Poem by Jack Brooks (UK)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 36.
lady mexico, i’m writing you from your most mundane café. it’s silly. it has silly flowers placed centrally on each table in the anxiety that without them this establishment would not hold up!
it also has pretty milkshakes with a grand cherry resting on its cloud. or at least mine does.
lady, six months ago i had someone for you. to rub your breasts and brush our heels on them, and get naked while you flood.
i am scared to leave you. i won’t really go, what does a ticket mean? let’s continue to be crazed. encapsulate me further. i don’t want things to get sinister, my troubles span continents! i am head rested on heart, moving for arms of west and east... contemplating some kind of escape. but too far east and we may never touch again. womb of south, feeling the way i do, i’ll take the plunge. i need to bury my head in the ground, return better off, readier for what’s inevitable.
oh your breasts! how they are the art of you and you don’t even know it. forever an image of purity. let me stay there. then when you turn to rest on mine, july would have arrived and by that time it’ll be up to good and bad fortune and whatever’s on the news that day.
i miss you. interminably. you are absolute the same way a cherry is, a peacock or a smoking waiter. not mexico. i trip over roads here. uneven. there are cars of door oddities and bolted unevenly and rusting. men hang from the open doors of buses, and children one shoe on, one shoe off! one day the cherry will rot, the peacock will lie dead on the grass and the smoking waiter will perish, cigarette still burning.
mexico, unhinged, will remain. does that mean anything?
a street away a lone eagle, in the desert, flies in wind that doesn’t matter, while a street saxophonist pumps the love for his family through the brass, a street away. remembering my beautiful loneliness sat in nothing-to-say, etiolated apartment of conceivable whiteness. hearing sounds of coltrane ring through, contemplating everything to come and old smoking joe who died eight measly hours after our conversation and old wise loneliman jeffrey brown who i promised to mail and never did. and you.
room decimated with our mess, that day and long after. they shouldn’t clean it. our spilled dirty wine seeping from under books, mine or yours? i don’t know anymore. seeping from under the bed. just springs and sheets and weeks of sweat, mine or yours? i don’t know anymore. your dirty underwear, a napkin and tangled, offers itself from under the pillow. an opened and re-opened hip-flask used only when us. i don’t have the mouth for it now.
i don’t like this new ink.
here, a half-moon faced man, white-haired and wrinkled, twirls the coffee of his day. he sees me and twists the gold of his finger. you’d like him. he smokes and coughs kicked-up dirt and sends half-lit smiles of sophistication. he was not the britain before meeting you. he only existed here and maybe france. no thoughts of the britain without you anymore. that history is no history recorded. childhood illumination- blankness- you. during the former i knew you. no ideas but in things and trees climbed and slept-in and built-on in fields behind streets where stones thrown shattered and abandoned buildings broke and once kaboomed. all that madness for you. britain, now, the tired old man. slaves of industry rot into the grave and continue that way. did you ever see a man in a suit climb a tree?
i can’t write properly, not since i moved here. it’s all up in the air.
first meeting, south wales, two months before here, i love you. abandoning greyness, robotica crashes every night while we touch in the mountains. can’t be around things built on lies, we know that. constant fucking like nothing else existed, and it didn’t. sleeping nights on grass, treading naked on the moist green belly of welsh earth, dancing under the stars stroking the bare white bodies of one another in love extreme. pan’s children! noticing fox-gloves, and unfortunate industrial symmetry from afar. zig-zag lane and burger shack john lennon and talking taboo and where have you been? while eerie operatic waves handle our distance from humanity with care, smoothing rocks of nothingness. mixing our heels and your tiny toes with the soil of all things pure, and swap our genitalia for one night for we are one! pen-y-fan, mountain of past, of thomas, and of us. all things aligned, gazing deeply into the dark mirror above. your eyes and the sky, no difference here. so dark they had me wandering through them, lying sideways, staring, no words.
