Splayed on the grass
In her yellow dress
In the sickly heat
Clings, defines and barely covers.
In the park they lock at night.
20 July 1983
I mentioned this poem when I published ‘Heat’ (#530) back in May. I find ‘Sunbather’ an inferior poet to ‘Heat’. ‘Sunbather’ is like ‘Atonement’ (#548), less of a poem and more of a setting for the imagination to wander through. For me it’s all about the last line. In my hometown none of the parks got locked at night. None of them had gates. This concept had obviously been churning away inside me. The Gardens within Blythswood Square are private and are owned by all the tenants around the square so it’s not unreasonable they’d want to keep the riff-raff out but I never thought about that at the time. There was a park and I was being prohibited from wandering through it. But here’s the thing: I’m not actually sure I’ve ever seen the park gates unlocked or anyone in the park. It’s always been closed-off to me.
A locked park appears in my new book:
Getting back inside the park was easier than he’d presumed it would be. He tried the main gates first on the off chance they might not have been locked. They were. He sighed and stared at the padlock. Inconsiderately Life had neglected to equip him with heat vision so at this exact moment all he could do was stare at it. There was a spider crawling slowly over the thing. A shaft of pearly moonlight caught it and he was so utterly transfixed by the beauty of the moment he completely forgot why he was there. It didn’t last and he felt awkward and conspicuous standing there once it ended.