You are dead , this letter is for you

the kind of paper it’s written on

Chengxintang, or Florentine marble

unknown, you may delay but time will not;

soot, by-product-of-fire, formation of ink

squid, gold, glass, the pen’s nib, fine, finer

all things that once mattered

now hardly recalled, Bazaar without gilded trade

no-one sits on carpets drinking mint-tea

funny how in one life time, even less;

what we knew, what we could rely upon

vaporizes into Samarkand ash

it’s a living funeral, all kinds of absence

bundled into packages without address

where do we send ourselves? When grief

reveals her ragged heart, where do we go?

When this play has moved on and our letters

go unopened, unsent, dissolving

fig, pulp, tangerine, 4pm sun

I am the only one who remembers

and I hate that, I really hate that

keeper of naught, keeper of all the things

that matter nothing to anyone else

where the little pill box from the roaring twenties

with a Tamara de Lempicka replica is painted

in miniature 30/0 nickel ferrules was

stolen by a friend from a lighthouse, the Île Vierge 

that kersanton granite giant, its bright white light

bleaching hours, counting disciples with abacus

who else will cherish those memories, evaporating

in situ, like a watched wound never scabs

who cares for the toys with their sorrowful

glass eyes and well stitched sides, who will

make the connections we made? Like chess?

You’d say about now; Oh, that reminds me

of the quote from Lear; “Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your

houseless heads and unfed sides, Your looped and windowed

raggedness defend you From seasons such as these?

O, I have taken Too little care of this.” You’d marvel

at the recollection, even as dimly, your own reflected

partial and insubstantial mirror numbed, still, still

we boyed the other, through rough storm, through temper, tempest, torment

becoming at times, our very indemnity, others

the warm curve of solace, never strangers

till now, where your eyes are dull, shining nothing

back, no recollection, record still against blunt

needle, un-played, our favorite song, it feels

like a burning, 5th of November, watching Guy Fawkes

in his effigy suit, catch hungry flames, reduced

to dust, are you there? Do you hear? Will you see?

All childish entreaties, rinsed from time, she

stands, a cruel thing, inevitable, inescapable

I hate her, I really hate to witness, what I

have long feared, now it is dormant, not

galloping alongside me, breaking a sweat

now it is slow, slothful, disorientated, they

stop posting, mark the prices too high, thief

the stamps of their lick, everything prefix is an affix

a tumble of errors and delight, beneath thick

cloth, where the world had no assess, we divined

make-believe in costume, masks of feathers

your slow grin, sloe gin, stained teeth

smoking a black cigarette, head tossed back

oh god life was astonishing then, then

you are dead, this letter is for you

unsent, sealed inside me, where I dry,

and husk and molt and wilt faire de la confiture

beneath endless gris mote and rote

without you, still, still, gone almost

hanging on for what purposing?

A torment, in fancy-dress, we

clasp leather reins, canter, gallop

smelling of horse and blood-oranges

spilling through the heavy doors

here at last! Sorry we’re tardy!

Where it’s never too late, until it is, then

padlocks become our winter bones

beneath cold water, an odd reflection

Alice stared, until she could neither see

the way out, or the way forward

drink me, they urged, drink me

and she grew so small, so miniature

nothing could hurt her anymore

not even the echo of your laugh

you who did not read any longer

who rested in the sunlight, one ring on your finger

too tight, they said; perhaps soon

they’d have to cut it off.

3 Replies to “Lettres jamais envoyées”

  1. I’m thinking of my father
    Of his long, slow dying
    His piecemeal forgetting
    His shrinking to weakness
    Just every now and then
    A memory bubbling up
    For me to harvest
    Before it evaporated
    And I find a feeling of kinship
    With Melville’s Ishmael and Job
    “I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”

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