Don't Make Myths


Yesterday I looked at some old poems I tried to write about a place I worked called Elm Bank (in Kettering) & three women I knew there, all of whom I fancied, one of whom I had a brief, unsuccessful fling with, & one of whom I ended up being the immasculated mistress of for three years. The poems had some good moments in them, but generally they didn't work. & now there seems little point in persisting with them; the energy has gone. I wondered, though, after looking at them, how I managed when things had started so well to fuck up three potentially beautiful friendships & I realised that in two out of three cases it was dishonesty (& foot odour probably). I liked to think I was a big pot-smoking vegetarian storm-the-barricades hippie radical & I was actually a shy, arrogant, inexperienced, stay-at-home book-radical writing anti-Conservative screeds in my journals to be discovered by lit archaelogists decades hence & occasionally sending out average poems to little magazines & being crushed into months of inactivity when they came back marked no-thank-you. I was also completely dominated by my sister, who lived with me & didn't work & who I gave half of the money I earned for the upkeep (bare) of ourselves & our father's house - which we had no right to be in. I moved out of there when I 'got together' with the married one out of the three women I knew & liked so much because she was the first one I'd invited into the house & when she saw what was going on she was horrified. The others I kept at arm's length when the subject of home life came up, spinning bullshit stories to justify the fact that I was living with my sister. It was all part anyway of the habit of lying I'd acquired because I lived partly in a fantasy world and also because when I visited the real world it made me feel so pathetically inadequate. But if you get close to people they can tell. They can smell your fraud. & with the woman in this poem I had finally met the genuine real in-the-flesh version of the person I thought I was. I had talked myself into a world that back then I couldn't cope with. But I kept pretending it was all like walking down the road, no different, nothing I wasn't used to every day (so where are your friends, matey? why do you choke when you smoke a joint & turn pale when I mention pills?) The pretence was fucking stupid when I think back on it. I was 35, not 18 years old & just out in the world on my own for the first time. I must have looked a complete jackass, though she was kind enough not to tell me so...& I was keeping my closeness to the married woman from her. We'd already fucked, & broken up because she thought I fancied the girl in the poem more. Which I did. But the girl in the poem didn't like her & when she said so I claimed I didn't know her very well, agreed that she was weird. Married woman & I reunited when the woman in the poem cooled off quicker than an unattended bath & three years of utter stupid self-deceiving crap began...

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