As I walk with effrontery, alone
by Douglas Livingstone

As I walk with effrontery, alone,
by night, by day, through mists or lights or rain,
in parks and over fields, beneath the sky,
through traffic or in corridors of brick
I carry the scent of your body always
upon me and wear the same shirt until
I find it now stinks of me and has lost
its delicate swan-necked flagon of you.

As I walk with effrontery, alone,
among jostling labyrinths of grey hustlers
perhaps intent, who knows? Who knows! upon
their own happy fornications, although
one could never guess it with certainty
from their glum stifled faces, I recall
our gay expertise and indecorum
on floors, on grass, on beds, the moonlit beach.

As I walk with effrontery, alone,
and suddenly delighted at an apt
quick witticism of yours bursting like
the sun above a thunderous cliff of cloud,
wondering its mocking disrespectful rays
don’t playfully illuminate a few
of the very sober pates about me,
I must quench an abrupt laugh with a cough.

As I walk with effrontery, alone,
I contemplate your murder to assuage
the carcinoma of my jealousy
thinking how next time I sprawl beside you,
a hot afternoon breeze probing the curtains,
my teeth against your honey coloured throat,
an instant’s clench will salve it, slake it all –
the love, the fear, the channels of your life.

As I walk with effrontery, alone,
I know that I am lost and should be kept
incarcerated somewhere, peacefully
quiet and padded to recover from
this succubus that now inhabits me,
or whom I inhabit. And pray the gods
spare me that exorcism, electro-
convulsive or other fell therapy.