I wrote a book recently, for the irrationally compelling Edward Saperia, mastermind and madman behind Clockwork Quartet and the impractical number of Original Content London projects: it’s called Cryptofloricon, and was probably the most fun I’ve ever been paid for. Anyway, for possibly the first time ever, I was told off for being insufficiently emotional, and this is what happened.
Be warned. There are more where these came from.
You’re beautiful I can’t quite breathe with you near. Like you’re gravity, like you’re god, everything begins and ends with you. At the corner of my eye, at the centre of my attention, your every move an earthquake, I am lost when your eyes find me.*
Desire I’d forgotten. The sudden breathless boneless longing that drags you momentarily from street or shop and melts you into the press and slide of skin and bone and weight and warmth, muscle and fingers and mouth and leaves you breathless, blinking, beached on the bare boards of your life.
Longing The sunlight is sharp and it cuts me, slices through flesh to the space where you’re not and hollows an ache I plaster over daily with the silt of a thousand compromises. The curve of your jaw, the set of your shoulders, the turn of your head, they echo against my eyelids as I reach blindly for reason to pretend that anything else is enough.
If only There are places I don’t go in case the world ends, and one of them is you. Still, some nights I dream of waking with your taste on my tongue and your touch on my skin and your warmth at my back and I can’t get away from the knowledge that there’d be nothing left to want.
Regret I’ll never undo it, never unhear, never unsee and yet I close my eyes and wrench my head from the thousand, thousand insistent echoes of all the things I could have said, should have done, all the ways I could have saved us.
Fear It’s already begun. The little losses, the slipping away – an absence, a hurry, a forgotten gesture and a careless word and the gradual, gentle erosion of an island shifting incrementally from idyll to prison. One day soon I’ll turn and see only your shadow in an empty room as the door drifts shut behind you.
I need you It’s not that words don’t make sense with you gone, it’s that there seems no sense in reading them. Nobody hears me like you do, nobody sees what I see, and so the world fades into outlines, a blur of grey generalities without the insistent bite and beat of your body and the myriad mysteries of your mind. I am lost without you, lost within you, lost where you are not. Whenever you leave, part of me goes too, and I am adrift, ripped loose, shaken and bleeding and branded with wounds only your tongue can heal.
Sorrow It never leaves. When I wake in the morning, I drag its heavy aching weight to breakfast, its dull depths drumming slowly at the back of my eyes. Wherever I look or move it follows, echoes, lover, loss, limit, life. It’s been years, and yet it’s still there, the desert, the desertion, every hollow heartbeat a heartbeat behind.
Despair It’s cold. Nothing now except the blank page, the accusing eyes, the empty hands and the last door, closing. Every breath is a body blow. I sink, searching, freezing streets and jagged skylines closing around me as the last flicker of hope snuffs out.
*Nb. ‘At the corner of my eye / at the centre of my attention’ refers to a poem by the infinitely more talented obandsoller, a sharpened diamond to my emotional bludgeon. Given the amusingly marked distinction in our styles, however, and his kind permission, I felt the theft was justified.