Aphorisms VII

On a Certain Experience in Relation to Sex – In response to a talk by Leila Slimani, I think of someone I love browsing on tinder, or not even that, but of spontaneously, magically, having found someone to bring home and fuck. And this causes a pang of something in me. But where does this pang happen? And in relation to what? Is it a spur to action, to step through into my ideal space to avoid missing out, or to assert control? Or is it the same as the anxiety dreams I have sometimes, that in some manner everything would fall apart, that I actually have no power over them, all my power, our relationship, has been undermined or not existed quite how I thought?

What, after all, could I do? For it must be an issue of confidence here, of self-worth. I fear having no recourse to a response, no power to respond to such a situation. Insofar as it is not just a kind of pang of sadness, or of lost hope, of ‘I thought you cared, but now it seems you don’t, or at least not in the way I hoped, to enchant everything about you sexually, morally, like a kind of drug’, it is also this self-relation, that I do not even see the potential to action in response, and rather just experience it, curl up like the proverbial stamped on worm.

But of course, if someone were to perform this act, in reality, what is to say we would not be able to respond, to say ‘I value myself more than this experience, I demand of you something (submission?), a tribute, a change in you, or I will simply walk away, believing I can achieve great things again. In this way it becomes clear that the whole thing about these experiences is that they are tied up with power and power relations, which is another way of saying relations of self-image. Because power is not inherent but relational. I would not care in this case if I did not see myself as essentially powerless, though unconsciously. The whole situation would not occur without neurotic and twisted power relations already being present. All of which would indicate that people don’t get sexually jealous unless they are insecure in some basic way, or in an insecure situation.

But is this any different from betrayal, from paranoia tout court? I can imagine similar pangs happening if I knew I was missing out or hadn’t been invited to some event, though without the extra sexual fizz and burn. Then, maybe that extra fizz is just sex itself, and that is all that there is particular to an experience of sexual jealousy. Thought invests so much in sexual relationships, that they become monolithic and hard to parse.

As Leila Slimani says, I think that having secrets is important, and if not vital then helpful in all things. We must fight the urge to know all, to totalise the relationship, to totalise anything, really. We know that the total is the real lie, the real wasteland. We sense this because knowing everything can bring the moment of banal clarity, and that clarity wipes away all sexiness, all suspense, or it controls and prescribes til that controlling and prescribing becomes everything. We all agree that we shouldn’t know everything about our partners, our friends, because we agree not to know a prescribed set of things about them every day, their breakfast, their toilet routine, their every thought. We just need to accept more secrets, not worry about finding out. Why act as if Love is an investigation, when it’s a lot closer to gambling? In gambling, we know we lose sometimes, that’s part of the charm. But then that also brings its own problems.

Provocatively put you might say sexual jealousy is not something that people in general have, but rather certain societies have.

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Two Bus Poems

I

Every day bar some
the bus comes sometime, stops.
A law as certain, now
as the coming of night
of day, of suns, novas.
And people wobble on it.

I sit on the top floor
it feels safer up here
and I think of your face
whom I meet at the stop
on the odd occasion.
I think of the bus crash

where the corner taken
slightly too fast ended
In an event survived
by two of us alone.
The tragic accident
With one happier dream;

as we stare for months from
plaster casts at open
eyes across the room – heads
in a cartoon-like wrap –
your eyes like oil vents loosed
and set fire in the night

And that oil drains downward
to soak our sweat drenched casts
our two hospital beds
in the desert, they melt
and we walk slow to meet
and this under dark rain

burning rain – we are one
we were only standing
sparsely chatting back then
now we melt into
puddles of each other – and
the dark oil rolls onwards.

