Tuesday, June 26, 2007

True Love Travels

What is love but a push in the wrong direction? We took a left turn, a right turn - whichever it was that sent us in the wrong direction.

And I was never impressed by horses. As I stood with you, once, on the laneside while they passed - my disdain, you thought, reserved for the riders. What was I doing there, anyway? Why was I out in the woods? The open air, the countryside, the animals - a similar stink.

We had, next to the fireside, a gathering of sorts, a sing-song as they told us, insisted that it was - we should all join in. My fixed grin, for hours, staring into the fire, praying it would end. Sea shanties, Irish ballads, English lullabies, Celtic madrigals, sung in fine and clear rural working-class voices by people who knew nothing of the working-class. I mean, nothing – not even of its myths. And the rural, the sheer nausea of it all, the lost maidens, the death motifs, black crows and stuff, birds in flight, ghosts - always with the ghosts. Drifting out over the fields, carried for miles.

We followed the flow of the river, climbed fences, walked bogs, fell in holes. It was, as you insisted, some kind of adventure. Romantic. Upstream, down dale, against the current, the fish, whatever. A meander, naturally. The river took us nowhere. We ended, for all the difference it made, where we had started. Across the water, the same bank, the trees, the lines of the bushes, the odd cow, sheep. Your trouble, you said - as you strode quickly away, the way we had come - is that you don’t like anything.

Girls on blankets, by the edge of the woods, just inside. On towels. By the bracken, next to the bluebells, the snowdrops. They lie there, these girls, gazing up through the tree tops, giggling at cloud shapes, waiting to be fucked. Made love to. Oh, if only, as your elbows press into sharp stones, the dents in your knees, the flies and the heat. You’re a sweater, after all. What does she expect?

Fly corpses in the kitchen. Dogs running around in the courtyard - noisy bastards, howling. Warm milk for breakfast, a push to at least appreciate the balance, the essential connecting link between the contents of the fridge and those things shuffling about outside. From this to that, it’s all part of some wonder. Except, of course, it isn’t. She mentions, again, your incompatibility, the likelihood of these tiny conflicts affecting your future happiness. Which is why you eventually point to the sky and remark, profoundly, on the beauty of the sunset. Right, she says.

What girls on blankets?

These girls are kneeling on blankets, caressed, lightly, by their short summer dresses. Bare legs, those tan-tie leg sandal things, small tattoos. They are, obviously, the very best thing about the summer. Lying next to them their bikes, hinting at summer thighs, the wind, their hair, all that. Blackberries tumbling out of baskets, half-finished daisy chains, small corked jugs of mead. Mead?

Before the night was through, the midges descending, de-swarming as the old farm hand said, as he passed and laughed, on his way to the pub. The light of the night shortening, the howls diminishing, a big long fucking fade into the blackness and the cold. Into roaring fires and tepid water, a night cap of some old shit, flavoured with honey, milkish and vile. Cold bed. Rattles and creaks.

She said, first thing in the morning: listen to the clops, the horses. Don’t you just love the horses?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep on fighting with words as armour and swords.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing, as always. The poignancy of words as the soft flanks of horses. The hardness of belly words. The snorting hoof kicks on walls. Fire and anger versus the soft rise and fall of a foal suckling. It's all in the hay of your prose.

7:52 PM  

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