Romanticism in Unsure Times / Gary W. Hartley

I fell in love with Flux just before she started to become popular. All the doomed wannabe lovers have a similar story. A minor tragedy of sorts, a little along the lines of that Kraftwerk song. The one where she’s looking good, but for everyone. No possibility of exclusivity, and why should there be. Catchy hook, that one. There are no catchy hooks with Flux and that’s her central appeal. The kind of love-fall that’s not an on first sight type of thing, it’s more an unexpected trip hazard and a chasm with slippery sides. It waits for you all stealthy and before you’re compos mentis a kind of free descent or swirling effect has long kicked in and you’re duty-bound go with it and struggle with it and go with it again. Flux won’t say yes or no explicitly, for reasons both demure and truculent, but it’s a no alright. She looks over your shoulder for better offers to reject in due course as you gamely improv poetry about synergy and fixity. There’s no chance of being friends, no contingency prize of faux-affable dancing in her glow, so I’m chucking down The Lovers card again and again and hoping for an impossible prescience. As far as I’m aware she has none of them, friends – just the innumerate hangers-on, the many versions of yourself. Lovers and losers, lexical proximity may be no accident.
Hanging in there is said to pay off in numerous case studies never cited specifically but there’s a constant sense of absolutely not as you court Flux. Her star rises and you stay in the same place, albeit slipping down by comparison. You hug ankles then shadows then ideas of shadows and you know it’s the absolutely wrong thing to be doing but you give thanks for all stages of the decline. There is always one last time to send a Valentine, one last minor burn from the cigarette ash you lovingly pick up as duty and wage. Needless to say, no action will change a thing. There again, very few do in any situation. This might after all be the best approach, getting comfortable in your own niche of kinetic stasis. There are heart-shaped amulets of not-insignificant value to snatch as I hurtle, complete with zany sound effects and her business card, I’m sure of it. Just haven’t hurtled enough. It is a convincing argument to say that idiotic persistence pays off to more or less the same extent as a high street bank account.


Gary W. Hartley is from Leeds, but has voluntarily exiled himself to Athens for the time being. He used to co-edit The Alarmist magazine, and has a book of poems out on Listen Softly London Press.


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