II

Your fingers tap cleanly
on the deep red plastic
suitcase – where will it end!?
I would say hi, open
the suitcase of futures
allow random packings

to array themselves – smile
you smile as I walk by
the bus’s lit windows.
It had to be raining.
Now, not only can I
not skateboard but dwell, too

on your face, this soft chance
which for once makes the sharp
butterfly wings softer –
an anxiety lost
and gained this idea
of our nights together

in the Sevillan shade
sharing an orange – peel
of our clothes scattered on
the warm tiled courtyard floor
as I whisper in your
deepest ear – what fragrance

The suitcase slipped out
of your grasp – rolled and I
caught it, its dimpled shell
shining under bus lights
this cavern of hard flesh –
but what am I saying.

V.51

Evenings I stare into light
and wonder why I do not sleep.
I see the wonderful smoothness
of her sat on a windowsill

The cat which is next to her is
not quite with it. She cradles her
phone like I want to be cradled
she sits and smiles the internet

loves a good smile, and a beauty
is brought which justifies all that,
all the machinery of phones.
As if I could step through the stream

and into the darkened room, run
my fingers across her tattoos
Examine her eyes for weakness.
I imagine it would not be

there. The red new leaves of the oak
hatch from a wooden cocoon, where
ancient flooded mines make a home
for birds. We sit on the lithe bench

near rotten memorial blooms
and your shoulders are bright and smooth.
The real woman and imagined
are feathers of the same warm ghost

V.27

I would save the world if I could.
I would absolve each and every
facet of the human, take up
arms against a sea of irate

objects that natter on and on
about accidents and essence
with a silence. And I often
forget that light switches are just

incredible gifts as the land
grows fatter and the landlords. Be
ready to assume the mantle
of lord protector, and reform.

Take a selection of books out
and just see how many people
are ready to buy into you
and your taste. It is difficult

to accept we are each so oddly
spaced that our rhythms barely sync.
In a basic sense, but then all
smiles are the same and bring the same

joy. I watch your face luminesce
as you look down and flick pages
incessantly with your thumb. Then
collapse into myself and you

V.25

What poems are are opinions
dressed up ready to go out. Yet
I fall in love with the woman
that speaks. But not to me. A muse

who has a muse already. yet
a poem shouldn’t get it’s joy
from its content, only from form!
And when the content makes no sense

this is true. I open youtube
to watch the faber poets speak.
One with a brown jumper, a rough
brown jumper with relief lining.

I imagine speaking with her.
She brushes me off, rightfully.
As surface bounces off surface.
It’s surfaces all the way down.

I should give up the word, lay down
and let her voice walk over me,
perhaps the weight would stop my breath.
But if I give up, aren’t I wrong?

If I give up I assume that
my continuance would cause things.
I submit to continue, then
one day, silence falls out of me

V.19

“A witch is more lovely than thought in the mountain rain”

My language machine has rusted
elements and black mould. shut up
the screen and see no more toxic
dosage, ignore the buzzing flies

on various empty ice creams.
I can smell mildew soaking my
semantic pillows. I hear her
pen scratching for miles of heathland.

I pull the ripcord over and
over but nothing’s happening
then everything suddenly stops.
I’m too late and no longer care

for the strange way i seem to friends.
Many hundreds of pupate words
have burst from my fingers in her
gaze and honour upon my throat.

The rain which appears throughout life
and reappears like a candle
flutters, appears and she is there
standing with her fellow witches

in a graveyard. I love her style
of fighting. She stands there and wins
against the wind, is motionless.
her presence maketh my thoughts die

Nuptial Flight

We talked for a while and then
I breathed you in, by accident
and like an insect you got lodged
in my throat – I had to swallow
repeatedly to even take stock
of the situation – how your oil
black hair was limp in the heat
and its one colour rainbow sheen
of sun coated me with a sweat.
I digested your little carapace
and now I twitch like a dry
and dying wasp in the porch…
Frankly, my dear, I would most love
to sting you but I am waxy –
look what you’ve brought us to
with your callow disregard
of how you fill the air, and land
in droves on my shirt – cracked
and uneven paving stones are no
solace – get off me, get off, get off.