san juan del rio, august 25th, day one and onwards. initial overpowering of the senses, consciousness a desert-jettison. dogs barking orders from rooftops, stares from estranged eyes at the white buoy in the sea of brown. traffic light circuses of fire, survival, and fire! barefooted children running wild only with concepts of the untethered, games made from bricks and dusty soles. shacks alive with foreign voices and grins glistening under the intensity of the sun. i remember a small child gazing wondrously at my face, not noticing the streets, uneven, he tripped and ploughed his tiny face into the ground! his mother looked at me with cruel eyes as if it was my fault. ice cream licking girls swinging their hips to chuck berry in their subconscious, he whistling, horny in his grave. endless rows of meat-vegetable concoctions and sauce enough to sting the eyes devoured by all while ranting and laughing, mouths full, spitting their roots back into the air. everything survives here.
san juan del rio, december 27th. deep mexico. fragile mexico. burgundy four-wheeled container and uncontainer, speed-o-meter dead, who needs it? suspension and brakes in unfunctioning unison, our beautiful machine. handling each other in compulsive tenderness at every possible moment. eyes twitching in the bliss of our reality. streets strong and narrow in the heat, i sweating forehead and upper lip, you between the legs. latin life brimming perpetually for us to admire! with each press of the pedal reality gradually distorts until i know you’re mine forever, breathing you as i turn sharp high-kerbed corners, not driving.
mexico city, december 25th, airport madness. i wait for you, palms sweating, heart pulsating in the neck.
december 31st, seeing you. embarking upon interminable separation. new years eve spent careening through jungle roads. time spent in middle-of-nowhere home of fire-jumping children and great infectious togetherness, forgotten mexico! family accommodating our tired bodies with our and their idea of luxury and onto the next town, racing against the tick-tock, countless miles up, to reach town clock before old, grand fire-in-the-sky celebrations and yes! rom pope, wine and my hands climbing your softness under the hand striking twelve! oh, small-pawed bear, remember the stalk? sand, bird, cacti and our spit solitary under the cosmos.
we were doomed but for love in those mountains. vultures circling our whiteness, brilliant scavengers, understood our immortality and left the skies to perch upon cacti grander than mexico. they let us watch the stalk fly.
... i will always feel guilt in churches. i will only see your boots cemented to concrete facing the house of god, your thighs hugging trees while i lay, drowning in rivers.
mexico cannot hurt like you.
been stranded since those times. hungover from mezcal nights in outlandish bars, washing lust away with cigarettes and empty talk of revolution. meeting swingers, stalkers and middle-aged women with the horn, and disappointing them. la cucaracha, san miguel, spiked, hallucinating bulls and black & white television. ex-military friend, frank, jumping nervously to ancient ritual explosions, tortured by war. it was sinister. trespassing festivals, bribe, outrageous hours spent with camping colombians and argentines next to lakeshore, forever known to them as the kid who fell asleep smiling at the moon. here, roma, ranting mass myopia from drunken rooftops, gasping for change, asking the cloudless skies where we lie. no answer. they rot too.
moneyless now, walking streets for hours until they tire of me. i see kahlo’s girls sending smiles. i wander until the night comes and get high and watch never-ending floating lights race past my steadiness at incomprehensible speeds. no engine sounds, just effervescence of the illuminated. no light in the jungle mountains. only fog and your little legs in my eye’s corner...
i remember you saying you never wanted to get married. that’s when i knew i’d marry you.
don’t panic, that’s probably a joke...
the saxophonist stopped hours ago.
no more noise.
no more bustling.
no more interest.
so come sit with me in last week’s underwear and we’ll sweat together.
i’m giving myself to you.
Jack Brooks was born in Wales in 1992. His poetry is concerned with 'the poet' adapting to time and 'the times' while simultaneously trying to escape these truths. He also writes of love.
Jack’s first poetry reading was at the Ofi Poetry Night in Mexico City, in February 2014.