Silence down a Phone

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

We’ve kicked the cousins and their entourages out of the house at last, so it finally feels like we’ve had Christmas. It lasts a long time in my family. Now for New Year’s.

At this time of year, for the brief period of time when I’m back in England, I sometimes get in touch with old friends. This year, I’ve put my mobile somewhere stupid, so I’ve not spoken to anyone except those who’ve rung the home phone. And Nick (my twin) has dealt with calls from local, mutual friends. And actually, strangely, it’s a bit of a relief to be away from everyone, and just with the family. I’ve always been close to my cousins, and we’ve always got stuff to talk about… and we never seem to have awkward silences, as we can just move on and talk to the next one.

This poem was written over the summer, when I was rushing around trying to meet people. It also fermented during the “let’s get drunk and write poetry” experiment. Looked back on it today, and decided it was reasonable, so I’ll post it up.

Silence Down a Phone

We haven’t spoke in months.
Sure, Facebook, once or twice.
Does that count? Still, it’s
your voice, this time. Different.

I planned jokes, in fact.
Silly things to say, but
I dropped them, not knowing if
you’d changed, or worse,

stayed the same. Strangely,
we picked up as though nothing –
but with extra silences.
As if our natural conversation

always had those gaps, between.
So I quickly turned the call
to a purpose. Let’s all meet up
I said, catch up, I said.

Yeah. Good idea. What’ve –
what’ve you been doing,
these last few months.
Oh, you know. When I don’t,

really. That wasn’t the question.
The question was, are we…?
Are you? And more, am I?
Because I don’t know.

But neither do you. And maybe,
if we meet, we’ll know. But
we have, you know. Changed.
But let’s regress for a day.

The Moment

Argh, blog, must I update you while I have so much work to do with exams and reports and planning the next month and a half of my life? Not to mention organising an Intercambio nights, some flights, and finding resources to teach to 16-year-olds who think they know English but don’t? That expression “not to mention” is odd, isn’t it? The act of using it means that you are about to mention…. I won’t tax myself on that too much now, though, I’m busy.

Yes, that serial short story will come. I know which one I’m writing now, and have tentatively divided it into three parts. But I spent so long faffing with the other two stories I’ve got practically nothing done on it.

Instead, like pork loins to chasing wolves, I shall throw a poem at you to save myself from your fangs.

It’s called “The Moment”, and rose out of a conversation with an old friend. I find the conversation part of the poem clunky, so I will gladly take suggestions on how to improve it, as when I took it to my Creative Writing meeting, I didn’t get many comments on that part.

The Moment

“But everyone gets the Moment!
The sticky time.” “Sticky?”
“Sticky eyes, something circling
in the stomach. a something-
could-happen Moment.”
“Something?” “Between us, or
whoever, depending. It happens.”

“And that was ours?” “It was.”
“I hardly remember it.”
“It didn’t happen, though.”
“What didn’t?” “Anything.”
For the greater good
of our relationship

on that hill, in the dark,
we looked at each other,
by that cemetery, the jokes,
our separate thoughts
separately twining, and hoping
they were twining in the
other’s thoughts. Our minds
beyond our conversation,
on each other’s cautious eyes.

And we walked on, after
the Moment, we walked on.