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...dianne...



we met,
aged thirteen, me
badly scarred from two years
of systematic public humilation

and she, unknowing of same, and
beautiful in spirit...and form
and I, I fell
in love


but had no
 confidence in my worth...
and no understandings of the games
that human love entails


and, sadly
I still do not...compliments
from me are never ploys, they can only
come (truly) heartfelt

and are,
even now, awkward
in that my habits of self-denigration,
as a man, are so deeply etched
within


but, then 
I could not even offer her any, so
deeply had my self-worth
been diminished



but she,
she was beautiful and, yet
had no sense of same
as a weapon


and
sadly (again)
I have since judged all by
her standard, and found most beauty
deeply wanting, in this most
essential grace


 still, we
became friends, and she
admired my artwork...whilst I, I discovered blues
through her taste for its descendents

and, we exchanged gifts...awkwardly,
neither truly fathoming the roots
of our tastes


and, yet
briefly, we were soul mates, of sorts
or, at least, I was agape
whilst she


amidst her gentle spirit, that
always found humour - never worthlessness - in the failings of others
taught me not to blame my failings upon women
as so many sad misogynists
have done


she was
my lifeline - to the blithe spirit
of my lost youth and...as well, she seemed to better that
- to prove we can truly have more than unknowing joys, without
losing their flavour



the last
time we met, however,
was terrible




she’d left
school, being un-academic
- and, as all of us, unknowing of the times ahead -
as soon as she could

I’d stayed on...of course
a bookworm pre-destined for much, much more
 of the same


but,
mere weeks before
 leaving Croydon for good,
I’d accompanied my parents in a visit

to a new shopping centre...just opened out east

and, wandering aimlessly - I saw her...kneeling to a shelf
of products, that unthinking customers had disarrayed



my mind froze


as,
I suddenly realized
 that, perhaps...she might have
undertaken my uncertain journey with me...and, that
I owed this girl...kneeling before an array of worthless goods

more than I ever could say



we
exchanged
some commonplaces, in lieu of real
communication


and I’ve never - ever - seen her again



but,
 my failure...
particularly at this point
still wounds me


and,
I will remain diminished
by it.




we never
kissed, so this
is no conventional
confession of pubescent failure...no

- this was a failure of spirit -

to the one that had - crucially - begun to
heal my wounds


and that
is truly something
that I can never cease to mourn




John Henry Calvinist