April 05, 2006

Calling Erato

No more putting it off. I'm cold and hungry
and my voice will sound like porridge, lumps and all.
Still, you deserve some expression of how I am,
a notebook scribble to find when you are bored.

Back then, you were closer than my retinas,
the dark of my eyelids.
I would go to bed kissing you and wake up alone.
Oh! morning kisses half awake, nuzzling into dryness!

Of course, you're the sort who knows but doesn't mention.
You're the sort who closer to me than myself is just there.
Capricious spirit, you deserved every moment I gave you –
every drop of attention, every tear.

Do you remember being by the lake that time,
when lateness and love were pressing on my mind?
To you I was alone, though our friends were there.
You threw your dusky blanket into the air.

You whispered uneven songs into my ear.
I wore your big wooly jumper, bobbled with stars,
breathing moonlight as if it were just a gas.
I realised then that you never loved me,

and that I loved another of my friends.
My cold feet kissed the grass. And when you left,
I wrote it all out in a stretch of dry coherence.
My best work yet. It's not for you. I breathe.

This anniversary is hard. It's the little details:
like finding your words there in my handwriting,
or your crumpled jumper in the corner of the evening.
I don't want to ask for emotional favours,

but we should meet again, soon. Coffee is fine.
I'll wait at dusk in the garden. Take your time.


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  1. This is really good, Joe.

    05 Apr 2006, 17:04

  2. bare, and dipped in melancholy but not self-indulgently so. an honest voice, even when you use unusual phrases like 'capricious spirit' (NICE!). i like this a lot without really being able to express precisely why (what's new…) hope you're well x

    05 Apr 2006, 22:31

  3. fan-bloody-tastic

    06 Apr 2006, 13:59

  4. Thanks very much people!

    I'm real happy with this right now, though I'm likely to make a few changes based on Hannah's suggestions (she gave me a printed copy covered in red pen, bless her heart;)

    Erato was the muse of lyrics and love poetry, btw. Isn't Wikipedia great?

    06 Apr 2006, 14:46

  5. Not keen on "closer than my retinas" or "capricious spirit" (sorry Sho)
    Not certain about "as if it were just a gas" – perhaps remove the "just" – like the idea, but the phrasing's not quite right.

    "I realised then that you never loved me / and that I loved another of my friends" Hmm…. not sure about this. verging on cliche. especially don't like the word "friends" there. sounds uncomfortable.

    In general though it's really really good.

    07 Apr 2006, 20:29

  6. katy

    joe, i read this and thought just that its really nice. Simple and like a classic poem already, u r very talented, esp when u put aside all the adolescent emo crap n find time just to write, the way u see the world is heart-warming and transcendent.

    08 Apr 2006, 19:57

  7. Joe

    Thanks Katy :D:D but you can't be saying that emo is crap, surely ;P

    And thanks for the notes Alex. I attempted to use a somewhat informal tone, but as you point out, that resulted in a bit of awkward phrasing. It will be redrafted.

    10 Apr 2006, 15:21


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