Just One Night

From Afrika Burn 2010

When I get just one night with you (cocooned within the darkness, beneath the fierce night sky, a cold wind on our backs and shared warmth beneath our clothing), I feel cheated.

I have been given every freedom required for me to live visciously, passionately and spontaneously, but I have no freedom with you.

I have no freedom to tell you things that I want to say. I have no right to your ear, your conversations or your empathy. I have no right to whispered truths. Yet I heard your “wow”, brief sighs of respect, and now I want to talk; obliquely, but cautiously free, about it all.

I want to tell you that your touch, just beneath the shadow of my face, made me feel like I was the only person in the world. I want to tell you that you spoke to me; you, reflected in your silence, in your smile.

I want to tell you that I would welcome your words and your ideas; I want to hear about your life. I want to take back my shallow utterances, break down the walls of laughter and glee. I want to talk about the real and dirty and trivial and mindless and resolute. I want to laugh with you, and poke holes in our serious conversation.

You see, with each new moment, each brush of your breath on my lips, we buried ourselves into each other’s flesh. And now I want to know that we are nothing; not be told that we are nothing.

I listened with my heart to all the reasons, and felt my freedom forsake me. In the end all I said was “I’ll be your friend”; but in the end, I know that I will be just another thought, a brief memory.

You see, after just one night, there lies an abyss at my feet. The constrast is never as stark as when you experienced something, and find yourself with nothing. And I can say “no regrets” but never do I mean it less than after those hours that you spend with someone. A devotion to the other person, as you will never devote yourself to them again. With hours finite, you live just for the first kiss, the tingling in your stomach. As your time together waits upon its death bed, the moment you must walk away looms inside your mind. With its death, so dies a million philosophies never voiced, a million moments never shared, a million arguments never fought; despite how different we are, how wrong we may be.

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The real self…

…is difficult to distinguish from all the rest.

So many of the people I know are trying to be something better; a god-like creature which morphs from human to miracle. They believe it of themselves and talk as if they have already become that. It’s as if we have entered into a struggle between being known to some and being known to many; you want to be different and you want to be seen to be different. 

What comes from the mouths of these half-gods are half-truths. Because half-truths are prophesised by people who are half-way to being perfect, but want so desperately to be so much more. And if they can’t be perfect, then they’ll try their maddest to be better than you. There is no harm in being the best, as long as you recognise that there will always be better.

So, I am constantly found inferior, based on whatever conclusions they draw upon meeting me. Me, I find them tedious, because I see right through their definitions. Whatever words they use are never fully representative of what it means to be an imperfect creature. You can never be something all the way and all the time.

I prefer the man who tells me that he would never buy his own artwork. It’s not that he believes that his work is not worth something, but it will never hold the same worth to every person. He knows of its flaws and its indelicate undertones. He had hidden them beneath the indecent colours on the surface. He knows that if you shout your way through life, people will be forced to listen to you.

You can tell people what you want them to know, but they will only assign value to what they already value. People will only recognise those things in you that they have already experienced in themselves. It is only if you met a person who had been to all places, seen all things and knew all the secrets of the world, then you would find someone who might identify you as the person whom you really are. Your real self is confined to the jail cell of human thought. Yours is the only mind you will recognise.

I have known many liars and I see lies in each of you. People are not that much different to one another. There are only a handful of people who will be deemed truly great and who will distinguish themselves from the rest. So what makes you believe that you are one of them?

The truth will set you free. You will never be the master of everything, you will never be everything to one person and you will never be seen in the way you see yourself. So best stop pretending.

Self-expression in bathrooms

I love graffiti and wall poetry and the intentional defacement of property. Blogging is another form of defacement. I deface you as you read this.

Bathroom poetry from Champs Action Bar, Grahamstown

My kiss is bitter

poison drips

from my fingertips

don’t look…

my eyes burn

and my body is covered

with the scars

of a thousand accidental glances

There is nothing greater

than love without honesty

because only then

can you be whoever you want

 

 

“look at the stars”

You told me.

And I looked…

but my mind

was on the pressure

of your hand in mine.

More beautiful than any other flame

a million miles away

and un-touchable

I didn’t know

that you could be so distant

So now,

When you tell me

to look at the stars,

I look

instead

at you

looking

at the stars

and not at me.

 

I want to add my own poetry to someone’s bathroom, one day.