Parallels 9 – Waking at night

Yes, I know I’ve quoted all this before, but they’re just so good.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

– fragment from T. S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men

Love again: wanking at ten past three
(Surely he’s taken her home by now?),
The bedroom hot as a bakery,
The drink gone dead, without showing how
To meet tomorrow, and afterwards,
And the usual pain, like dysentery.

-fragment from Philip Larkin’s Love again

Half an hour – an hour, later – not long, anyway – George blinks and is awake. (…)
Little teaser, his mind says, but without the least resentment. Just as well he didn’t stay.
But, as he lies on his back in the dark, there is something that keeps him from sleep; a tickle in the blood and the nerves of the groin. The alcohol itches in him, down there.
Lying in the dark, he conjures up Kenny and Lois in their car, makes them drive into Camphor Tree Lane, park further down the street, in case a neighbour should be watching – hurry discreetly across the bridge, get the door open – it sticks, she giggles – bump against the living-room furniture – a tiny Japanese cry of alarm – tiptoe upstair without turning on the lights –
No – it won’t work. George tries several times, but he just cannot make Lois go up those stairs. Each time he starts her up them, she dematerialises, as it were. (And now he knows, with absolute certainty, that Kenny will never be able to persuade her even to enter his house.)
But the play has begun, now, and George isn’t about to stop it. Kenny must be provided with a partner. So George turns Lois into the sexy little gold cat, the Mexican tennis player. No trouble about getting him upstairs! He and Kenny are together in the front room, now. George hears a belt drop to the floor. They are stripping themselves naked.
The blood throbs deep down in George’s groin. The flesh stirs and swells up, suddenly hard hot. The pyjamas are pulled off, tossed out of bed.
George hears Kenny whisper to the Mexican, Come on, kid! Making himself invisible, he enters the front room. He finds the two of them just about to lie down together –
No. That won’t work, either. George doesn’t like Kenny’s attitude. He isn’t taking his lust seriously; in fact, he seems to be on the verge of giggles. Quick – we need a substitute! George hastily turns Kenny into the big blond boy from the tennis court. Oh, much better! Perfect! Now they can embrace. Now the fierce hot animal play can begin. George hovers above them, watching; then he begins passing in and out of their writhing, panting bodies. He is either. He is both at once. Ah – it is so good! Ah – ah -!
You old idiot, George’s mind says. Bue he is not ashamed of himself. He speaks to the now slack and sweating body with tolerant good humour, as if to an old greedy dog which has just gobbled down a chunk of meat far bigger than it really wanted. Well, maybe you’ll let us sleep, now?

– fragment from Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man

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Filed under Letterlove, Parallels, Poetrylove, Pseudointellectual

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