Love Lives in the Basement

10 Feb

I done an edit. Any comments very much welcome . . .

Love Lives in the Basement


Love is an Italian wine taster,

tends bars along the Tiber for free,

writes travel pieces for magazines,

patronises Palladio, Via della Pace,

flies private, one house in Rome

a second by the Ionian sea,

swims summer blood red,

wears drooping eyes

and open shirts like trophies, we


went to visit love in Sicily.

Met him at the airport.

The reek of Armani silk

and inside pocket leather,

the something off-hand said

about the weather

that sounded like a poem,

and we felt our veins jump up

and changed places.


Messina to casa d’amour in an hour

He parked the Ferrari in the garage,

trailed fingers like piano keys

across the bonnet, took us see

the gardens, the lake, the ivory baths,

white sand beach, gold taps,

served champagne, played games

with the hairs on his chest.

Sung us to rest in beds fit for his guests.


That first night, I dreamt of love

and saw him naked,

heard his tip-toe escape, latch click,

smelled the disappearance

of his terracotta lips,

felt his Sergio Rossi boots kick

the flagstone path,

tasted the chestnut door slam back.


I stepped onto the landing,

snatched the staircase,

three steps with each step,

stood in the kitchen, distraught,

lungs rasping.


The open door of the basement tutted,

invited me into the gloom.


There I saw him, more clearly

Than my own hands before me.

He had less hair and was rounder at the waist.

More luggage under his eyes

than my rucksack and suitcase combined.

I asked where the other face was,

the one with the voice like bubble bath?

Away. Recruiting. Not due back.

I looked at love, his heavy back pressed

to the peeling brick, saw something

change places in his trenched face,

behind the ice-cream smeared across his lips.

He took another mouthful, offered me a spoon.


In the morning, there was not a sound

in the house above us

as I lay curled into love.

The basement door was shut.

I couldn’t tell you

whether or not it was locked.



One Response to “Love Lives in the Basement”

  1. secondanne February 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I’m not sure what you’ve changed? But it seems more personal, I feel a bit like a voyeur at the end. Did you mean to say
    “took us see
    the gardens, ” instead of ‘to see’?
    I’m not sure what ‘swims summer blood red’ means? Am I being dumb?
    This poem is great – especially since you will have been hosting in such a jovial manner and then hit them with this – I think it will have real impact.

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