His nose was long

lending a gravitas he didn’t yet have

squid ink hair, languid curls, almost


some asked if he was Jewish? Arab? Turk?

An intoxicated slur on limoncello tongues

drunk gaggle of girls

picking him apart for his ethnics, his musician fingers

so calm in faded t-shirt and dirty shoes

whilst they, trussed in glitter, war paint, hiding

truth in swell

a red bulb causing features to blur kaleidoscopic

against the 5th drink

his fingers soft like children’s skin

picks out the shy one, hair falling down her back

like an apology, vermillion mouth, over-sized, bitten lips

noticing the pitch of his eyes, sloes in gin, almonds

without husk he evaporates in the dark

arms around her, snakes in trees watchful

the lips of music burning smoothly

night holds still, spectator car crash

too much gore

entranced until speed whisks them past

we forget horror, the only way we survive

she never wanted to be a boy

liked the angles of womanhood grown on her

an abundant fruiting season

this sensuality to her breasts she wouldn’t swap

for a man’s hard stomach, the demon of hips

clashing like absailers on granite cliff

a hollowed out sorrow to his slender legs

she can lend him a little of her abundance

lubricate his grief, find something awake and bright

in this tussle, mixing her spit with his ash

she wanted to climb away, go backward

the nudity of his masculine smell, crowding her

unsaid words give way to pity

lost in strangeness, the sour taste of

half need and repulsion, pulling at each others


his wrists slashed into healed ribbons, scar tissue a mockery

I have held the same impulse

her silence says to his unfurling

he’s never done this before, she realizes

her own parody of grotesque, thinking

how girls who like boys would act

opening wider, despite herself, seeking a fix for

the broken elements in them both

hardly feeling when he breaks sound

releasing, filling her with sea water

transferring sorrow beneath her skin

damp skirt, lying like murder on a crying floor

his mouth buried against her neck

breathing song

the moon full now, over them both

an opulance against shame

she thinks of Paradise Lost

the description of The Fall

and being without faith still feels

changed, as if something of her were

splintered now, the fracture deep in marrow

gathering her discarded clothes

she returns to the lit bar

leaving him fading into leaves, a shut memory

before the 6th drink smooths the syllables of evening

people begin to sing auld lang eye

many years later she sees him

cycling past the river, same long bones

and feels in her rib

a jabbing sensation

her son tightens his grip on her hand

his ebony eyes, 1990’s vinyl

playing ever slow.

12 Replies to “Eve 1990”

  1. Stopped in my tracks by a poem
    Sent spinning through memories
    Through scenes observed
    Through questions
    The Fall from?
    The Fall to?
    And all the many, many reasons
    The currents of life
    That may bring two strangers
    To something together but apart

  2. Right? Obv this was fictional but it was the idea of meeting someone briefly and being connected for life. I think that’s a fascinating concept as is the way Milton wrote how they felt after they had sex. Just stuck in my head!

  3. It is strange and powerful how we feel that long connection from even a single experience of sex or intense non-sexual intimacy with someone, whether a stranger, or only slightly known, or estranged, or deceased. I suppose there are people with different personality structures who don’t, but I have a “whatever became of …” list, and at least two who I still feel it even though they are not welcome as an active part of my life (Some people are best loved at a great distance and in silence). They are never far from my thoughts in one way or another. There is a reason we call it (at least the consensual kind) “making love”, a performative act of creation of a context not easily undone. I suppose that is the “Fall into” versus Fall from” part. But, “Fall out”? I don’t know that is even possible at some deep level.

  4. I suppose all those years of RE education and then first time I read PL struck by the way they were ‘changed’ at first, the feminist in me thought it was just a shaming tactic, for nudity, sensuality, but I came to see how you could see it as – vanishing innocence, that feeling of lust and passion then afterward spent, the sorrow that sometimes we deny but exists. I built the poem idea on that – thank you so much for seeing and reading

  5. I don’t have a IRL list of ‘whatever became of’ ex-partners, because I suppose I have had a few long term relationships and not enough time inbetween for those kinds of connections. I wanted to, but maybe it wouldn’t have been good for me. I had an interesting conversation with a male friend the other day, I said what I looked for in a relationship (when asked) was staying power, emotional availability, (probably all the things men hate, ha ha!) and to feel special to the other person and to feel the other person was special to me. That connection. he said he thought maybe that was unrealistic, better to feel I was special then wouldn’t need to rely upon others to feel special. I said yes I agree ideally you are absolutely right, but I am incapable of feeling I am special that will realistically never occur so rather than deny myself, I go for what I can create which is if I feel safe and loved, validated, the chosen one, as babyish as that may be, it works for me and I can also feel this for another even if I do not feel it for myself. he said he felt that depended too much on the validation of another, which is true, I said yes, but for me as I grew up without validation it’s very crucial to me in any interpersonal relationship where I am close to someone – (not casual acquaintanceship) – to be ‘special’ not in the youtubestar sense, but just special to them. Otherwise why bother? He said he felt that relied too much on my needing to be special – afterward I thought on it a lot. i think the word ‘special’ is the issue, it’s tainted by the idea special means slow or striving to be above others, but I mean it in the child sense, I want to be special to my mom or dad, I want to matter, I want them to love me etc, and that urge to matter to those who are special to you. Anyway maybe it’s just how people coming from different places come to radically different conclusions, but it was an interesting debate. For me, as you say, different personality structures and all, I have a need I acknowledge. If I am just driftwood in a relationship I won’t invest or stay. I didn’t have ‘whatever became of’ because they held on and never became strangers, which I guess is a good thing, but as you say you don’t need to see those people always to feel an appreciation for what they were in your life once. Which is pretty interesting when you think how much once they meant everything. As I got older I became less idealistic about relationships, i was very immature in my hopes because I only saw broken relationships. now I think there may be sell by dates etc but if you make love then it’s so much more than sex or love or attachment and at the same time, I am fascinated by the idea of a one night stand leaving behind a child. I think that was the ‘idea’ I was playing with in this poem. Thank you for thinking and reading and caring. It’s that whole polenation/seeding idea where we may do something once and it has this irrevocable aspect to it.

  6. Thank you dearly. I tried to combine one theme with another, and consider what would happen.

  7. It isn’t a long list. In fact, somewhat in reference to the story in the poem, the one who comes up most often was the first. The mutual friends who threw us together didn’t use last names in introductions (too formal for the mid 1960s Hippie culture). And now, both of those friends (a couple) have exited the mortal realm after 50+ years of marriage. It is the element of mystery I suppose. I do think that if there had been a child, I would have heard, but I wonder about the boy in the poem. Did he notice and recognize her and the child watching him those years later? Did he still think of her?

    Feeling special is important. It is an aspect of feeling safe, physically and emotionally – safe to be vulnerable, to be naked in more than the physical sense. Looking back, I come to see that in my two longest partnerships (one a marriage), that wasn’t achieved, in part because the definitions of how it could be didn’t match. I think neither of those women could believe that men can be trusted to be faithful. And, I had a lot to learn about self-revelation.

    I think of the idea of Karma and every action being irrevocable, changing us and the world in some way. “Captive on the carousel of time” as Joni put it.

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