Where do you go
when there is no love for you anymore?
When love is over, ended,
and the hope of love is finished?
Where do you go
when you are not wanted?

Where do you go
when your body is not enough for you?
When the tears and the skin have run out,
and the mirrors no longer answer
the questions you put to them?
Where do you go
when there is no sleep in your flesh,
when your own thoughts reject you,
and you are not wanted?

Where do you go
when the will to move
begins to fail,
and the will to remain
is broken?
Where do you go
when the days come in like waves,
and the nights drive on like waves,
and you must either stay or leave:
where do you go
where do you turn
when there is nothing inside you
and destinations don’t need you,
and you are not wanted?

Mist and murmurs on the streets, and my memory mist
and in the mist. We had been dancing,
and when you pulled off your dress
and lay down I kissed your back and
tasted the salt on the nape of your neck and between
your shoulders and your breasts;
and we put on some music, and later it was autumn.

We have calmed down but in those first days
you flooded me and there was dazzle and ripple
whenever I moved and a mélange of reflections you
moved with me, or seemed to, and the seeming,
then, seemed everything; my bare feet, slow,
the sheets were like water and the floor
of my thoughts was like water too,
I rushed up into you
as a drowned field
rises into a downpour sky.

That went on for weeks — that stunning inundation
of lovers. I found the image after heavy rainfall,
and saw us in it, as I still do, standing
at the edge kissing, the valley half drowned,
fish swimming through the branches of submersed willows:
and I thought then, and felt it,
there was something of a frail apocalypse to this form of love,
how it swept away an entire world of us,
swallowed it or merely revealed it empty,
replaced it with this flooded surface of a meadow
something so still when our glance met and so
flowing when our bodies met
along that burnished seam where mirroring
the waters gave up wheeling gulls,
the gulls above our heads screaming
and the gulls beneath our feet
scattering silently into a silent sky…

Mist and murmurs on the streets, and the streets of murmurs
and of mist… In a circle of light beneath an anglepoise
a book lies open — is that the mermaid of Seferis? —
within a screen print. This is framed upon a wall
freshly painted eau-de-nil. It’s calm in that composed world,
flattened to strong yet subtle colours,
and with bold outlines possesses
the air of the classical. The music of allusion plays,
we switch off the light on that. Unzipped, in white,
she lifts the silk wings of her dress:
among fir trees, in a forest pool,
a heron radiates moonlight zeroes,
or lucid haloes of ripples, undulating the surface —
and our whole lit interior is far away
from the frozen rutted track as dusk comes on
shading the golden onion dome
of a provincial, whitewashed church in the Ukraine,
tractors and silage and plastic sacks
and a choking, coughing sound
as temperatures drop and the daylight
fades into the falling snow
and a car keeps failing to start.

We put on KRS-One, Black Cop and then
The Bridge is Over. In the mirror we had bought,
the one with the elaborate antique frame of cracking gilt
which, for some reason, I had convinced myself
was Venetian, you slipped off towards the bathroom
to piss the wine out while I
tethered my nerves to a cigarette, felt chilled,
and waved away the smoke with a languid hand.

And I wondered whether it was like this: as if
one of Odysseus’ discontented oarsmen had stopped rowing,
unplugged the wax from his ears,
and looked over to the bony atol and the silent figures there —
limbs and mouths moving —
but still heard nothing at all, and saw only
the captain, lashed to the mast, struggling in ecstacy,
staring at the island where the Sirens were singing.

Where do you go
when there is no place for you anymore?
When the rituals don’t fit you
and your friends drift away,
fall away, die away,
one by one
and you must continue
alone?
When the stores are all closed
and the streets are paved with stones,
and you have no one?
Where do you go
when there is nowhere left to go
and you are not wanted?

Later it was autumn. We opened another bottle of wine,
watched Nosferatu. I thought how I loved you.
How you make of me a sea journey.
How one of your kisses is a kind of hit —
so much so that once it worried me.
How I cannot fix a word of stars into the night sky
without referring to you, even though the light
in the end feels cool and impersonal —
which is strange, because with you
I feel lust and joy and a kind of feral bliss
which shakes me to my animal
and makes me cry,
and when I am not with you
I feel an anguish that is so unbearable
I cease and let another take up the weight —
someone I can never quite define,
someone who is either old and a good liar,
or utterly young, and simply a lie.

It was summer, and we lay in bed late at night.
The windows were open. I thought you were sleeping.
There was a sound from the street — the glassy rattle
and glint of a milk float and the draw on power.
I dozed off. I woke, put on my robe,
sat down, lit a cigarette, watched the smoke
form a spindly, erratic tower.
My bare foot was chopped off in reflection,
cropped in a corner of the mirror.
Perhaps I dozed again. I woke by the open window,
and I thought I heard the sound of someone passing.

acknowledgement | A version of Wanted first appeared in Masthead, issue 8. My thanks to the editor for supporting my work.

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