23 June 2008

Futurelessness (rev)


Why can't I keep out of harm's way?
Am I so preoccupied, simultaneously
looking ahead, concurrently looking
behind; concerned to avoid what I'll
fail to heed, blundering into calamity?

I lurch with no confidence from moment
to moment in a blindness as complete as
if we'd never met. Colliding with figments
of your imagination or mine, recoiling from
dead-ends, dangling conversations, half-
truths and dyspeptic distortions.

And when we crash into inevitable walls I
am gutted by its abruptness. There is scant
time to plan avoidance, each clash is instant,
after our loud but brittle utterances you leave
in mnemonic silence and I burn to ashes.

The fire is ruthless, it devours egregiously,
consuming reason without respite, though
I cringe in its aftermath, shocked in a charred hell,
cursing my stupidity bodes no pyrrhic insight.

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.

And I think of the words we've used;
how we've talked without touching the
matter directly, or walking it to sleep,
not laying a hand on its heart, resolving
nothing other than knowing it hurt too
much to say more, or having said too
much afraid we’d be buried too deep.

And I fear the litanies, the trifling banter
which offended none until a fatal line was
uttered and the battle thus begun. And now
I think a thousand lines, fear to utter one.

Who are these strangers in our house?
Cavalier of feeling, lacking sensitivity, cartoons
of battered self-esteem circling vulturously.

When I equate your sapping pain the
sickness in my stomach quells my need
to eat or drink and bile derides a bitter
taste upon my tongue. I tremble in the
aftershock, ravaged numb with boiling
shame; my deed it was, I knew it not
for what it was and bear the blame.

I wear this millstone as a symbol of my
fate – a fate that weighs alone. That you
should feel the weight belies your quiet,
so deathly hushed it is without you home.

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.

Where is the person you once were?
Who is the one you have become? Can
I find you in between? I searched in
memories which span the years we knew
but rummaged in a closet bare. It is as if
you’d left with every vestige of yourself,
and though mementos and odds and ends
remain they are cold, inanimate.

I don't know who the new You is, I am
sorely afraid it isn't the same You I knew.
I don't know the new me either; I can't see,
I am blinded by futureless prospects
which appal and terrify me.

I know of your wont for contentment for
when you are not I am despondent and
spiritless; yet you need me to be happy
to mollify your joy, which to me is as much
affliction as frivolity. It is difficult to rise
above the effect you have and impossible
to deflect this curse of your decent geniality
and courteous respect, you are the civilised
soul; I, the angst-ridden ghoul.

Had we common joys to share and shared
them not to keep a pact we never made,
preserve a calm of artifice, I'd be a hand to
misery - but share we did and kept a peace
we'd never trade.

Low as I am and ready to sleep, I smile at
gentle snores I hear through the walls that
separate us now. They woke me at times,
I could touch to reassure you, if not myself,
that at the heart of the matter, the matter
was we were together. Now I'm not so sure.
Can we be together still, but need to be apart?

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.
© March 1984, I.D. Carswell

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