The difference between bedding an ex-lover
And kissing the streets of Soho,
Years after leaving,
Is that the streets taste sweet.
Even in the autumn rain,
The taste upon your lips of promise
The tales of the unexpected fill your head,
Behind your eyes and beside your teeth.
I’m tasting it now as I run my tongue
Over my lips, to take in the edges of
Salmon and tiny green beans from
The Nicoise lunch, salty and rich.
But actually, I’m discovering again
The feast my eyes drank in, ten minutes ago,
Camisa & son on Old Compton street.
A brief holiday in little Italy
In barely five minutes of my life
I saw him, in his bespoke suit
His Blaqua shirt. The sweep of blue
Curling to caress his neck beneath soft grey curls,
Touching the velvet black collar,
So lovingly and precisely stitched.
A face that held the gentle lines of London,
A face that invited me to fall in love all over again.
I’m scooping the last of my lunch on a fork
Pushing into the darkness and again
My lips catch the flavour;
The tears of a child,
A lightness attaches itself;
Sweat on a first introduction,
A sense of guilty pleasure now enfolds and still,
I am in the deli, the butter on my tongue is his skin.
The attention to detail in the hounds-tooth suit,
The collar, the lapels, the pocket flaps,
The hand-stitching as precise as the trouser cuffs
Resting on black brogues
I know this is a man who affords himself
The luxury of precision, the absolution of beauty
A necessity to each cell’s being.
I want to unwrap him, velvet and wool
Cotton and leather, layer by layer,
Like a biscuit I
Want to unwrap him. I
Want to dive into huge glass jars
Of silver-coated almonds until I find him,
Draw him up, like a prize
The most ornate of lucky-dips
Except that I am the only contestant
And he is the only prize.
Perhaps he tastes of sugared almonds
On kissing. Little Italy.
How apt that I should fall in love
With the sights and sounds of flowers on cotton,
Which cradle a body worth knowing.
And in his mushroom eyes,
Did he see my intentions,
Did he feel my desire to become a thread
In the fabric of his wearing after a long autumn day,
To soak up the very essence of him
Text: © JL Nash, 2012
Image: © Jean-Bastien Lagrange, 2012