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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


It Works

I had such a perfect love for you:
you didn't have to break it open
to see what was inside.

Can you fix it?

27 July 1989
I think the last poem I wrote for Carrie, although not necessarily the last one I wrote about her (or at least us), was ‘Broken Things’ (#963) in December 2007. It is I have to say a far superior poem to the one above and yet both tackle the issue of love as an imperfect thing. Love is such a huge topic in literature and yet the more I read about it the less clear I find my definition of what love is—let alone what true love is—has become. The subtext in the above poem is trust. Trust seems like an essential ingredient when it comes to defining romantic love and yet even when a partner lies to and/or cheats on their mate it is possible for a relationship to hobble on and even to heal itself but fixed or not it’s never the same. 

When one of my aunts came over from Canada in the mid-to-late sixties she gifted each of her nephews and her niece a silver dollar. My brother and sister both mercenarily exchanged theirs for sterling but I hung onto mine until not too long after I wrote this poem when F.’s son stole it. Whilst visiting America with Carrie we visited a flea market and ran across a stall where, amongst other coins, the vendor had a whole tray of Canadian silver dollars including one from 1965 which would’ve been indistinguishable from the one I’d lost and yet I didn’t buy one because it wasn’t the one which was idiotic because it would’ve been identical and I regretted it afterwards. 

I think one of the stupidest questions we can ask anyone is: Why do you love me? and expect a serious answer. I’ve genuinely loved several women in my life—and been besotted by numerous others—but once I found myself in love with my second woman, although she was only a girl at the time, and compared my love for her to my first love I started to realise even back then I’d got it all wrong. Nowadays I’m simply grateful what Carrie and I have works without feeling any pressing need to question, analyse or understand it because I really don’t understand it. Understanding’s overrated.


Gwil W said...

666 and an amazingly high number of past their prime viagra men will buy 666 registration plates for their cars but not really without reason for in German areas the joke is that the number is sex sex sex

Jim Murdoch said...

I’d never heard of that before, Gwilym . I did think to write a couple of paragraphs about the number of the beast but I get bored with all that religious stuff. On one level it still fascinates me, from a psychological/sociological point of view, but other than that I’m done. I feel about it much the same as I feel about numerology, lucky and unlucky numbers. I know external forces do affect us and often in ways that’re hard to quantify or predict but numbers! Nah. Of course the ‘666’ thing is just a visual pun I know that (three times for emphasis, very biblical) but that would make more sense if it was ‘bbb’; if ‘666’ suggests anything to me it’s impotence.

Gwil W said...

I think the number of the beast as it's called has something to do with King Solomon and also with Rome. I keep meaning to research it but never seem to find the time. As an afterthought, was it Goethe who set out for the Holy City of Rome three times but never got there? Sometimes I just can't be bothered looking-up any stuff on W'pedia. I'm in one of those periods. I just put down what is already in my old grey box.

Jim Murdoch said...

This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. – Revelation 13:18.

There are loads of theories as to the identity of the beast, Gwilym. Most suggest a political entity especially because of what it says in the previous verse: “that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” I’ve heard theories that the number might be a digital code or something. Some have said that there will be literally six hundred and sixty-six such marks.

My understanding—and by that I mean what I was taught growing up—is that the number is symbolic and nothing more than an identifying mark. Numbers in the Bible are often symbolic: 7 stands for perfection, 12 for organisational completeness, 3 for emphasis and so on. As 6 is one short of perfection it symbolises imperfection and therefore 666 is merely a way of emphasising just how far from perfect the beast and those who serve it are. A similar logic is used to underline God’s perfection: “And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. – Psalm 12:6.

If you believe all of that.

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