A6 32pp ISBN: 987-0-9808656-2-2
$9.90 including postage
Semele is a single poem about the course of a love affair. It’s tender, witty, technically fabulous and totally engaging.
The reclusive Howard Firkin made an appearance to launch his Semele at the Ardlethan Poetry Festival. Where is Ardlethan? Out past Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Australia. If you wanted to see him and hear him read Semele and you missed it, too bad. His only social connection is his extensive email correspondence with the equally reclusive, and now dead but still apparently contactable, author of Catcher in the Rye, J.D.Salinger. His friend, Howard Hughes, considers Firkin to be anti-social. Greta Garbo has defended his right to want to be alone.
A taste of Semele
(The first two sections):
I use the names of lovers some of you
may know already. There's a reason for it.
So get on board; enjoy the ride. I'm sure it's
not past you and Google to review
their story, get the drift. So, on you climb.
You won't miss references if you don't try
the Greek or Latin—nothing is concealed
in this that simple reading won't reveal.
This is a simple story: girl meets guy
and nothing happens... slowly... over time.
You need to know her looks to recognise
her should you ever pass her in the street.
She looks like someone you weren't meant to meet;
her looks look inward at you, through your eyes.
You hear her name while staring at her lips,
her tongue, the way it flicks between her top
and bottom teeth. It's Semele. You smile,
because you'll always smile to meet her while
you wonder what to say to make her stop
and talk and shift her weight across her hips.
If you could paint her, which you can't, you'd paint
her curves in single, fluid lines, and cry
into your thinner, thinking hand and eye
co-ordination's just what this job ain't,
caressing her with camel hair and lust.
If she would let you, which she won't, you'd reach
your hand across her cheek and feel her breath
instructing you in ecstasy and death,
the only lesson beauty has to teach,
the only thing you can't learn and you must.
Can't picture her? I recommend you try;
I recommend you see her, watch her stand
before her mirror, glass of wine in hand,
her clothes around her feet... she shuts one eye
and looks, not long, not hard, but carefully.
She runs her left hand slowly down her neck,
explores her nipples, watches, as they peak;
she teases them with drops of wine; they leak
wine for the lover she does not expect
to lick her, kiss her, like what he will see.
She tumbles into bed. Her clothes left where
they lie, the carpet stained, her slowing heart beats,
her goosey skin still glowing through the sheets,
her body's warmth dispersing in the air.
She cannot wait for sleep; she seizes it.
He'll come again to her at night in dreams,
a face she knows but doesn't recognise,
a voice that whispers all her best loved lies,
a man who brings her everything he seems,
a man who knows her soul, who pleases it.