
Is there any poetic justice I can offer to five days of not having written? It would be nice, I estimate, to bring some poetry to the table and say—‘Here: here is my week.’
‘Excuse me,’ the lady is tapping her phone—‘I heard that gentleman say you’ve been living here for nine years.’ Her partner is off elsewhere. She is alone within her phone. Her partner is dressed noisily in green; green trousers, a white blouse with green detail, a green kerchief, a green hat. The smile is all teeth that bob and dive toward each other, pricked by gum. The lady is within her phone, a masculine jaw and elongated neck; freckles about her skin like an old comic book. She looks up and scuffles her phone away. She tells us about nine years. I think about where I was nine years ago. The evening is drawing to a close. The DJ booth is being packed away; heavy speakers lugged down the stairs, out to the van. We three are cross-legged and discussing nine years.
‘Okay, stop,’ I say. I am wheezing and laughing and giggling and her hand keeps wrapped tightly but still as I continue to drip drip drip.
When we leave to collect our takeaway curry she is talking to a man who, from nowhere, arrived to interrupt our conversation. His volume allows no room for resistance. Will she notice our good-bye? She waves timidly. ‘We don’t go out much,’ she says. The pair of them harboured within their flat, enjoying lesbian pleasures over a Juliet balcony and leafy walkways. I suppose I see them, though with little clarity. The partner comes back from her dancing, beaming, trembling lips and a report of the show. All of the flats around have dropped their windows.
Between then and now an old friend offers me – halfheartedly, with the underplayed manner of a grown-man offering another a present – a gift that, through its paper disguise, is obviously a hardback. I open it. It’s a book (from a publishing house my brother signed up to in order to buy me a similarly spectacular publication from a year ago) and I check the spine and coo my appreciation. When we say good-bye he offers me his hand —
‘Give me a hug. It’s only him who doesn’t like hugging.’
— But I bend down and hug him because I want to hug him. I am no good at hugs; it comes off loose, unfriendly perhaps. I went in with good intentions. I clutch the gift under my arm.
I am kneeling up in the Saturday dawn with pale sun and semen all over the sheets. There is a point to all of this but I have lost the plot. With constant reminder, I tell myself—‘Keep writing, keep writing.’ There are some things I am desperate not to discard.
Nine years. The crowds refused to disperse despite the DJ intimating that they should and the musical silence plotting the end of the evening. Still, everyone remains. Where do we go from here? I am tired from all of this weekend’s eating and drinking. I should lie down.

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