Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


Lesley (For T.C.D.)

She walks like a model:
Quietly erotic,
Modelling herself.

Alone, she walks.

Like a mannequin.

Erect and breastless:
Like a soft focus bride
She walks without flowers.

12 April 1982

Lesley was a real person. She worked in our office. Unlike most of us her workload covered the entire floor and we’d see her each morning slowly walking up and down the floor—it was a long office—pushing her trolley and doing whatever it was she did, filing I suppose or collecting files; I never did find out what her job was. It took me a while to learn her name because we never interacted and I had no reason to be in her department but somehow I managed to learn her name was Lesley and she was married. She must’ve been about twenty, slim but not skinny, and she walked bolt upright—fantastic posture. You would honestly have thought she was pushing her trolley along a catwalk.

I can’t actually remember what she looked like. SheLouiseBrooks had her hair cut not long after she started and that made all the difference. She had jet black hair and went with what I’ve always thought of as a pageboy style but what do I know about women’s hair? My wife tells me it was just a classic bob, the kind of style that was popular in the twenties. She looked like a little China doll—that’s how Coleen Moore described her bob—and she had the perfect figure to be a flapper. She reminded me of Louise Brooks and had a similar magnetism. I don’t think I ever saw her smile but now I’m idealising her. And that’s the point here. I never got to know her. I never talked to her. We acknowledged each other at the bus stop a couple of times and once in BHS and that was it. Now she’ll be in her fifties like me, probably still married with grandchildren and no longer svelte but that’s not how I remember her.

T.C.D. was my best friend at the time. He was also completely taken with her. I imagine we were at the front of a long queue. He’s married to my first wife now. Interesting that I went back to capitalising the first letter of each line here. Wonder why I did that.


Kass said...

A lot of interesting information here, but the poem is quite lyrical.

PhilipH said...

An intriguing recollection of a previous time.

I think you would love to encounter her again, but you'd probably be disappointed.

Jim Murdoch said...

This is one of those poems it’s impossible for me to be objective about, Kass. I have no idea what anyone else might see in it. I only see her but not only her. What I am struggling to remember is where my desk was. The desk I remember faced the end of the office and yet I have a clear memory of watching her walking up the office. That’s the problem with memory. You can’t trust it.

And, Philip, you’re right which is why I’m rather glad I can’t remember her surname because that way I can’t look her up on Facebook. I’ve found several people in recent months that I knew many years ago and Time has not been kind to them. Time’s not been especially kind to me either but I like to think now I come with added character.

Ping services