Sk[in] [6]

I wake up in the middle of my night –

so you have me before you; unable to keep at


ing wolves of fear that pursue

me almost like before.

But then their howls, down

dying their now, remind me I have a choice:

I can run as before

or fight the fear

I contain, which has stained my life

and that of others.

And if the parallel art which speaks

its name, its story and its

terrifying point of view (I fear once

more – so is there no end to fear?)

does damn me as it might, my

fear and disgrace and anger about myself

for having engaged in a battle of wits

I had no right to impose upon you all –

the ones who loved me in the ways they

needed (for that is the essence of liberty, not

my wants) … it shall – this art – be quite com-


a manner of writing has become

a manner of speaking that life will deny

any manners at all.

And all I ever loved about you was the way

you became happy in my presence: and that,

in the absence of anything I was able

to get from the cupboard of physical

affect that was bare, though not naked

(I fear again!) (but I’m repeating myself:

who cares

about these things which bore you any more?

Who cares that they bore me so hard

in those days

that I still feel a hole drilled through my

whole body from end of time –

from end

of days too?  Is that to be my

terrible fate?) –

and so I also so yearned for your nakedness

and body:

to touch

your breasts gently or fiercely, to feel your

legs held around me, wanting to be around

me … that’s all I wanted:

I only wanted to be wanted, and

all my life I’ve been as if on a weirdly



date: hoping only (as one really should) for

a peck on the check

(or did I mean cheque or

did I mean cheek?  Only the Lord knows

now what I mean …), and

a promise understood of more than

a touch on the shoulder of weighty

manhood as given or taken or

lost today: this was the cost of my inability

to say that today is the day we

either do talk or go

walk our separate ways.

But then I ask myself now, as the wolves

do howl, if art in itself –

or even my daily joy – justifies the pain

of hurting others when I know from the in-

side what it is to be hurt: if only we could

be the adults I wasn’t, we could

pick up and find some adult way forwards:

adult in sensibility and equanimity and

favour, but adult in senses and sexes and

fervour, and maybe it’s time I asked the

universe for the guidance

I need:

for the skin I am in

has so little distance from the pain I became

as rain fell on a plain; and I wondered,

even now, if when you say those things

(those things that so easily make me feel

I was a p’raps a tad

more than a tiresome writer of winging words

which draw more attention to their

own dancing flight than

really I was able to add to their meaning –

or even their sheer bestockinged delight!) …

and those things people say lately,

which make me want to weep

because no one says such things

to me any more,

not in a minute nor a day nor in a week …

and you

suggest that I was born to be

loved in that way

you suggest in that way maybe I misunderstand,

and I love the idea behind the

kindness enshrined, but then do wonder fiercely

whether really you are telling me

I deserve to be loved but don’t deserve to

love others.

And maybe you mean my job on this rock

is to change my evil ways and become

the good that broke the

lot those many years ago, when fear

attacked my soul and made me quite incapable

of doing the stuff I now do:

and what I do now … it sincerely isn’t false, but it

wasn’t always like that and I wouldn’t like

at all to give a false impression: a false man

I might be for even trying goodness so publicly,

so brazenly, so obviously, so redolently, so


a fallen

man with a desire to be touched in the ugly skin

he’s become, and who’s reached the very end of

a curious story where this being tethered to

a curious owner has led him to

bemuse why love is so complicated:



and the

funny thing and truth is that

love I have had, from everyone in bucketfuls:

and I guess it’s quite true:


but what’s really missing from my life is sex.



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