Loveable Drunk

I never expect you, yet
I am ever sure that soon
you will reach my door,
your smile, your eyes, your body talking,
communicating all that I have longed for and all
that I refuse to dwell upon.
It rushes in as I lay aside the simple “sorry” on your lips,
mouthed beneath the clamour
of celebrating heart, racing pulse.

You are here.
I don’t mind that you dined
on Dutch courage before you arrived.
We’re both of us breaking the rules,
you renaging on a vow made for life,
me evading thoughts of your wife.

You need another drink.
Still I don’t mind.
You are with me again,
shoulders shrugging your duties away,
Germanic eyes pale as ice, yet
like a welcoming sky on the day that Spring arrives,
your lopsided smile issuing a silent enquiry.

How could you doubt my constancy?

Reading my body’s response,
you display ivories I’ve been longing to see.

“I’ll get my coat,” I say.
Dipping into the living room,
I relate a hasty Dear John to a misbegotten distraction:
“He’s come for me.
You can finish your coffee and take
the back way out once I’ve gone.
It’s been fun. Sorry it’s so sudden, but
we’re done.”
I have no time for his tears. At this moment
he repels me.
It’s not my fault, I tell myself –
I always told them no-one
could ever
compete
with you.

It’s true I am cruel,
but I think only of you and now
you are here.

You you you.

Maybe when we say
our last goodbye
I’ll train to be kind to those
who don’t compare to you.

Meanwhile…

we drive to a village pub,
stepping into a hubbub
instantly hushed by the arrival
of two outsiders.
As conversation resumes
we choose a quiet corner of the murky room.
You get the drinks while I
shake off memories of the void;
pointless days stretching to months,
aping passion,
faking pleasure with insipid imitations of you,
playing the field without reason
in a game where I cheat, don’t care if I kill,
where nobody wins and no healing takes place,
failing to fill a space while I wait for the one man
who leaves me intact.

As you bend to place the drinks on the table,
that rebellious forelock of blonde hair
flops across your face. As always,
you shake your head to move it,
and as always, your effort fails.
A kitten wakes inside me, chases a tickly ball of wool,
nudging the overfilled bucket of adoration in my chest,
spilling it everywhere.
I love, love, love you.
Wherever I go, love keeps me company,
pumping through these veins,
blowing in the wind, catching in trees,
filling me, stroking my flesh, its tendrils
caressing me, embracing everything I see,
yet still your presence
overwhelms me.

By the time we leave you’ll be three sheets.
You’ll drive slowly, perhaps your tyres will clip the bank,
but I trust you to keep me alive, like in the days
before I knew of your duality;
All those times you practiced knife throwing skills
while I lay, limbs akimbo
trusting that the knife would miss my armpits and thighs,
I neither knew nor cared whether
it was luck or skill
that guided the knife.

You take my hand.
I burrow into your shoulder.
Sounds issue from our lips;
inconsequential things that describe
dinners, histories, bricks,
while our spirits hold their own conversation..

You, my beloved one, my breath, my home.
You love us both, and that’s fine by me.
I ask only for your happiness.
Any joy that might come my way is a bonus.
Were I in your shoes, I would find it hard to choose
between homemaker and adventuress.

The clock ticks, timing each moment.
Later I will memorise this;
clutch it close for when I am alone.

It’s time to go home.
We sit in your car, letting it idle while
we pretend it is easy to say goodnight.
After a while you turn the key,
leaving silence. At this stage,
secrets trail silver streaks in the wake
of each word we speak,
me and my supreme, loveable drunk,
so we share light kisses, lips barely brushing,
sticking to the limits we set,
sitting on separate sides of the clutch.

Written for Paul Sunstone over at the café philos, in response to his brand-spanking-new

->->->-> poetry prompt <-<-<-<-

This was the day that I was finally going to catch up with the blogs, see how my friends are doing. But I got an email from Paul. I don’t know how to say no to him, so my time has been spent writing, and you all know how I hate to write. The poem doesn’t fulfil all the requirements, but the moving finger writes, and having writ, it makes an obscene gesture and moves on.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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18 thoughts on “Loveable Drunk

  1. [yawh] What? What woke me? Oh. Yeah. The poem. The mushy, girly poem. The one with not a single image of tanks, heroic soldiers, brilliant generals, superb rifles. Nightmares! Ever since meeting Jane. Nothing but nightmares! [/yawn]

