Dear Future Husband…

Candy-coated popstar Meghan Trainor is most probably your go-to source for marital tips, feminist tips, or indeed any sort of tip whatsoever. But she’d like to be. She’s terribly miffed that you won’t return her calls, in fact. So much so, that she has released a new single.

In her latest video, Meghan gives a set of amorphous instructions to her as-yet-unfound beau, all of which seem to be based on a fantasty 1950s suburban lifestyle. Blowjobs, it suggests, are off limits unless you open doors for her – her hands will probably be full anyway, carrying the bouquets and chocolate boxes you’re forever ferrying home for her whilst telling her she’s beautiful, visiting her family constantly and admiring her range of latex skirts.

Sex is all there is, really – her body (and her future hub’s desire for it) vs all the Things She Wants. Other than a slightly garbled verse about how she can’t cook (during which she is both cooking and scrubbing the floor) it seems that she’s offering the ‘perfect wife experience’.

We can all roll our eyes at this nonsense, we can write it off as twaddle manufactured for record sales, but it left me feeling weird. I feel a bit weird about marriage anyway (my dad recently made a comment about walking me down the aisle and I nearly punched him) but with so many of my good friends marrying at the moment, it is a constant white frilly presence at the back of my mind.

So if I do ever get married – if a partner and I ever desire it -this is probably what I’d say. I’ll be in a latex skirt at all times, mind you, because otherwise Meghan will think I don’t listen to her and I don’t want to offend her more than I already have.

Dear Future Husband [Partner],

I can cook. I adore cooking! I cook well. I will cook when I can.

I hate cleaning but also hate dirty houses. Cleaner negotiable.

Sex is not, and will never be, viewed as a reward, a bargaining chip, or something that can be withheld as punishment. I think too highly of your intelligence, our emotional intelligence, my own libido.

Finances are very weird. Let’s discuss them with a Finance Person.

Torn between a high-ceilinged igloo or a modern house we can heat. You choose.

Adoration of the aesthetics of religion as standard, but I don’t require you to feel the same. Participation not required, and please question me on it robustly.

There is going to be asparagus occasionally, even when we are poor.

If you can poach an egg, I will ensure that I always do a task you hate. Poached eggs are chiefest among all joys.

Bookshelves bookshelves bookshelves.

Gifts (like flowers) I buy myself if I wish, and I buy you if I wish. You do you on this one.

Patience and tolerance for each other, even in extremis.

Chatting the hard chats is a skill. Let’s learn it.

I don’t slam doors and I don’t live with people who do. See also: threatening language, violence, manipulation.

Cats plz. Hound plz.

My tiny shoes may get under your feet.

I promise to do my best, and to love you generously with all my heart for as long as I can.

Can we talk about having non-towelling towels because I’m not quite over that phobia.

ETC.

Modernism

[Been ages since I wrote a nonsense poem]

Is it modernist when….

the cities walls that rise are Paris, London, Troy?

Orlando is a girl – a girl? Orlando is a boy.

The time it lasts is vague, but the weeping is specific

and fascinating things go on, glimpsed over the Pacific.

The footnotes are all gone, just when you need them most,

and Eliot gets his dick wet in some grubby London boat

whilst Joyce moo-cows and lintels by the public bar,

and Woolf idly wonders where the women writers are.

Where the reading public seek relief from rationality

and find it in the pages of the Heart of Darkness’ savagery,

and nobody is anyone without difficult imagery.

And everybody cares about art vs machines,

meaning, well, nobody is quite sure what it will mean,

but mostly its to do with how they’re going to get paid.

All art of worth is intellect, and nothing is obscenity,

and Wyndham Lewis spends two decades, trying to get laid.

At Bay

At Bay

Wake me if it learns to speak,
if it brings props and mimes the journey.

Wake me if it needs fed,
and give it those old pets we didn’t mourn.

Wake me if it thickens up with dusk
and flick three switches: light, light, light.

Wake me if it’s sharpening its teeth,
offer it toffee, tongue-twisters, raw-hide.

But it came –
tail in quickstep rhythm
her dreaming of polished ballrooms,
sequins, sweet breath on collar bones:
took her soul like a damsel
draped over its muzzle,
talons so lightly ensuring
her eyelids were closed.

The depths of what won’t edit

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Vastly under-worked but honestly, I think we’ve reached the end of our short road. Throwing it here rather than throwing it out. Arguably dubious move.
Compromise

Rain comes at seven –

ten past, you want to walk outside.

Dinner, you pronounce,

can sit in the yellow light of the humming fridge:

in the yellow light of evening, we go out

and look at things. I’m starving,

and if this helps, you keep it to yourself.

 

In the bushes nothing moves. The wind

whips up the rubbish, circles, biting grit,

then lapses. Gulls shriek at nothing, trees

wrecked by too much summer, slump,

and I agree we’ll sleep in different rooms,

and dinner spoils. Rain stops at eight:

at nine I go to bed and dream of heat

that steams the wet off pavements,

dries the air.

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