Circles

and pick the city from our
teeth like it’s the day before
the dentist and we’re desperate
to look our best:

We head west. Sydenham roundabout
to North and South Circular, A road
to Ring Road, streetlight patterns
stir your skin, I hold the taste of the word
distributor on my tongue; we
cross the Severn, keep on going,
cross Wales, keep on going,
cross the Atlantic, keep on going, you
make circles on my palm with a
fingernail, we make love in a diner
toilet somewhere on the Michigan
border, you say keep on going but I
don’t: we stop but not for long, write
emails, charge our phones, you make
circles on my scalp with a thumb,
we keep on going, cross Dakota,
keep on going, cross Montana,
keep on going, we make love in a
Best Western double bed on the edge of
Portland, you say keep on going and I
try and you stop
wearing the perfume that I like, I stop
remembering to shave, you make circles
on my back with your tongue and we
keep on going, cross the Pacific,
keep on going, cross China,
keep on going, find ourselves
far from home,

Far from home the centre decays,
we lose track of time and space, forget
the smell of tears and the shape and
texture of things behind us,
remember that once everything
was made of dust, dissolve into the orbit
of a hundred falling satellites, cross a dozen
countries we don’t recognise under boiling
golden light, keep on going because the
taste on our tongues of the words
keep on going is better than having the energy
to stop, find ourselves at home:

Catch the Tube from King’s Cross to
Canberra despite signal failures
on the Circle Line, make love against
the glass wall of an H&M, try again
and again and again to keep on going,
fill a house with Ikea pictureframes,
fill a house with John Lewis wet dreams,
fill a house with hopes and fears,
fill a house with old saltwater,
fill a house with the corpses of lovers,
fill a house with an identical house but in
pastel colors, fill a house with everything
we could ever want but in pastel colors,
fill a house with poetry and sweat,
fill a house with our own bodies, with a
chamber orchestra, with cookbooks, with
cow hearts, with clementines, with trees,
with enormous headless birds, with

Empty the house, put it into the backseat
of a Toyota Aygo, it’s roomy if you
just know how, leave the house, sell the
house (or never own the house
to begin with), sit in the Toyota Aygo,
go nowhere, it’s suffocating if you
just know how,
in silence you make circles on my cheek
with your eyes and I glance up
and remember that the taste of home
on our tongues was always keep
on going, in the backseat of the Toyota Aygo
we make love despite signal failures
everywhere, it’s happiness if you just
know how, start the Aygo, keep on going

__

Raphael Kabo is a slam poet, quiet poet, and writer, whose heart, and some of his library, are split between Australia and the UK. Having finished university again this year, he is now re-learning how to read for pleasure.

Image: Paul Vincent

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