Manchester by R.A.D. Stainforth


We both were in love
with an other–
not an ideal basis
for a relationship, though everyone likes to have
a witness to
their suffering–
still, there must have been
something else–his  sarcasm,
my sensitivity
to sarcasm,
his self-indulgence, my
self-deprivation, as in, when there were graduate school dinners
he insisted upon cigars while I boycotted
not just the pudding but also the cheese accompanying
the port meaning that all this happened
on cobble-stones
in the UK where
we ended up not in love,
not (oh my lord) in bed, but
in that kind of long-armed limp-led dance where, when I did not appear
for several days, he made
a search, and when he went undercover, I sent
notes–all the time knowing that each of us
was nothing
compared to the other–
that one who did not seek, write–but who, when he happened
to glance over
his beautifully sculpted nose looked
just beautiful–

unlike us, whose noses
when we walked in the rain (or maybe even not)
dripped, who guffawed
when we laughed, that is, who groaned
even as we laughed, and this, you see,
was the language we spoke to one another–
this friend and me–guffaw–which is not a language
spoken by just anyone–ha!–
not, at least, without an accent–no, you have to groan
in your bones to speak
it properly; you have to
have grown up
with rejection, to have learned by heart ache
the short “a” in cat, the long “o”
in rote, that “oo” sound
that makes up the moon that you jump over
again and again
as if you were a sodding cow, and as if, you know, cows
could jump, cows with legs too thin
for their bulks, and those long-keening


Poem of sorts for The Mag, hosted by Tess Kincaid, photo by R.A.D. Stainsforth.    Also linking to Real Toads open platform, hosted by Marian. 

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26 Comments on “Relationship”

  1. Kutamun Says:

    The quantum probability of you two moon calves intersecting in a meaningful way must have been infitesimally small but the universe is exponentially richer for it having occurred

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    This is really gorgeous writing, k. I started out a bit puzzled, but after walking with this couple a few steps, suddenly I totally understood the feelings at play here, that very very young first-fledged place, reaching out for anything it can get, even if not what it wants or needs, just *something* against the cold void of isolation–especially liked ‘…you have to groan/in your bones to speak/it properly..’ and the ending image of that very expressive cow.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I will have to look at it again (something I have a hard time doing sometimes)–but the beginning is likely confusing. I didn’t want to spell out too much about the other–that it wasn’t, you know, the same other–the poem ended up being very different from intended, and I still didn’t write the story I wanted, though maybe save that up for another time, story or poem–how these things go, I guess. Thanks. k.

      On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 10:23 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  3. Mama Zen Says:

    I simply adore this.

  4. Sherry Marr Says:

    WOW! This is one heck of a poem. I so love it, especially the difference in the noses, and the friends comfortable enough to guffaw together….I love especially everything from having grown up with rejection on.

  5. That little space separating “an” and “other” determines so much about this relationship, the shadow (or is it light?) of those others always injecting its presence into their space. That and cobblestones can be treacherous in the rain! I wonder how many of us have a relationship like this tucked away in our past.

    P.S. Thank you again for your valued input into my little workshop poem.

  6. Oh, haven’t we all sadled ourselves with such a relationship rather than have none. But how you describe this is delicious.

  7. Michael Says:

    This really is fantastic. Your voice shines through and I can just feel the emotions. Theres a Sam Smith song playing in my head while reading this….Oh wont you stay with me.

  8. Gillena Cox Says:

    all of the poems i have read on the list today (3 to be exact) carries a griot voice, incidentally mine does too; there’s the telling the tale and me reading, listening, a fine piece of writing, i so enjoyed this one also. luv the nursery rhyme image used so appropriately

    have a nice Tuesday

    much love…

  9. Jim Says:

    Such a nice, well not a really nice subject perhaps, write of one of many’s life detours. It brings memories, I won’t say too much more.
    No walks in the rain but a couple of nice motorcycle rides I still remember. Knowing the other’s expectations is hard at times like this too.
    p.s. My post is a new linking of my Sunday’s ‘near sestina’ for which you wrote such a nice comment. Thank you.

  10. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Oh, Karin.. what a poem.. what a keenly felt history. This has brought tears to my eyes for all the old loves and missed opportunities for longer relationships that slip away with our youths.

  11. Marian Says:

    Whew! This is wonderful to read on the screen, and I’d like even more to hear you read it. Wonderful. The old dynamic, self-indulgence vs. self-deprivation, that’s a hard one. Love this, Karin.

  12. Don’t want to complain, but why do you make us fill out such a form? I must laboriously write out my email address – why? I just want to comment. My name: that at least is easy. But then I must, again laboriously, provide my website. It’s to your advantage when you make commenting as easy as possible! Others do; so should everyone.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hey Berowne–I certainly don’t try to make it difficult. Unfortunately, the interface between WP and BlogSpot has become more and more difficult. I will check but I don’t think those settings are beyond my control. k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hey Berowne–just checked and I have loosest possible commenting–name and email are not required in my settings–but I think, unfortunately, that WP does this. Not sure I can undo. Sorry. k.

  13. Brendan Says:

    I read this and wonder if its those peripheral to our young, wondering, foolish hearts who may be the ones we were truly meant for, once we learn a little more what love is and isn’t. Very much like the process of getting to the truth inside a poem, rejecting the easy and the obvious getting to the depths down under. 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love” (or whatever it was called) was, strangely, the anthem of my first falling in love. Prophetic? There’s some indeterminate sag in this poem, as if you haven’t quite yet made up your mind on the matter. Or maybe that’s the point …

  14. Tess Kincaid Says:

    Excellent write…I hope he read this…by the way my nose dripped walking in the cold damp over there…

  15. I know I have walked down that road with someone…glad I took a side street. 🙂

  16. Susmit Says:

    Myriad thoughts, flowing all over….A powerful write!

  17. I like this, I can so relate. Those non-relationships sometimes are felt deeper and carried longer than the ones that take first lead. Well done.

  18. A really good take on this Magpie prompt … well done.

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