Fugue — Dominic James


As though suspended in translucent stone

Or glass, each scene seems stagnant. Knowing less

Each day what cleft us, we crossed latitudes

To light’s edge (Russian); fled ourselves by train

To where the unrising, unsetting sun (weak gleam

On the horizon) bled each stillborn noon:


Lost twins. Across the window-pane, forms bloomed

And faintly fell along your collarbone.

All monochrome, the dead world whispered. Stream

Beyond: an abstract mass. Consumptive, hourless

Shadows sprawled asleep. Inside, the kindred train’s

Soft heartbeat lulled us into lassitude.


At times, we’d laugh, exchange quaint platitudes

From poems we’d deciphered by the moon’s

Milky half-light. Alighting from the train

By night, we saw the glacial sea. Alone

Together, something ceased at last. Familiar, wordless,

Shame-hot miles opened up between


Us. Dutch interior without the gleam:

Chaise-longing, you assume an attitude

Of Francophile anguish. I confess,

I drink the vision in: your stubble blooms

Smokeblue, your eyes pearl over – silken sculpture, lips sewn

Shut. Unheard confessions stain that train.


Paris, March. Although it hasn’t rained,

The window-panes cloud sulphurous with steam.

Some months have passed. The stubborn winter’s bone-

Grey skies persist – a quirk of latitude.

At Cinéma La Clef, I thought I saw you. Soon

The trees will thaw. Perhaps I’ll miss you less.


You often used to say tout change sans cesse

That deep down, all things imitate the rain –

Bloom, form, fall, fade. You’d say that nouns (take moon,

Or music) should be obsolete; the gleam

Of truth is in what lives – the verb. Your platitude,

Once freeing, sings me Sisyphal, my stone.


In hourless dreams, your fleeting figure gleams

And fades: a passing night train. Latitude

By moonlight changes nothing. Seascape: waves of stone.




Instagram: @domjam_

Display Image Credit: Dominic James

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