my Pimlico girl
I’ve just re-re-edited this for my next book – a section of old stuff and brand new – this goes down well in readings – not the least for a soupcon of double entendre.
I love my Pimlico girl and she loves me.
I saw her beside the Regent’s Canal,
haloed by early morning sunbeams,
a modern day Madonna,
reading La Peste.
I straightened a crooked Gauloise,
and mingled words with smoky
‘pardon, mais j’adore Camus, ‘Sisyphe’ surtout.’
‘would you imagine Sisyphus happy?’
‘don’t ask me. how should I know?’
pondering a weighty response
I stroked my chin.
she broke the tumbleweed silence,
I lit a cigarette
passed it over.
we stared at the canal,
its green-ink water
and swans at swim
she whispered softly,
‘if only love itself was enough.’
the swans serened out of sight.
‘I admire their fidelity,
how they mate for life…
we are strangers,
but could be lovers,
sharing a discreet ‘affaire’
au milieu de la crudité
of this soulless city.’
‘was that soliloquy aimed at me?’
I dredged a misquote out of memory,
‘we’re all strangers – estranged from ourselves.’
she flicked her Gauloise into the stream.
‘then, let’s be strangers no more –
great works can be born on street-corners
and restaurants’ revolving doors,
and great loves may spring
from towpath chance encounters…’
we took a bus to Pimlico,
walked, hand in hand,
to a tucked away
she led me up a spiral staircase
across a neat-trimmed patio patch
through a tight door
into a bijou pied-à-terre
and a boudoir
saturated with her pleroma.
we shared love and lust abundantly
but not our names –
at dusk we smoked my last Gauloise.
‘il est temps que tu partie.’
‘will I see you again?’
‘bien sûr, cherie, je serais toujours là pour toi.’
blinded by the audacity
of lust and love with anonymity,
I skipped the tangle of Pimlico streets.
now I trudge the pavement maze
traipsing yellow clouds
of hazy memory,
and haunt the banks of the Regent’s Canal.
© coolhermit 2023