Read Poetry: № 16, by Dušan Gojkov

I remember

portobello road

where I first touched you

to draw your attention

to a beautiful façade

the passers-by

were running from the rain

the fruit-sellers

closing their stalls

I remember

the church portal

where we listened to

the warmth of silence

I remember

watching you sleep

with your lips puckered

and listening

to your deep breathing

I remember the sheet

over your hips

in a tender

outline

interesting

I can’t remember

what your eyebrows were like

I remember

the row of trees

which cut through the vineyard

the persistent wind

and the way we walked slowly

with your hand

in the pocket of my coat

Listen

this may sound corny

but before I met you

there was really something missing

I remember

your letters

blassblaufrauenschrift

which you left on the pillow every morning

while I was still asleep

I remember

how you waited patiently

for me to finish

looking at three paintings by monet

and remember

watching you dance

to music

all alone

and our long walks

in the streets around the covent garden

I remember us

in a train

tangled together, sleeping

as we travelled

or our little room

for rich tourists

above the café de la paix

too expensive but that’s what you wanted

the square

was teeming with people

I remember

the record that played

on and on

over and over again

(tom waits, closing time, I think)

I remember

holding your hand

when you were afraid

I remember

the restaurant with the name I’ve forgotten

but which I could

still find

with my eyes closed

and our silence

stretching for hours

to a bottle of wine

hell, that was an ugly silence

and this is the book

I bought that Saturday

when I waited for you to finish at the hairdresser’s

the streets were moist

with last night’s rain

or the street washers’ efforts

it was early morning

still a bit nippy

and we went

to have coffee together

but we didn’t have coffee

because we had to shout at each other a little first

so things felt awkward afterwards

I remember you

watering the flowers

singing to them quietly

so they would grow better

and how, cheeks flushed, after work,

you downed a tumbler of cognac

to which I objected

hey

have some respect

that’s good stuff

I remember

the spring in Greece

when you sobered me up

with olive oil and vinegar

disgusting

you followed the advice

of the women in our neighbourhood

that’s how they tortured

their husbands

then came the summer

and the two of us, sunburnt,

lay prostrate in our room

with a big wet towel

across our backs

and we whispered: listen

the heat is so strong that it buzzes

at night

we sat on the terrace

nuzzling the cold chenin blanc

that’s when we discovered it

I look at your profile

as you take your shoe off

to shake out the beach sand

and at your foot

tiny

my God, what a foot that was

I remember

how you fought with the waiter

when he brought me the wrong drink

not the one I’d ordered

how we made love

with the TV on

a romantic movie blaring

I teach you my tongue

by rolling poetry off it

I see you

sitting on the edge of the bath

while I am shaving

you are massaging in face cream

the hydrating make-up base

whatever

I see you collecting dry leaves around the garden

only the beautiful ones;

they still fall out

from books long left unopened

I remember

when you went to another room

to make secret phone calls

I pretended to read the paper

the financial reports

God forgive me, I was so…

I remember

your dog

our puppy, rather

who came up to the bed every morning

and burrowed between us

I remember

The first time you left

I looked out of the window

into an empty street

into the night

there was a poster for a cowboy movie

across the road

the radiators were cold

the boiler in the bathroom

hissed

and

your eyes

were there as soon as I closed mine

I remember

the smell of your clothes

forgotten in the cupboard

a large cardboard box

full of photos

God, what did I do with them?

Which one of my house moves

was the end of them?

I remember

quiet evenings

you painting

and me writing

or reading in the armchair

I remember

The flowers which kept arriving

each morning

suffusing the apartment

with their oppressive smell

perhaps I should have asked

who was sending them

perhaps

I remember the night sounds

your breathing

and the muffled song of the drunks

coming from below

I remember how,

when you were to go “somewhere”,

I hurried you along

so you wouldn’t be late

pretending to have no clue

and how you came back

from hospital alone

with blue

black

rings around your eyes

something needed saying

I know

As soon as I was away

you packed your suitcases

bags

toiletry bags

some of the things even spilled over

into the woven basket for the market

I remember

your silence in answer to my question

I remember

my silence in answer to your silence

I remember gazing through the window

and the sound of your key on the kitchen table

and the sound of the apartment door, opening

I remember

hitting you on the face

(All my life, my hand will follow

That trajectory)

and I remember you crying

well before impact

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About poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.
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