Once there was Grayzo and me,
now there is only me. By twelve,
when servants have closed the bar
and gone wherever they go to sleep,
the Club is my own. I am drunk
as usual tonight, weaving my way
to bed through the hushed saloon
with its ropes of cigarette smoke,
then out to the balcony steps.
It was here that Grayzo stopped me,
using his pompous ironical voice:
Permit me to show you the plans
for my villa. The Villa Grayzo –
my home when I leave you alone
in your filthy repellent India.
There it was spread on the lawn –
a ground-floor of elegant rooms
sketched in the dew. The hall,
Grayzo skipped into an oblong,
Now, the dining-room. This has a view
for miles, right into Tuscany.
Olive groves, cypresses, valleys ...
I stare as he stared, at the blank
white wall of the residents’ block.
And this is my bedroom, done up
in charcoal and pink. A symphony.
Here I make love. O caro mia.
Then he was dancing, hands clasped
while he wobbled a slow pirouette
shouting Come with me. Come soon.
But I shook my head, and walked
with the same unsteady steps as now
to my room, where I lay in the dark
fully-clothed. I dreamt him beside me
all night, packing my cases –
his frantic rustles and slammings
and Caro. O caro whispered again
and again until dawn, when I woke
to the sun on my shutters as always,
and silence, and nobody there.
Send Letters To:
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN
Please include name, address, and a telephone number.