Sunday, 25 March 2012


(Tricky (feat. Terry Hall and Martina Topley-Bird) - Poems)

She fell in love with him because of the poems that he wrote, and she fell out of love with him because of the poems that he didn't write, and in the end it was all the same thing anyway.

He hid the first one in her bag, and when she read it, she smiled and put it back in the envelope, knowing that this was something she would want to keep. She had never been into poetry but when she thought about what it would be like to be a girl who was into poetry, she quite liked that, and when she thought about what it would be like to be a girl who had poems written for her,  she liked that even more.

He didn't over-do it, just one now and then, sometimes at a moment when their relationship just needed a little push on. Sometimes just after it had pushed on, to recognise the moment. She'd find a small cream envelope that was hidden but meant to be found, and her breath would catch and she would open it and take out the single sheet of paper, folded once, the fold so sharp you could cut yourself on it. When he wasn't around she would light a candle and read them all again, one after the other.

It all came to an end at a family wedding, with a casual conversation with a cousin. He was studying English at university, she told him that she was getting really into poetry, he asked her who she was reading, she said no-one you'd know, he gave her some recommendations and then the band started playing and they all went to dance. On the way home from the wedding she had time to kill before her train, and she went looking for somewhere to get decent coffee, and next to the place that sold decent coffee was a Waterstones. They only had one of the collections in her cousin had recommended. She bought it to read on the train, and then between two small suburban stations she turned a page, and there it was, that first one, the one that had been hidden in her bag.

She stared at the page for some time without really seeing it. She took her phone out of her bag, but couldn't get a signal so she swore and everyone looked. Then the land dropped away around the track, the signal bars appeared on the screen, and she googled one of her favourite lines, and then another, and then another.

She texted him, and told him to meet her the next day.

He was late, like he usually was. She let him buy her a coffee, although she didn't plan on drinking it. When he sat down opposite her, she opened up her bag and took out a bundle of small cream envelopes. She put them on the table, and slid them across with the tips of her fingers.

"They're not your words," she said.

He looked down at the envelopes, then back at her. He liked to think of himself as pale and interesting, but he was flushed red now.

"And if they're not...." She got up, pushed her chair back under the table and walked away.

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