W.H. Auden wrote a long list of past lovers
then debated and deleted in his quest to define love.
I tried to emulate but ended up stabbing a beanbag
several times – a ritual designed to wipe out the past.
Auden’s attempt was more rigorous than mine, he reckoned
the plus and the minus of hope and desire, adding and subtracting
until he arrived at an answer that satisfied.
I chose a more visceral way; buried photos in the garden, burnt
tapes, scored flesh, shed tears and drew blood. Yes – it was a
Twice weekly I walked from Hampstead to Belsize Park to
sit on a brown velvet cushion – whilst my analyst smoked and her
cats took up residence on the chaise longue,
which I refused to lounge on.
There was clean washing draped on the radiator and the
smell of perfume in her bathroom. For a while it was comforting, but
the interpretations didn’t resonate and once I was disturbed by the
commotion of her parents squabbling,
or so I surmised – because I don’t understand Italian.
This sound of discord had a familiar echo and I fled with
my heart racing – because no one is wise and no one holds the truth
and in the end the knife and the bean bag thing did the trick just as well.