Mick Jagger couldn't do it for him
even where grainy b&w movies
played impossibly loud created
an accessible legend.
After a night traipsing Stockholm's bars drinking he knew
he merely paced the same ground – there was nothing to
carry him more than a sentence into a conversation started
with ‘I’, ending desultory at lip of half-empty glass...
On the trip to Möja they drank from cans carried
aboard in the grip of another heady celebration;
three hours breaching international boundaries,
three hours penetrating implacable Swedish reserve.
We do it by numbers they said – we all drink and sing.
Translations rang like litanies echoed needlessly
in the troubled wake of every word he said; when
does the sense of it become obvious to me, he asked –
must I wait until morning?
An unstated accusation hanging between them
left him stranded in an Archipelago of accidental
History; I think I am not Swedish enough to know
what I missed, he said.
©4 September 2007, I.D. Carswell