New poem: ‘Kate’

She stood before me

On a sultry summer Surrey night,

The stone steps to her parents flat

Radiating the day’s heat,

Bricks soaked with sun sweat,

Sweet dust smells and caramels

And the subtlety of Kate’s fragrance

Ever so delicate.

The moment was so beautiful.
And so was Kate.

Her cousin was a former Miss World,

Her aunt was married to a very famous

Film star.

Kate,

Californian Kate with Guyanan ancestry,

Skin so soft like coffee,

Wide cinnamon eyes filled with love on that

Exotic sin-drenched August night,

Standing before each other

In a moment of the purest romance.
Yet,

I felt nothing.

Worse,

I could sense a dark chasm

Deep inside of me,

Swallowed down with every lie,

Every untruth, every evasion,

So obvious as to obliterate all but my own

Teenage fabrications,

And Kate, culturally American,

Who saw in me the mannerisms

Of a Disney gentleman

As we bent for a kiss on those

Sun baked steps,

Gazing in each others eyes

Like lovers are meant to.
What do you want?

I don’t know what I want.

How can I reach you?

I think it’s impossible.

Is it something I’ve done?

I think I just need a little time.

Time for what?

To get my head in order.

Why are you lying to me?

You’re not the only person I’m lying to.
Her hand in mine,

Soft and small and warm,

Her cotton summer dress

Falling down to her delicate sandals

With a modesty that so many others

Found truly alluring as I

Fantasised a Hollywood wedding

And saving myself for our

First night of bliss.

An air conditioned kiss

Plenty of time to steel myself,

Brace for her beauty,

So brave,

So brave.
I always knew.

But I can explain.

Every time I looked at you.

Please don’t do this.

We were both young. We were both stupid.

I tried to change.

It’s who you are.

Please don’t do this.

Why couldn’t you ever tell the truth?
Because it was impossible.

Certain processes and cultural

Associations 

None of which can excuse the

Failure to ignite that which only 

Half smouldered,

Or to grasp a truth so vital

As to stay hidden potentially forever.
She stood before me

As the deep blue sky 

Smudged itself brown on traffic fumes

As we parted just with a

Peck on the cheek,

A short walk home relieved to have endured

And prolonged the pretence

To a family happy to have their Romeo return,

And everything right with the world.

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2 thoughts on “New poem: ‘Kate’

  1. Nice one Robert!

    I likes it – very poignant. I think you have a typo in the second Please don’t do this line.

    Performance tips for serious poems?…. I just try to let the feelings have space between the lines or words. I don’t know if that’s lche or effective, but I let myself feel a little bit of the feeling for real by remembering it and leave it to linger just enough, then move on.

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