Another inventive piece from Matt Miller!
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,
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, silk sheets, 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 downstairs,
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,
Love was nowhere,
and everywhere but here.
The open basement door 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.
Matt Miller has been performing poetry and facilitating workshops in Nottingham since October 2011. He has also performed in Newcastle and at the Olympic Park. He is studying Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Nottingham and is into green pesto in a kinda big way.