Friday, 13 May 2011

Tracey Emin's Girl

Friday 13th May 2011, A. Palmer

Tracey Emin, Artist (1963- )

There were old bracelets made
from dark wooden beads
that came as a set of two,
and you divorced them to give one to me,
only I didn’t like it against my paler skin.
So when the elastic began to retire
around my thicker wrist,
I was glad to use it as an excuse to house it
in the glovebox of my car instead.

One day, on my way to work,
after reluctantly leaving you in my bed,
I found it tied into a flower,
or a four-leaf clover,
a propeller,
or something else other
than a coincidence, an act of chaos.
I induced a premature arousal
with a text thanking you for
making my car charming,
and me momentarily mirthful,
as I was dreading the meeting,
what, with opting for lovemaking
over notemaking the night before.

With us still loitering in the phase
where impressions could be dashed
by a single neglectful brushstroke,
you replied instantly,
mismeaning “What do you mean?” due to slumber,
and with a slightly short tone,
but sowing a tapestry of punctuation at the close
designed to persuade me that, honestly,
you wouldn’t rather still be in repose.
I reiterated my glee in greater detail,
but you said you had no idea.

Another time, we were in a restaurant,
not the fanciest nor priciest
nor trendiest one I’d taken you to,
but we were wearing trainers
and weather-molested hair dos
and, as per, feeling we could eat a horse.
Just for starters.
Besides, like it ever mattered where we were.

I’m not entirely certain how it came about,
but something in the conversation led you
to suggest a suicide pact.
I appreciated that you were frolicking
but to avoid later, more damaging repetitions,
I broke from a bite of a burrito
to inform you that my mother’s brother
had hung himself.
Dismayed by the silence I’d cooked,
I ordered another couple of Cuba Libres
and placed my hand near yours so that our fingers nearly touched.
You said you had no idea.

I presume that, these days,
you’re in other eateries,
ones that are timeless and don’t
fall out of favour when
the next month’s flavour is announced.
Not like the ones we used to crash,
only to babble about the ones
in New York and Paris and Copenhagen
we would frequent because we were simply
young, British and artsy.
The scallops always went cold.

I presume, also, that you now wear pristine hair
and a different bracelet,
and the smile that masks a thousand
thoughts, plans and histories.
I envision it enchanting another
whilst employed as a decoy by you
to subtly observe how they tell better jokes,
are endowed with a more endearing laugh,
order Cuba Libres with more assurance,
but that they might lack that sparkle in their eyes
as they lean in closer
to make kissing your nose the full stop to the statement,
“You’re the largest name in my tent”.
It is that sparkle that I’d have pushed along your finger
in some foreign land
whilst a carefully-selected moon looked on
at another of Love’s young dreams.

Alas, you left without trying.
That still angers me.
Your next option was never far enough away
to encourage you to concentrate on the one you had.
How you gave up so easily though, I’ll never know.
Did I not paint it clearly enough?
Did I not define our art so that it was established
I’d have run into a burning building
to save whatever it was you wanted me to save?
After I’d already come for you?
I would have happily given you
everything I could whilst
making you feel that you could
happily have nothing.

But I guess you had no idea.

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