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By how many badbyes can you measure the length of your day
by how many badbyes can you measure the length of your day first comes the time too fretful on your hands next the boredom of not knowing what to do with it all then the memory erasures the books underlined you thought you never read and wince at the pencilled comments on the sidelines friends you forgot you went to school with the children who’d pray you wouldn’t turn up even à l’improviste on an urgent pretexting errand the flushed girlish faces that turn away your gaze in an alley way the tentative pace of your step losing grip on some junction the only safe direction is the shortest cut to your hideout hovel even those who need you prefer not to call on you the telephone will do you can insist on the shave much good it would do you to scorch your tortured grimace none note the difference only the sparse crop you patter come apart in a sudden gust clothes hug less and less the sagging frontal bulge bones that grate lock ligaments that tear on the stair the longing meniscus pain that refuses to part company during the prancing stride and the hours and hours you lay gazing at the ceiling recalling other inept throes muddled chances replaying in slowmotion what might have been if only you hadn’t taken the hasty irate turning friends that one by one get ticked off most bundled through in dull hushed murmurs some big names sportsground high kickers get heard of their lean eager square-cut faces flashed on the 8 o’clock news others by dint of their stolid work-soaked contributions their theories discoveries conneries are sung of in obituaries but those you knew you cared for you shared moments long moments with on long rainy nights chewing the rag-end cud on the sofa you wonder where or what they could be like if they too had not gone too soon crushed under split tires skewered through contorted metal now the long vigil begins daily the diurnal chores of waking to your querulous pallid face mocking the vain ambitions festering under your lids each morning waking again after the thrall of mind-flushing siestas fresh as the first springday you went out to your first girl at the thronging choked spewing mouth disgorging the Underground the madness now brings alive in all her colours odours crinoline frills no thwarted thoughts linger only the regrets regret at not having done better regret at not having served her longer nor tasted the fun offering for as long as she bent to caress your face her tresses enveloping your cheeks your neck your ears your locked-in flesh by how many more badbyes may you count your days visits to the doctor the unpaid bills rain like the pathetically interminable urgent blood-on-your-hands requests demands for donations to succour Africa’s dying masses Asia’s flooding rivers & ground-shattering scientific research arms for aids aids for arms alms for arms letters dwindle even from friends you thought were friendless you read the Monoprix’s cutprice lists for the spring opening over and over again and eye the shining lasses in tartan skirts pink cheeks lean pinky thighs drawn up to the chins the dejectedly opened books you have not read and always wanted to read now that time is all yours seem so frivolous in your constricting space thoughts that nag at you from every turn in your tiny grubby flat from inside you walk out in your slippers in the dead of noon and pass stragglers lunching on mayonnaise-oozing leafy baguette- sandwiches without so much as a grumbled « salut » linger searching for an excuse to pass away yet another few minutes gazing at a municipal billboard staring blankly at the same old inane inept faces permanent lodgers at the Mairie under the sparse shade of an ant-lined silvery birch thoughts lost among throngs of gaily bickering garrulous sparrows screeching within well-coiffered leafless forsythia bushes the will moves on unwilled to there where a solitary mud-splashed park bench lies lame forlorn you crouch for an instant your lungs expunging your longfelt hurt your eyes blind to the couples stuck one-into-the-other on the muddy dog-dunged grounds you lay yourself back to expunge a long pent-up sigh was it the lit-long day or was it yesterday or was it…. June 16/17, 1997 From the privately pub. coll. (rev.) : longhand notes (a binding of poems), Paris :1999, 115p. © T. Wignesan – Paris, 2016
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