Words I Learnt From War & Peace

Reticule

Coquetry

Harangue

Adjutant

 

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Fools Rush

You tell me to buy the audiobook, even though I called you, whittling my phone contract down into minus figures, for you to tell me you’re not reading a book out loud over the phone. Our conversations out-price me. And this is costing 50p a minute, probably.

Maybe you think it’s a joke; I guess that it is. Because intonation’s a learnable trick, isn’t it? Really no reason why yours is margarine thick, understands each judder bone better than contractual agreements and metal.

But I don’t want the book, or Stephen Fry, or some palatable, 5-star Amazon review, award-winning voice reading it to me.

Like the things you said last night you shouldn’t have said, but you said publicly, anyway, because you’re table laying, or openly flaying, or we’re somewhat flailing, or you’ve lost that filter most people have to not say the things they think to the people they think them about, plus their most treasured 176 FB friends, this is honestly it: I’d keep you in my ear if possibility, technology allowed it. And it’s boring for you, sure. But not me. Never me.

I’m not buying audiobooks, loser. I feel the same about that stuff that you said. What was it again? And I almost called like 40 times, 2 days ago, just to hear you. My thumb twitched at the dial. Because you make me better.

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Number

There were other offers. I don’t want you to think that there weren’t. But hotel rooms are a palate cleanser. And you’re on speed dial.

I don’t know what we talked about; it wasn’t much of anything, actually, that we hadn’t said already. Still, it was ’90s Dayglo coupled with Skrillex songs.

And it didn’t cut out, did it? The signal, I mean. The way it does every other time we talk from our actual houses. No-one redialled a million times. It was an ever connected line, for about three hours. Not eternity, exactly, but the things I learnt.

Every one of your stories, even the worst ones, I’ll take twice. If you run out, if that’s possible, three’s fine. Just don’t stop talking. Texting. Typing. Blogging. Logging the fact you exist in survivable formats, archive-able ones.

No-one cares if it’s true, but you may be the tattoo I’ll not bore of. Only, what font do I get you in?

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Scratch

I had this dream, or it was like 5 dreams, in 9 hours sleep; you were scattered between 3am and 11, in fabric-like fragments, and each extra doze was a salt pinch of you, until I couldn’t close my eyes more.

You finished playing, and in the green room after, someone wanted a photo, so you stood on the ledge with the others. The open window was a straight drop but no-one was phased. I felt the outside air buffer you, and when they all got down, untwining arms from you, I felt you waver and, instinctively, pulled you down, took your hand even if etiquette said don’t. And that was enough to start it.

I don’t know who asked. Whose idea it was. But we said let’s spend some time alone, to see; we both agreed.

The rest’s a badly cut movie, jumps making the narrative incoherent, if incomparable. I trawled strangely linked hotel rooms, mostly empty. But, remember this: we kissed like a TV kiss, where you can’t but you kiss because the script dictates. And even if it didn’t, you’d do it anyway, because it’s a dream, so why fucking not?

And that’s the essence of it, like a retina scratch, not on an eye but the screen of a MacBook, so all the more serious. I’ve been looking at it all day. You’re not online. But you’re writing this shit too. I know that you are. Will you always be writing it, the way that I’ll always be writing it? Do the words urge?

make it

Point Match

It’s two words: match and point. I pick discrepancies up each piece I read. Whether you like it or not, I am your editor.

You got the volley right, the limbo, the way we photo developed until every picture was a little reddy orange, overexposed, ultimately unframeable. And endless.

So I ended it, quite unprompted. Except, do you even believe anything’s over which wasn’t before? That we’ll never really talk again? Because I don’t.

There’s always next week. All I need’s a pencil and a print out of everything you ever wrote. I’ll perfect you. That’s what I do. And you know that, don’t you?

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Whatever Happened to Discretion?

Where did it go, the notion that some things you’re told simply for you? When did diagnosis get fodder, dinner conversation at parties I’m not even at?

Selective smartness says people talk. I even really know. But I forget when my story traded hands into your hands, with permission gift to dollar slick each of my details into someone’s else’s teeth. Because I never gave it, to you, did I? You didn’t ask what’s okay, and what’s not.

What I’m over is sixth degree separation pity filling inboxes after ten and Christmas cards laced with condolences and sorry scrawled worse than love. And texts to say we’ve heard and people I work with finding out, choiceless, before I’m ready to tell. I thought that you knew; I thought you would know. This is not your news to tell.

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