‘Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers’, by Sarah Clancy

Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers

“on the morning of the fifteenth time we went through
our sleep-with-your-ex routine, I had the usual optimism
thing about mistakes is to not keep repeating the same ones
I said disregarding the government health warning
on the cigarettes I was sucking, crossing the road without
stopping speaking or looking, ignoring the red man pulsing
on the lights at the junction, I was wired direct and I said;
I know, I’ll write you the definitive user manual for me.
You said I was arrogant that we should make it up as we go,
and I said; well could I do a mind map then? With
here be dragons marked clearly in red, so we won’t flounder
like last time end up washed up dehydrated and drained
well I was, fairly wired, I said ‘in each shipwreck we’re lessened
embittered, come on, let me at least try to fix it, I can write us
a blueprint for the new improved version, and you laughed
and said well damn you for a head-wreck, go on then and do it.

So I wrote, but it came out all stilted, like a work in translation
see when I say, let me fix that or give it here and I’ll do it
it means I need you, and if I tell you for example how
I’ll re-arrange the universe to your liking it doesn’t mean
I’m superior in fact, translated it’s about the same as the last one-
‘can you not see, how I need you? And when I come out with all those
‘you-shoulds’ that drive you demented, there’s no disrespect in ‘em
verbatim they’re whispering I’d be desolated without you
and when you call me control freak, the tendencies you’re describing
are inherently rooted in my fear of you leaving and how I’ll react.

Less-wired more hopeful I brought you my phrase book
on our very next meeting but you kissed my cheek and said
let me stop you a minute and then those awful words that never
signify good outcomes, listen I’ve been thinking… I know
we’ve got this weird cyclical attraction thing going and I’m sorry
for my part in it but really I can’t see it working, the problem
for me is how you just don’t need anything and my phrase book
had nothing listed under that heading.”

© Sarah Clancy

Thanks to Sarah Clancy  for the poem,  Phrase Books Never Equip you for the Answers , which is taken from Thanks for Nothing Hippies , which will be launched in April 2012, by Salmon Poetry. Hippy Get a Job , by Sarah Clancy, is here.