We were looking at mirrors and wallpaper
the 50 most important people in literature lay on the floor
under the sprays of plum blossom and beside the sofa
The cracks were inside me
drifts of sky where the gold powder seeped out —
gold, and other kinds of powder
The earth was cracked where the water had receded
With no rainfall for months, people were on the move
Dragons, temples, clouds… enjoy a zen moment with a Chinese gem
the copywriter invited us
The walls grow stronger
and we need them to be stronger, too,
because the pressure builds
builds relentlessly
from without

I heard you were fucking a friend of mine
People loved your ornate fictions
the luxuriant details and striking images
like the embroidered figures on Montgolfier balloons
Your dazzling invention
Your ludic sensibility
Your hip style
Your strong walls…

I went back to the songs of my youth
Want to can’t forget you blues
After a cold winter the plants were just beginning to green up
like an oxidisation of copper
I felt this time spring would build strong walls
we could keep ourselves in
and there would be nothing like Hiroshima or autumn
nothing terrible or true
nothing which did not respect
the great barriers we had built to love

The launch party seemed to go on and on
It was full of open quotes cool closed quotes people
We listened to their narcotic conversation
The forty-eight-year-old former enfant terrible
the titanic ego of the man of the hour
I saw the ruffs and celestial blue silks of Louis Seize
and the words crawling out of people’s mouths
like those intent translucent insects
which look so fastidious as they eat their husbands
or their wives
or children
The ocean foamed on the edge of your eyes
and the only thing that could kill us kept us alive
feeding us doomed waves as the gulls go crying
and the rain is scented with salt
and the cold is really cold

You were bowed over a book on interior design
kneeling on the floor
a halo of lamplight on the wall
In the end we’d gone for the sumptuous austerity
of Manchu, at £33.00 a roll
Later you were crying
in a session that seemed to have become de rigeur
The cracks were still inside you
So much for plum blossom