There is an order to words. They require a certain moment in which to be spoken. Sometimes though we say things out of turn. And it all comes tumbling out, messy, and the order is broken. The order can be temporarily repaired through denial and suppression. We pretend so we can retain the sense of reality we had known; the forms we had made. Saying something violently uproots our precious securities.
Saying something has always been a favourite poem of mine. Carol Ann Duffy’s beautiful words blew my 15 year old mind as I peeled back the sensational nature of her language to pick out the styles and metaphors in my GCSE English exam.
I see you turning on the lights.
I remember this line being a point of contention. What could it mean? Surely it means more than someone was clicking a light switch. No it is a double-layered symbol. Turning on the lights: light of my life, relight my fire, you’re my flame – love and light, the cliches are endless.
For me I was always curious about those last two words: saying something. “This does not necessarily just refer to a verbal expression” remarked my English teacher. And true, the things that are said rarely capture the intent. Love poems always border dangerously between the cliche and tacky.
It dawns on me I should really stop writing about love. Try my hand at something I actually do know: death, loss, darkness. Let me describe the absence for love is always an excess; grotesque and greedy.
Saying something. Words tend to caricature the emotion, the experience. And so we are left with the silent bodily sensations, the indecipherable, the formless, the transitory. And now I see it all just seeping away, a pitiful death, it never happened, I never knew you, it was only ever a lie. Exhausted the language, no codes to express. I’ve already said too much.