“I don’t care where the pieces are.” I said.

Of course, this cannot be true. I meant to imply I don’t care where he is, as long as he doesn’t try to pin me. 

Later, he said “If you think I am some king-”

I could have stopped him there. A clumsy knight on a small board, only a monopoly property, a collection of listed buildings, front line of one battle between rich and poor, connected and disenfranchised, and inside an entire swirling life of privileges and disappointments, of failing to live up to expectations, of making it and not making it, of opening  letters to see your grades, the judgement upon you, the codes of conduct, Les regles de jeu, the crimson rising to the cheeks of the transgressor, the urgency of the moment behind the chip shop, the flat cap, the outsider looking in, the streets paved with gold, the relatively comfortable childhood home, coins in the fountain, Dickensian Christmas days, the peeling of an orange…

And beyond the window, a snowstorm.

If the desired outcome were an easier time, to keep me hence, for a little while, then wrong move. I burn brightly , too brightly some say, and my attention focuses on those who cause ripples within and around me. This is my meagre gift and curse: I feel as waves the ripples others ride. My board unbalanced, into the black water I go. Big fish, little fish swimming in the water. (Come back here man and give me my daughter). 

In the Samuel Lewis Buildings on Liverpool Road, the neatly composed Scot, each movement quietly thoughtful, her posture well aligned, “We have been engaged in navel gazing.”

Omphalos. I am not supine on the New River, the tendrils of my flower 

sleeping,  the skin of the green algae

bathing, the early evening sunlight

splashing, coins on the glass table

dancing, discarded cans of lager

rattling,  the clatter of the pieces

swimming, in my enamel coffin

growing. 

I come up for air. The bishop bobs by, mocked by the great blue sky and the deep green sea. 

“Yes, you are entirely correct. Homosexuality is not a sin.” she does not say. She hides behind her castle, welcoming, inclusive, and other decorous adjectives. Coward and dissembler.

Every action is power, every actor a metonym. I am a lighthouse. Batten down the hatches and lash yourself to the mast, we are steering hard to port.

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