I’m neither a prophet or a priest

 

I’m neither a prophet or a priest –
all empires burn in a final decadence.
It is slowly becoming a summer
of meandering queues and lines, and this
strange sense of summer and time standing still:
in most of us the will to live still burns
brightly – we champ at the bit of freedom.
I remember once there was conversation,
brightness and wit, now faded, a dimming
of the candle light. I want to create
a disreputable middle-age – after
all you’re never too old are you? Do we
have to in any instance remember
our youth? It was spring and early summer
as if all of us were waiting for the
decade to start; the clock was ticking; the
weather was getting warmer; and our lives
were paused as a still of a frame
of a film. These are the days of burning
desire; unacted upon desire,
waiting to burn as the clock ticks slowly:
I just want the ecstasy and beauty
of re-creation, fully embracing
this new madness – remember today that
you are alive. These are not uncertain
times, these are just days where we have to
respect the sanctity of life. I seem to
be developing new esoteric
obsessions: my sense of time bends around
a Cartesian Geometry. (It
couldn’t be helped, but he begins writing
down words found in the poetry of
C.P Cavafy: burned out; red lips;
sensuous limbs; deviant; pleasure;
eroticism; two yellow
vases. He, also, begins to listen
to the radio once more for the first
time in thirty years. It was the only
kind of media which offered some kind
of balance and levity.) Writing is
life, with a series of footnotes, I thought
I had gotten over my sense of
allegory years, decades ago: these
days have a sense that you just want to make
everything beautiful; in the end this
could leave everyone speechless. Music is
a balm for the soul; a record collection
can save you from yourself and will always
make you free. One of my bookmarks just got
knackered by a hard-back John Tommy Copper
Clarke – just like that. I sit here evenings
reading Rossetti’s formalism, wondering
what restricted him and held him back: why
was he so mannered and could not realise
his full desire? (More words from Cavafy:
good likeness; mattress; reverie; desires
and sensations; deep-hued chestnut eyes;
ideal lips; sensual pleasures; remain forever;
historians and poets; stupidities;
fresh aches; fragrance that lingers; memory
of his beauty; coffee and cognac;
surrenders; unbuttoned coat; his friend placed
flowers for him.) (You could say that even
within these months, slightly sour months, of
isolation he came to feel his whole
self once more.) The city, although windy,
was quiet: you could hear the city singing.

 

 

Nick Ingram
Montage: Claire Palmer

 

 


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