Tag Archives: unrequited love

The Cutting Garden

I discovered the garden one summer afternoon

Its high stone walls offered shade in the heat of the day.

Curving arches coaxed me in, along paths lined with violets, chamomile and fern.

Wallflowers, warm and velvet, stroked my legs,

Diverting my senses with colour and faded perfume.

Brazen lilies cat-called from the back row,

Towering over tulips,

Mouths deliciously parted in scandalised mock-horror.

Shafts of climbing sweet peas, tangled in withywind,

Reached out to grab my wrists as I tripped and almost fell,

The cobbled path less even than it seemed.

I sank to my knees then, assaulted

By a soft, ripe bed of shameless peonies.

Big, brazen blooms of open-faced beauty.

How I craved them, rubbing my face in their scent,

Tugging their petals and pulling

Generous handfuls to my lips, my mouth,

Breathing in their musk like a lover drowning.

I reached for the knife in my pocket, and hacked at their stems,

greedily scything, frenzied with lust for their passing beauty.

Gathering their heads in my pollen-stained arms

I ran back down that path,

Laughing at my floral indiscretion,

My torrid love affair with bloom.

Two Dozen Roses in a Rainstorm

The pregnant afternoon brings a sudden drop in temperature,

Pendulous clouds cross the hill above the creek;

A storm is coming.

Arizona’s season of changes, challenging my willpower,

Facing me down if I waver.

Maple leaves, burnt orange, and blood red,

Shiver in the face of the warm Pacific storm.

Throwing open the doors, I stand and listen to the thunder,

Fork lightning tracing the sky like a scar.

It has been a year since, desolate, unconfident, night-waking,

I watched, near heartbroken as you flirted,

Unselfconscious, with my heart.

The storm and my memory challenge me,

Like a song sung without love.

This year, I greet you like an old friend,

Let the fresh rain plash on my naked feet,

Rejoicing in the storm.

I hug you tight, feeling your frailty

Beneath your tale of two dozen pink roses,

And wish you well,

Now I am secure in this place.

No storm will wash me away.

The ten months-dry earth now is riddled with racing channels,

Slaking the sand’s thirst.

Sure-footed and calm I watch,

For I know the lie of the land.

Water in the landscape is home territory for me,

And the storm plays out like an old familiar tune.

The Tourist Information Centre on the Piazza Maggiore

The Tourist Information Officer

Greets her customers with a frown.

Service with a scowl,

Each tentative enquiry revengefully resolved

With carefully constructed misinformation.

Her T-shirt reads ‘Paris – City of Love’

But she is in Bologna.

Her face a picture of untravelled dismay,

Her forehead creased with care-worn frowns,

As yet undisclosed at Passport Control.

The highlight of her day

Is the pleasure she derives

From directing the innocent tourist

To an incorrect location.

Voluptuous desires

And her dreams of erotic Parisian adventures

Sated by a wrong turn,

A left instead of a right,

Via Zamboni

When she knows it’s quicker via

Via Belle Arti.

Her ramrod-stiff Romeo lies bedded

Between the covers of her Michelin Green guide;

Her Moulin Rouge hidden

Behind a barrier of red tape.

For the Tourist Information Officer

On the Piazza Maggiore,

Eiffel Tower apparel must suffice;

She cradles her dreams,

Crumpled like yesterday’s travel itinerary

As she heads for her home

On the Via Malcontenti.

Looking-Glass World

High on the upper walls of the crumbling house
Hangs a gilded hand-mirror
Its frame an intricate fretwork
Of knotted garlands; English roses.
Held in your selfish hands,
It reflects your image
Silvers the tarnish,
Affirms your being, in the sea-level landscape
A trinket to hold in your hands.

You weigh its worth, then place it, face-down
Or hang it tenderly on the hook,
Lovingly abandoned
Cold against bare plaster walls
Where it remains, silently reflecting
Your unassailable beauty
Till the next year’s spring brings you
Travelling North again,
Seeking out your looking-glass world.

Some kind of requiem

The first day of winter; the leaving of the year

And now, more than ever, I feel my mortality;

Life’s fragility.

My body aches, and my heart misses

The reassuring presence of you.

I am a half-person

And this, my half-life.

The day sets, edgy, with the promise of storms

Yet here, surrounded with white roses,

I acknowledge my loneliness

Fend off the night-time thoughts

The fear of you not-wanting.

I long to tell you the depth of my love,

But hesitate, hold back

For fear of chasing you away.

And I am so, so grateful for the tenuous chance

That brought us together;

For the giant of a man you have become

And for the knowledge that you hold me

In your heart.

So this is some kind of requiem

Memento Mori

For the girl so sad for so long.

Lasciatemi morire

I shed these tears now

Not for grief, nor loneliness,

But for gratitude, and wonder

At this late-found love.

Against the Winter Dark

Closing the curtains against the winter dark

Cool clink of ice in glass. A bitter slice of separation.

Cooler chilled consolation.

Kidding myself there’s no problem in hiding the missing-you

Deep within a heavy crystal comforter.

Possibly a little too much

Probably more than is good for me.

But it is here, and you are not

And tonight I need a friend.

The Spoils of War

My love lies, rotting, in the sodden earth.

There is nothing left to steal

Once love is taken away.

Remove my coin, my rings, my cloth of gold,

And leave me, naked,

Bleeding in the dust.

My heart run through,

My arteries bled dry.

I have no need for self-respect, nor pain

For all is lost;

I lie alone, again.