Who sang La Mer? Charles Trenet sang La Mer. This is what you asked.Your name was long for Harry. Which was what I called you. The older woman. Thirty five you were, and your name was Women in Love. Hermione. You loved your Pavane in black skirt and head scarf
Crows that cawed over the impossible yellow fields of the South. Just as he said when he painted his insanity. Wine drunk rainbow headaches in the sunshine of the marsh of the flamingoes and the bulls. We argued insanity consistently, giving and taking talking grey, galling, grief. Wondering when it would end. A painted clay pipe for the drudgery of every night drugging and driving the old car through the crucifix shrines of littered and melted offerings tied to the belief of Gauguin paintings. The sharp straight up sunlight giving the lie to whatever was enjoyed, together and individually righteous. The bright red poppy flower by the side of the road.
Druid mistletoe in the trees by the river in the west. The voices raised in the chorus chorale of a whitewashed shafted sun burned out cathedral. Asking in the cafe square for a pen to say goodbye. She was older enough. I was younger enough then, but only just. Being less than a man because of no military service, they told me.
The barge trips with a bike, asleep on wet grey green tarpaulin valleys, chugging past vineyard and oak aged château hills. Bridges, Breton exploded in temper. Groucho, Harpo & Chico in Italian with French subtitles in the cabin at the back. A poster of the president election on every lamp. The song of the ill loved man.
Talking you scared, down the steep grey green hill. Watching you and your daughter in the slip sliding mud all of Leonardo graves. Asking for another pen this time to draw the Languedoc hill that was burning martyr safe. She was a Mother and I was someone else’s son. The start of the drawing in pen instead of HB pencil. Missing a visually exciting scene whilst listening to a very stirring sabre dance.
Saxophone playing, somewhere. You like sax, don’t, did, didn’t you?
The aforementioned Gypsy’s with their black bread and potatoes.
Camus reading camera and crawling for Roman artefacts in the sandbanks on the river, when you left after writing the arguments down because I could not find the collapsible courage.
Starving in the capital then for four drawing days before killing myself with an apple for dinner. Drawing and writing everything so I could burn them later and watch the little black books crisp and curly in blue and green. Before I came home with my bike and whiskey fountain to find, my mother, a year later. I had not been missed.
A Continental Confounded Letter