The last time I tasted blackberries
I was an empty, lonely little person
and the flame in my heart -
had all but been extinguished
once, twice, tens of times,
by your joylessness.
My head was like a pinball game
with a broken trigger;
I marvelled at the fact that
just when you rely on your thoughts
(especially when you’ve been denied them for so long),
they become muddled and murky,
dangerous and dark
It all started when you had me on the floor that time, in Paris.
Your hands around my neck.
Seething, fuming, letting off steam; Letting out 63
whole years of stress and bitterness and hatred for the world
onto my taut, white neck
as I drifted somewhere else,
and left you there, holding what was essentially
for a second or two.
I went upstairs and packed a bag,
aware of only one thing, that it was over.
That whatever you said or did, it was finished.
I tried to pack for just one night, my bag being
and not wanting to look petty.
In case I had it all wrong.
Or it hadn’t really happened.
Or it wasn’t all that bad.
But wishing all the same I could stuff half the bloody house in that bag
and never have to come back or see you again.
Six whole weeks passed, in a smudge of metros screeching on their rails,
entering tunnels where I invariably stood on the platform,
wondering if I’d be better off getting on the train
or lying under it;
Going to work and
going back to my hotel room;
Trying not to catch my reflection, en route.
Having dinner with people and wondering
if I’d pass out or start screaming inappropriately
and at noone in particular.
Taking the bus
(or generally being in close proximity to people),
and pinching myself to give myself something to concentrate on.
Swallowing so hard, praying the tears would stay in
and not break down the dam I’d built with what little
inner resources I had to hold them in with.
All to hide the shame I felt.
As I finally took the flight that brought me home
your voice was still there.
Calling me a ‘fake’, ‘stupid’, as I reluctantly handed over
the excess luggage fee:
I “should have packed more carefully” you said.
Well I’m sorry
but the weight of my luggage, plus my the weight of my tears
equalled more than the weight allowed
for one person, alone.
I will never forget the moment I realised
I didn’t have the strength to get on the plane
and wondered what to do;
How to find the strength to go from nothing in France
to nothing in England,
without having the energy to turn it into something.
Reminded me of the devil you know being better…
Made me worry the hell might in fact follow me
across the Channel.
This year, I’m surprised to see blackberries on the
Although, glad that 12 whole months separate me from that time.
Glad that I have learned to trust the fact
that if life is unbearable
it’s because it’s not meant to be lived that way anyway.
I never appreciated blackberries like I did tonight
coming back from my evening walk
(something you do on a Sunday,
in a normal life, such as the one I have now).
I’m thinking of making them into jam tomorrow,
it’s the first time I’ll have done that.
That and appreciating the coming of Autumn, so much.
This is about one of the life-changing moments of my life.