A Sense of Decorum

A sense of decorum

I was always clumsy
so no surprise:
I had fallen –
head over heels –
in love with you.

Looking for love –
find a broken heart,
not slightly witty;
that’s a whine of self-pity
I’m falling apart.

I’ve been tactless,
somewhat lacking
in social graces,
kissing you openly,
in public places.

We were surprised
both you and I,
by how far
we could go,
on our first real date.

Don’t; not a word
about your loving me
before I’ve time
to fix my make-up,
and look my best.

I’m really that shallow:
inside there is nothing,
not a trace
of a beating heart:
a cavernous hollow

I may have lost
a sense of decorum,
my moral compass,
taking you to bed.

All’s well that ends
in orgasm! Surely not!
I can’t believe
I’d write anything so
obviously crass.

Please let that pass;
I’ve been under so much strain;
don’t worry:
I don’t imagine . . . I’ll ever . . .
fall in love again.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm


The first time

The first time

Our first night together,
you had planed to take me to dinner,
woo me, seduce me,
induce me out of my pants, I expect –
not that you needed to.

I had a plan too.
Your plan involved taking your time
as though I needed, you needed,
we needed to wait, and think,
make up our minds,
romance and candlelight.

My plan was simple,
my plan was to say yes,
to tell you: I need you,
yes I need to be naked with you,
yes I need to feel you inside me,
yes because I want you.

My plan: to ask you to love me.
You can wait too long,
then decide not to;
moving apart, not move together.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

No Easy Answers

No easy answers,

Even now,
at . . . shall we say: mature
(well, damn, I’m sixty-four)
some days, and just to survive,
to breath and stay alive,
I need every gift and talent I possess.

I’m still a mess of contradictions,
still, at times, uncertain of myself,
needing reassurance,
and discovering;
in loving there are no right,
wrong or easy answers.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

Six Million Answers

Six million answers,

When you died,
and just for a moment,
I wondered where had you gone:
heaven or hell;
in the ground, or still around
in some dreary ethereal otherness.

You had practiced the rites,
the rituals of faith,
you were angry,
without faith itself;
you had one vital question;
there were six million wrong answers.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

Right and Wrong

Right and wrong

I had wondered, had you?
about the right-and-wrong-headed-ness of
the intention, my decision,
yours and our joint adventure,
abandoning an old familiarity,
and former friendship,
with its warmth of ancient affection
for a perilous relationship:
new lovers late in life.

Older, we expect few such
moments of rich fulfilment,
hearts beating faster than wisely,
crying ‘I love you’ out loud:
of sleeping, and waking, shopping,
reading, eating,
being and loving together.

We were right;
as though loving were ever wrong!

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm



Inevitably, there are
aspects of of our being together
that I shall regret losing –

things like:
watching you sleep,
while I read –
Jay Parini on Theodore Roethke –
something like that,
wondering why we’re together,
sharing this bed,
this room,
sharing your home,
finally sharing space in our strange,
separate lives,
two, strange, separate lives,
wondering, and wondering, and
wondering why we’re together,

like: your almost,
but not quite completely,
silent snoring,
and the toc-tic-toc,
the antique mechanical clock
you have in your hall,
louder because:
I’ve opened the door;
I’ve done this before;
that clock will easily outlive us both;

like: listening to you pee,
smiling while I do,
having no idea why,
no idea why I’m smiling,
why I’m listening,
why I care about you,
the way that I do,
and, and, and why,
why does it matter,
why not, why bother,
why me, why am I with you;
I am, I just do;
and I listen while you
brush your teeth;
you gargle,
who gargles any more,
I stand – quiet as death,
by your bathroom door,
a weird auditory voyeur;

like: imagining an older me,
an older you,
the lengthening shadows,
as, year after year,
if we are lucky enough,
blessed, unblessed
drawn tighter together,
our separate single
and joint memories coalesce;
at sixty-six and sixty-four,
our future is a stay of execution,
each day, and week,
and hour,
and the inevitability of –
yet another separation,
you or I will face another dissolution,
and I cannot and will not
endure another desolation,

like: watching you
while you read your
incomprehensibly entitled books
in Latin and in Greek,
I’ll not speak,
not a word,
not yet,
later finding an excuse,
some pretext to abuse Platonism,
have a go at Heraclitus,
just for fun,
because you have retained
the charmed, soulful
seriousness of a clever,
Lancashire lad at fabled Oxford,
that first year at Trinity,
a gauche undergrad,
and a life opening
into undreamt opportunities;

like: your weirdly,
crooked, and oddly contented smile,
and all the while
loving you laugh at my jokes,
poking fun at the great,
and the good . . .
because we must,
and we should;
laughing together aloud;

like: making love,
after my own five,
your ten year-long sacrifice,
homage to other lovers,
the mothers of our children,
lip service to tepid celibacy;
no idea what I might feel,
in a new body,
new boobs,
and medicinally dilated virginity;
two broken hearts,
old hearts,
love-making in the vicinity
of our distant pasts;
but nothing lasts forever;

like: your face, that wonderful,
loving-me look,
sometimes a scowl
as I glance up from a book,
you watching me,
concern written in the lines of your face;
you worry because I
wear sadness like a cloak
wrapping myself,
my lost hopes,
exile, and families
in a soft haar of melancholy;
don’t rescue me;

I am not your ‘Lady of Shallot’ –
Darling, you are not my Lancelot, your
belov’d London is not mine,
not my many-tower’d Camelot.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

reconsider / forever

reconsider / forever

we argue,
we so often do;
that’s nothing special

I storm out;
I usually do:
just fuck off will you

you didn’t, you don’t,
you never do;
you should,

you asked:
would I reconsider –

good or bad, I don’t know

I told you:
no, I will love you forever

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

‘why not, I don’t know’

‘why not, I don’t know’

I watch you,
you’re sleeping,
murmuring from time to time –

I want to awaken you,
and tell you,
at last:
I love you –

and I can’t;
why not – I don’t know;
I just do,
I do love you.

but can’t just say:
yes I do,
I do, and I will,
I will love you forever,

why not, I don’t know.

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm

Y not

You lied to me: why?

You lied to me: why?

I was early, of course,
I usually am;
you say I’m “neurotically punctual” –
chimes with the diagnosis,
confirming I’m autistic,
one supposes . . .

. . . turning into Broad from
Turl Street, I can see that
you’re already seated,
reading; I wait,
I watch you
from my safe distance,
wondering how much of a “we” we are,
and I’m suddenly breathless,
sick with excitement;
the passers-bye: do the know,
can they see – that I need you –
want you – naked and now?

There’s time enough;
I can wait, and be calm before
calling your name,
and watching you turn,
seeing you happy to see me –
why did I ask: ‘Have you been waiting long?’
and you lied:
‘I’ve just arrived.’

Copyright, © August 2017, Lesley Storm