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

Wednesday, 9 September 2015



Coming in the dark
as you did
I never noticed your approach
till after you'd arrived
and only then
because you stopped.

Though I couldn't travel with you –
I watched you from afar:
once you were safe
I followed suit.

(For F.)

14 January 1984

couple in the darkThere is a line in my poem ‘They’ (#571), “They come in the dark”, which I never explained or commented on in my accompanying notes. Most people reading it will assume that I mean these unnamed individuals, the “they” of the title, arrive under cover of dark to set up their kangaroo courts and/or carry out their summary executions. No. It’s much simpler than that. I mean they achieve orgasm without the lights on. I could’ve added—although I chose not to be explicit—that they’d be in the missionary position at the time; the pun would’ve been a bit too crude.

I never liked the ailurophobic wife. Her husband and I used to be good friends and so it was hard to hate him despite what he stood for but I could never warm to her. Sex is dirty and like any other dirty business you do it in the dark which is how I imagined them rutting. Of course if you’re engaged in fornication or adultery or any unnatural or unclean acts (according to them), well, “There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves” (Job 34:22) so you may as well leave the lights on.

This, then, is not a poem about literal travellers but as the great Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said.”

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