We keep meeting like this,
And feeling awkward
we don't really know one another,
thoough our paths cross with such regularity.
I don't even have your name
and although it would be easy to find out
it feels too much like cheating.
You have, I know
some idea of me,
an image which stands in for familiarity,
a picture formed from glimpses and overheard conversation,
an idea of who I am and where I come from,
some idea perhaps, of what I represent,
as I have some such idea of you
we are both quite wrong.
I have fallen in love with my image of you
in fact, it has come close to an obsession
and you, as a direct and inevitable consequence,
have come to loathe your image of me.
I should never have tried to speak to you, its true
should never have opened my mouth,
It was against the rules, and I knew it.
I acted wilfully, in spite of every solemn binding prohibition.
I placed myself above all such rules
and, in consequence,
I am punished
made to suffer
out of all proportion to the crime.
I see only contempt in your dark eyes
where once there was, at least, curiosity.
curling your lip
where once I thought I detected
the traces of a smile.
It is my own fault.
No words were ever to have been spoken
only a delicate
bridged only by the meeting of eyes
and a shared recognition
'I know you, and yet I do not know you.'
an acknowledgement not acted upon.
I can take nothing back
no matter how much I might want to.
In my youth, too timid to speak
I could only stare in silence and thought
that, by speaking, I could make everything right,
could win my every desire, if only I found the courage to act.
Now, old and bold enough to open my mouth,
I wish only that I had the wisdom to stay silent.
When will I learn to look, and look only
with no covetousness, with no sick desire
to sit in silence
side by side with beauty
and make no effort to take it up in my arms
to be content with just that silence, the meeting of eyes
and nothing more.
I don't reccognise myself
in the sneer
which contorts your lips
though I know what I did to provoke it
and I cannot blame you for it, no, not at all.
And if I feel wronged, I know it is all my own doing.
I grow desperate to reverse your opinion of me
to prove myself worthy of your friendship
god help me, even your admiration
dare I say love?
to be worthy of your love and devotion
and the more I try
your opinion of me is confirmed.
I panic, my palms sweat, I garble my words
my body language betrays me.
It is hopeless.
My own self is completely eclipsed by your image of me
I'm suffocating beneath it
I can't escape.
I want to to grab you, shake you by the shoulders
I AM A GOOD MAN!
I do not deserve your contempt
I am a gentle man, a poet even
a man of refinement
the posesser of ‘a certain sensibilty'
but with a heart as pure as any childs.
O! don't look at me like that, it hurts
o how it hurts!
And my soul is torn
between acting and not acting, and I end by just staring
with crazed eyes that speak of desperation,
of furtiveness and mania
the sort of man any woman would cross the street to avoid
let alone one as beuatiful as you.
My need is visceral
palpable, it surrounds me
an aurua, making women uneasy.
They spot me from a distance and make pretend calls on mobile phones
examine nail polish
hail casual aquatinces from across the street with an air of evident relief.
O, how I wish I were tall and strong and handsome.
The sort of man who could meet a girls eye and smile broadly
just because he felt like it
and know, full well
that any girl would be flattered by such a smile, broad and uncomplicated.
My own smile comes tentatively, doesn't believe in itself, is lopsided and downright shifty.
I know, I can feel it creep disreputably across my face.
Girls dont want whatever tawdry treasure I harbour in my soul,
do not want to have to hear the febrile, pruient verse my heart gives birth to
Just a man
am none of these things.
O! to be tall and strong and handsome
to be the sort of strong jawed man
for whom smiles and frowns come naturally and unbidden
for whom nothing is premeditated.
To be without this inescapable awareness of everything the body does
of every thought and impulse which flashes through the mind
to be so blashphemously AWARE
so constrictingly conscious.
I don't want it!
I dont want it!
O let me be animal, let me be alive and desired.
God help me
I want only to be loved
and if I cannot be loved
let me at least be ignored.