Love Lives in the Basement

21 Dec

Love is an Italian wine taster.
Lives in Rome, has a second home
in Sicily. He retreats there to wear
open shirts and drooping eyes like badges of
himself that He caught when He was 16.

Or so it seemed. We
went to visit love in Sicily and He
met us at the airport, reeking
of Armani silk and inside pocket leather.
Said something off-hand about the weather
that sounded like a poem. We felt our veins
jump up and change places.
Back at His place, He parked the Ferrari in the garage,
trailed fingers like piano keys over the bonnet.
Served champagne. Played games with the hairs
on His chest.

That first night, I dreamt of love and saw Him naked.
Heard, from downstairs the slam of a door,
went to explore, took a torch.
And some slippers. Love

was nowhere to be seen.
The open basement door tutted,
beckoned me into its gloom and I
couldn’t even see my hands as I
caressed the staircase.

I found him there, once my eyes had adjusted,
curled in a corner, eating ice cream from the tub.
He had less hair. Was rounder at the waist.
More baggage under his eyes than mine
and Mum’s suitcases combined. I asked
where that other guy was?
The one with the voice like bubblebath?
Away. Recruiting. Not due back.
I looked at Love, bent back racked to peeling brick.
Saw something change places in his trenched face.
He took another mouthful, offered me a spoon.

In the morning, there was not a sound in the house.
The basement door was shut.
I couldn’t tell you whether or not it was locked.

Matt Miller

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4 Responses to “Love Lives in the Basement”

  1. Adam Broome December 21, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    This is my favourite one – I particularly liked the line about the ‘voice like bubblebath’. I think the rhymes and rhythm work well, and it’s not what I’d call an obvious poem (because the topic of love can be obvious). Out of curiosity, is this poem about how love is initially fresh and mysterious, but grows into something else as time passes by?

    • Matt M December 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      Yeah I’d say so. It’s also about how love initially presents its glossy PR face – you’re not likely to see the bad bits straight away and its the breath taking bits that erm . . take your breath away. but proper love is getting to love the rough bits and losing breath anyway. Glad you liked it x

  2. Sacha December 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I loved the personification-very clever and truthful.

  3. mouthypoets January 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I said I loved this at Arvon and I still do. I could go on for a really long time in fact about all the things I like about it. The one new thing that struck me was the abrupt ending, which I feel really works! BUT I will stop there for now as I am on a time limit and I think this could be so great I would rather tell you what I think needs to happen for it to feel finished…

    QUESTIONS
    -Again I am curious as to how you have chosen your line breaks? I think by playing with line breaks and punctuation you could make this more punchy e.g…(I have also tried to avoid ing words as they can often be a weaker form of the word).

    Or so it seemed.
    We went to visit love in Sicily.
    Met at the airport. We reeked
    of Armani silk inside leather pockets.
    Something off-hand about the weather
    was said – sounded like a poem.
    We felt our veins jump
    change places.

    He parked the Ferrari in the garage,
    his fingers like piano keys over the bonnet.

    …Can you see what I have done? I am trying to focus on having as few words as possible so the action is clear and the words that are there are the strongest and have the utmost purpose.

    -I am not sure I understand what this line means “like badges of
    himself that He caught when He was 16.” ??

    -“More baggage under his eyes than mine
    and Mum’s suitcases combined.” —> this confused me, a reference to Mum? Is it mum’s lover or the narrators, up until their I assumed it was the narrators?

    -” bent back racked to peeling brick.” not sure what this means and feels overly wordy?

    SUGGESTIONS
    -Cheap rhymes I would like you to look at; explore/door,
    -Words I am generally unsure about; caressed, beckoned,

    Debris

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