The pain of beholding beauty

August 20, 2016 § 1 Comment

I can not keep my appreciation of beauty to myself.

We went cycling by the canal yesterday. It was the most beautiful day of the year and I didn’t bring my camera. We saw green and gold, crystal clear reflections on the water as we rode, but I didn’t bring my camera. We passed all the house boats with their tiny windows and low ceilings, tanned boat masters sitting on their mattress thrones amongst their flower pots. River boats floating along at a leisurely pace as men played oddly-shaped guitars for women. Everyone was feisty, communicative and jovial. We reached a locked gate at one point, and there were two kind young men sitting by it smoking aromatic herbs – the sunshine gatekeepers, I called them affectionately. They showed us the way up and around to rejoin the canal, as we had reached a mooring zone.

The canal is like a subway for pedestrians and bikes – far away and below the city with its dirty bustle. To find our way back we had to request the services of a gentleman on his confident cycling route home which happened to be on our way that we could not find. Like a quest in a video game, we suddenly had to pick up the pace and follow this man across quiet, winding roads until we reached a group of cyclists who all seemed to be on a similar mission. He left us with a wave and a humble “you’re welcome” as he sped off, his part of our little journey successfully accomplished. We followed the rest of the herd until, before we knew it, the canal was on our right this time, and the sun was at a fabulous low point in the clear sky. But I didn’t bring my camera. We passed rows of trees and their doubles in the lightly windy water, and then they opened up to reveal millionaire houses overlooking the most peaceful and glorious part of London. Great stone habitats with columns and professional landscaping. White, throne-like benches. Maybe their kids had their own boat somewhere nearby, for whenever they may feel like toughing it out with the simpler classes. Weeping willows, white stone houses, hilly gardens, but I didn’t bring my camera!

Then I saw it. I saw a reflection under a bridge a reflection so immensely riveting I had to turn back and gaze at it. I had to get a picture even if it was with my crummy phone. A sliver of light had eased its way along the wall under the bridge and found itself refracted inside the water, creating a slightly off-kilter line. The sliver itself was perfectly reflected on the surface underneath, and its continuation was reflected opposite in a slowly moving golden reproduction of the water’s surface. Gleaming thin lasers in constant movement on the upper left side of this perfectly formed oblong golden X on a charcoal background… and I didn’t. Have. My. Fucking. Camera.

Here’s what I immortalised instead.



Dedicated to…

August 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Some experimentation with poetic meter. Not quite regular but staying within 8 or 10 syllables.

I lie again with you tonight
And rub my face into your palmlukalegs.JPG
There’s nothing better to find calm
Than weep and die inside your arms

My limbs are weak, my feet go numb
This living wreck I have become
Is due to life and all its woes
Torments I know have just begun.

You tell and tell me not to worry
How do you do it, you’re so calm
If around other men my mind revolves
You keep it off its guilty pathlukaatwindow.JPG

If a dilemma I need to resolve
Your words will always lead me home
It’s not such a big deal, you always say
Your lips make choices go away

Your eyes of deep, dark brownish hue
Are so immense and full and bright
They know me better even than you do
I could fall into them all night

Enough’s enough, my time is up
I have surrendered to your touch
This much at least I hope is true
That you love me like I love you

My introduction to men.

August 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was sixteen, he was eighteen. His name was William, and we met in my first year of Swiss high school. He was in his last – he’d skipped a year in primary school, he was such a smartie. Tall, curly, dark and very cute. Issued from a family so Catholic they lived in a parish, he was the absolute epitomy of the boy you’d unhesitatingly take to meet your mother. The perfect first boyfriend for an unusually prudish and delicate young girl.
But let me take us back to my humble seductive beginnings.
I was a prude all throughout my teenage years; not a puff of smoke, not a drop of alcohol, and seriously disturbed reactions to sex scenes in films. All that didn’t stop me from absolutely loving the boys, though. From Charles to Alfie, from Riccardo to Jeremy, my middle school years were wrought with teasing and stalking boys in the company of my friend Nika. All in good wholesome preteen fun.
“ALFREDO!!” I screamed out the kitchen window as Nika giggled behind me.
“ALF – oh, shit, he’s looked up!” and we crouched down in peals of laughter.
Alfie, clearly not amused, continued on his way to school. He had appeared early that day. Nika and I would get together half an hour before class and stake out my kitchen window, which gave us a sniper’s view over the road to our middle school. Through this portal of fun we would see the boys we were not-so-secretly coveting and harrass them from afar, warming up before our daring up-close interactions at recess breaks. They were both older than us, and both really smart. In fact, Alfie ended up skipping a grade to go straight to high school – and it wasn’t even the only grade he’d effortlessly evaded. Needless to say, we had good taste. It was deeply tragic when we entered our second year of middle school only to see everyone…but him. I loved Alfie’s orange T-shirt and blue backpack. We could spot Charles’s fair head of long, long hair and distinguished glasses from a mile away. We could also hear his squeaky shoes as he approached with long, bounding steps straight into our usual ambush at the corner of the furniture store that was on the intersection between my house and his.
“Charles! Fancy seeing you here!” we giggled as we joined him on our way back to class after lunch break.
“No way, not again,” he said, probably feeling very embarrassed at first, but he got quickly used to it. We were lucky no one called a restraining order on us.
“What do you think of God and the belief therein?” I engaged immediately in pseudo-serious conversation, prodding at his intellectual mind. He’d give in eventually, “putting out” for us in the form of entertaining debates that would last deep into the hours of the evening when we’d continue working on our victims through instant messenger.
Nothing like Alfie.
What do you think of us?, we wrote, anxiously waiting for the reply.
You’re, uh, nice? but I don’t know what you want me to say, was the perplexed reply of our quiet, scientific friend Alf. He was cold and unresponsive, and so delightfully intriguing and fun to torment. He couldn’t take the harrassment and so got more of it; we liked to sit outside his apartment building in wait when he tried to avoid us. We even learned his brand new unpredictable timetable when he cheated us out of a second shared year of middle school. One day he had a real go at us for all our unwarranted affections. It only made us follow him more surreptitiously so he wouldn’t notice as much. At least he knew he wasn’t alone in his victimhood, although. His classmate Charles coped with the attention more enthusiastically, and we ended up exchanging many words in our online chats, so many, in fact, that he warmly promised to write psychological tracts about me one day. Oh Charles, my precocious, wise, writer friend. I was thrilled.
These two years of middle school were my first taste of male attention, male attraction. There was hardly any sexuality to it – perhaps a little with Alfie. In fact, they represented both ends of the spectrum.

Alfie was my shy, preteen introduction to lust. It was in the warm feeling I’d get whenever I saw his face appear unexpectedly round the corner or from behind a door. He demonstrated to me and Nika the power of indifference and the obsession it cultivates.

Charles was my introduction to male companionship and the pulsion I still have to this day to spill my guts out to a smart man who will listen.

I kicked the stalking habit after middle school. Men took care of that when I grew up and started working in pubs.


PS: all names have been changed.

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