Saturday 25 April 2020

The Fortunate

I still wait for you, baby girl.  Amid the shining lights of a night-time city.  Arcs and triumphs and towers.  I wait with lipstick.  With pen, and sometimes cigarettes.  But I don’t ignite them.  I just like to hold them and remember.  I walked away from that inferno, at last.  I don't let those wraiths inside me anymore.  Are you proud of me?  I’d rather savour the memory of our last kiss.  A long time ago now, but I can still recall the feel of it.  If I imagine hard enough.  Deep and sweet and soft, like home.  Inhaling wraiths was just a slow suicide.  Vice of a girl who perished as her love perished.  Shadow of a boy who grieved as only writers can grieve.  Alone, indulgent, delirious.
   I shall not breathe smoke any longer.  I will not burn the world.
   Stories are real, and I lost you that night.  I've spent what feels like several lifetimes trying to find you.  Devotion, and resurrection.  Hoping day might win the night, and dawn consume the dark.  All those things into position, I prayed.  All those things we'd one day swallow whole.  I cannot bear to lose you this time, to those worlds beneath the world.
   I'll shatter those cycles of violence, finally.  Even if it means a life lived at such distance.  Your bright, smiling eyes can turn agonies into treasures.  I know you understand because the ones you love do the same for you.
   My name is still the way you see.  With hope, and playful kindness.
   I'm so glad you're surrounded by good people.  I'm not a fool, my darling.  Except for love.  I know I'll never kiss your lips again.  Not in the old ways, and that's ok.  You belong with others now.  They've earned their places at your side, and their love is true as mine.  Though our kisses are only ever imaginary now, they still mean everything to me.  The fact that you even care.  The way you can almost remember me.  It’s breath-taking.  They say fortune favours the brave, don't they?  So let me be brave then.  Not to sadden you, or to rob you of your cheer. Just to remind you what you have brought to my life.  You are so cherished, and I am still devoted.  A winter king walking endlessly through snow and evensong.  A winter prince imagining eternities upon the ice. 
   Romance and rose gardens.
   That's who I am.
   But if it hurts too much then please imagine me in some dimly-lit cafe hidden away in the back streets of Paris.  A shy, tired thing, but still willing.  Still waiting for a friend to join her at the table.  We were going to run away together, baby girl.  Once upon a time.  And we did, in the end.  Didn't we?  In the eleventh hour I found you, or you found me.  And we ran.  We've been running for seven years now.  A dream, like the tree.  They have been the hardest and most wonderful years of my life.  Thank you, sweet one.  Thank you for caring enough to come away with me.  This is joy, not sadness.  Please don't be scared right now.  I'm still here with you in this night-time city.  I carry your heart, my famous warrior.  I carry it in my heart.  My truth and my life and my work.  As one who was once an angel, I'm honoured to have known your kiss.  I’m so proud of you, and all your loved ones.  And I hope I'm still your vintage, in some soft and secret way.  Ta Dame de la Vigne.

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