Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A poem by Aine McAllister

The Bluebird Song in You

I sent you Bukowski’s Bluebird from Hyde Park.
Ten steps from the Serpentine Gallery
and a dishevelled arts journalist,
turned care manager who practises Buddhism,
fan of Macca and Marxism.
He told me The Four Truths while I thought about you.

In 2016 I didn’t date anyone. Well, once, in October,
I pretend it didn’t happen; lead singer in a band
that’s up and coming. When he placed
his little bag of two pound coins on the restaurant table,
I laughed; he called me a condescending little bitch.
June 2017, back on it; ‘50 ways to leave your lover behind’.

Were you my lover? If you spend hours
running your fingers over the body of another,
feel electricity on skin you’ve longed for
for months move through your body
like sheet lightning moves across night sky;
Is that other your lover?

If you fall apart, lose your reason
invert in isolation, grow the pelt
of a she-wolf in shadow, silver grey
until finally he comes to you again,
finally, you sleep joined still;
is that other your lover?

I’ve been to the V&A. I disorientated
a management consultant with long fingers
with my gauche enthusiasm for a wardrobe
from the Ming Dynasty, forgot myself and slapped it
as if it were my beautiful nephew’s broad back.
A girl can pass a morning in the sun in the city,

with a Belgian app designer; firm believer
in enlightened despotism, doesn’t think much
of the way the Greeks operate in the EU.
Not sure his foreign-exchange app is up to much,
said it was like Blah Blah Car for money,
left him with an Ali G impersonation.

Four truths; life is suffering,
suffering comes from desire,
suffering can end,
you’ve gone before I know enough
to write the poem that waits in me;
for the bluebird song in you.

Aine McAllister is a poet from the North of Ireland, based in London. Her work is previously published in The Cuirt Annual, West 47, The Muse and in Crossing Lines on www.poetryonthelake.org. She was awarded the Raftery Prize for Poetry and her work has been set to music and performed as part of #choirsagainstracism. Aine also has work forthcoming in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Present Day Best Poems, Vol 4.