    Only have time for a too quick first read. Back ASAP for some lingering, savoring, perving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s just jealous that the poem isn’t about him 🙂

      Paul is outrageous, and the more outrageous he is, the more I love him. It’s a good thing he lives on the other side of the planet or we could really mess each other’s lives up 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Hah! He’s nothing special. I concede that he’s delightfully, delectably, deliciously, disgraceful, a captivating conqueror, an ensnaring, daring darling, an adorable, adept Adonis, but other than that… 🙂

          Like

  2. I enjoyed the story/poem immensely, I was completely enthralled from start to finish. A superb piece of romantic poetry and the adoration expressed throughout is exquisite and warmed my heart

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Ivor. I’ve written many poems about him over the years. Each time I get a little closer to explaining my feelings, but I’m not there yet. The first time I ever saw him – before we even spoke – I knew that I would love him the rest of my life. When I went home that night, he still didn’t know of my existence, yet my heart literally ached for him until, two weeks later I went to a local dance. He walked in and made a beeline for me as if he knew I was waiting for him; as if we’d arranged to meet. He gave me a rueful smile, lifted his arms slightly, palms out, as if to say “Sorry I’m late”, and we danced. I didn’t know until weeks later that he was practically engaged to someone else.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your love story story touches my heart….. I met Carole on a blind date, and yes our instant connection and original burst of love at first sight was a lightening bolt unexplained !!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe when we say
    our last goodbye
    I’ll train to be kind to those
    who don’t compare to you.

    To me, those are tragic lines. Tragic in the Greek sense of pointing to some inherent and almost unchangeable human trait that is capable of bringing about our own downfall. I’ve done it myself, of course — I perform all the tragic numbers, usually more than once.

    At nineteen, I met a woman a couple years older than me. I only knew her a few months. But I became so taken with her that she became — not just my standard for women — but my standard for humans. I measured everyone according to how well they lived up to her standard. It was as foolish as measuring all trees by how they measured up to being oaks.

    From a poetic standpoint, the fascinating thing about those four lines is how they can be taken as explaining the narrator’s obsession — or at least near obsession — with the lovable drunk.

    As I see it, this was the chronology. First she fell in love with him, then she made him her standard for all men, then she became obsessed with him. That was the actual chronology of my obsession with the woman I met in my youth. I’m guessing it might be the same for her’s.

    The poem is so rich in vivid images and words that are not only striking but profoundly accurate and true to human nature. It’s like you’ve written a novel’s worth of insights a relatively few lines. I think this poem, more than most, reveals how sharp and true you see people, see human nature. So far as I know, when someone sees that well into us, they often are not themselves fully conscious of just how well they see. That is, so much of their understanding takes place on the subconscious level.

    “An obscene gesture”

    I live for such gestures, Jane. They so poignantly express genuine, deep appreciation of me for who I am as a person. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right: “First she fell in love with him, them she made him her standard for all men, then she became obsessed with him.”

      For a handful of reasons, I had an extreme aversion to sex. Of all the men I’ve ever been involved with, there was only one who never tried to push me into it. In my fantasy land, we’d get married one day and live together in joyful celibacy.

      He would suddenly breeze into my presence, only to disappear just as suddenly. When he wasn’t around I’d pick up with pretty much anyone – as is often the way with those who have been sexually abused – but I never fell in love with them. To do so would have been disloyal to him. I now see that my love/obsession was a safety net. He was my cocoon, protecting me from falling in love with men who required sex. The combination of love and sex can make a person very vulnerable. Sex alone only makes you feel vulnerable if you abandon yourself to it, and I have too little trust to do that. If I come close to letting go, I get angry.

      Naturally, this poem is autobiographical, written despite my awareness of the psychological factors. If I had understood them at the time, I doubt that I would have changed anything. The only times I felt utterly happy, with no shadow of any kind hanging over me; no uncertainty, no lack of self esteem, was when I was with him.

      But in all those seven years I never once paid him the ultimate compliment. I never once whispered in his ear those sweet words which he must have so longed to hear. Deep down I must have known that only one man would be worthy of those words; one who was a God amongst men, and therefore my equal. I saved the best for you, Paul. Lean close, these words are for you, and you alone, my magnificent chevalier.

      “Swivel on this.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have so, so much catching up to do! Like someone else said – I was enthralled 🙂

    “…At this stage,
    secrets trail silver streaks in the wake
    of each word we speak…”

    I melted – must be the mushy girl in me (hehe)!

    Liked by 1 person

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