Love Songs #20 / Un Coucher De Soleil Accroché Dans Les Arbres

A lament for a burning beach-house. A lament for lovers reclining beneath a tree. The breeze. Le vent. Hearing it, I am always young knowing that I won`t always be young. In love properly for the first time. Drinking far too much. Sex every night, or writing verse for the want of it.

I was nineteen when I watched “37o2 Le Matin” in the Cinema in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. A red velvet and gilt museum more than a cinema. On a Friday night after the pubs had shut. The late show packed with couples and prospective couples. I had to sit in the aisle, on the steps, and spent a lot of the time watching the light from the bodies on the screen play on the faces of my friends and their partners. Some of them only having met that night. 

Making love in a single bed. 

That mouth. Slamming tequila. The actress, a blue postcard on my wall. A house on stilts on a beach, a yellow Mercedes in a field of gold. I remember the film starting with sirens, self-mutilation and madness. But it is not that way at all. I smile as Zorg takes Betty on his errands. Showing her off. I am back there in the dark. 

I am drunk upstairs at a Jazz club in town. You`re falling out of a red polka dot blouse. Brandishing a pout and a drink like weapons. Honey-scented hair wax that only made my hair curlier, and the hangovers more uncomfortable. Secondhand suits and old school ties draped over my lapels. A beaten up leather vanity case that I stole to keep my photographs in. Fully clothed, watching you undress. Dancing in second hand silk. Scarcely sleeping in an attic room. A study in elegant poverty. With love. And squalor. Postcards of Klimt, Egon Scheile. Doisneau. Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville. The Kiss. Old printed fabrics, fashion magazines, law books, and yesterday`s clothes. Candle-lit pasta and too much red wine. Your hips in jeans. Love`s uncontrollable laughter. I think we spent the most time laughing.

A polaroid against pink and blue. A happy time. Taken moments before it begins to unravel. Idealism versus compromise. An eternal search for a muse. Something unattainable. A swallow tattoo on her shoulder.

I am on an empty Liverpudlian beach in the rain in winter. Cold in two coats. A snapshot of your face pressed against mine. You looking cute in my jacket. I see a black and white photo of myself twenty-five years younger. Pushing the hair off my forehead, the morning after the night before. A scar from a steel comb. I am walking through the run down Victorians of Hyde Park. Sitting, watching the light at love`s window before heading home. I hear the music and recall your passion, and in hindsight realise all the effort you made. It was perhaps the only innocent love I ever had. Too young to know how happy we should have been. And too much ahead of us to show due care.

I play the record over and over, and I am made hollow, tears at my eyes. Like the horizon, loss fills me with wonder and makes me feel insignificant. The heartbreak of a piano duet remembered. More eloquent than anything I could ever write. 

I am sat on a pile of clothes in a corner of love`s room. Watching, once again. I can force a resigned smile. Sometimes. The film has affected the colours. All is now a deep but worn antique in memory. The red scarf over the lamp. The mirrors. 

The film. The film is long. I`m sure that not many with sex on their mind that Friday night stayed until the end. The music. The music seems to have played during every intense conversation, every argument, as we stretched to express ourselves in a series of clichés and idols. I was the unlovable pop star, before I was the beat poet, before I was the gangster. You were always Beatrice Dalle. 

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