I wait outside. He will not tolerate
intruders. A smile is slashed
across his face in the window.
Each heart will stop beating.
There's terror in the simplest act
such as crossing an empty street.
Once I ran through fields and tasted
sun. Now when you speak
or look at me, I turn
to the distance inside my head
as if someone else were waiting there
in a window in another story.
Years pass in the little room
in the harbour town. The sea sparkles
but you no longer feel the power
beneath its colours. You never speak
to the sad girl across the hallway.
Towards evening, the hillside
turns black, the streets are emptied
and the sea grows still. Each morning
you search the traces of your dreams
for a story, but they are no more
than flat, unconnected pictures
made by a child's crayons.
Objects and figures take and lose
their shape, become other yet
remain the same. Space exists
independently of narrative. Centres
are multiplied, each autonomous.
Nothing is weighted. Our main resource
is flexibility, not believing in certainties,
being able to contend with change.
But there's a blankness to the eyes, a change
in our gait. The presence of the real
is only of the moment, to be caught
as it changes into something else.
Just outside the broken window
(where a spider hangs), waves
drag pebbles. From somewhere
in the night, there's a rich
throaty singing. The breathing
of the sleepers on the floor
makes me lonelier still.
I can hardly make out the face
next to mine, just a blade of light
in the eyes. Don't wake the others,
she whispers. Her lips taste
of wine and smoke and sea.
The small happy boy in the photo
is now the unstable man who
crosses the road to the station.
All the pieces of the early landscape
have been lost without powder
or smoke in the interstices
of a dream where we grow
unbroken. Your friend would
understand, wouldn't she? But not
the part that is dead and frozen
in a hotel room with a stranger
with little stars sewn into his eyes.
© Ian Seed