Wednesday, 20 April 2011

My own personal aubade

April come she will... Fifteen years ago I fucked three women on one hot April day in Mexico. There was the wife in the morning and then her cousin, who happened to double up as my mistress, in the afternoon. She owned a commercial college and in the early evening a student named Xochitl found that fucking had been added to the curriculum of her secretarial course. Not that she needed much instruction as she went like a steam engine, but I do remember teasing her that the bill for my services would be added to her monthly fees. I also remember that she pestered me to take her somewhere or other and I was too fagged out to want to bother, but she wouldn't shut up so I had to give her a spanking. It is strange that I have always remembered my three fuck day but the fact that one of the women ended up across my knee had quite slipped my mind.

I can't do it these days. Fuck like that I mean. I discovered that sad fact in Cuba back in 2005 when I spent the afternoon with a rather nice sound recordist who worked for Cuban TV and then an achingly lovely museum attendant fluttered her eyelashes at me and just as I went over to her I realised that it would be a waste of time. My only wad of the day had been shot... I was getting old... I tried to console myself with the thought that I had enjoyed the sound girl very well indeed, but that is not the point, it is not the point at all.

A few months ago I told these stories to my eldest son and he looked at me in amazement. Then he told me quietly that he could not imagine being my age and having a cock that doesn't work to order.

He will have to get used to that fact of life, just as I will have to accept that Philip Larkin was right all along, the bastard:

I work all day, and get half drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
– The good not used, the love not given, time
Torn off unused – nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never:
But at the total emptiness forever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true. 

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says no rational being
Can fear a thing it cannot feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear – no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round. 

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no-one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood. 

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house. 


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