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Not Love Perhaps, A.S.J. Tessimond (Faber Finds)

 Maybe, it is not love. That is the repeated or nagging question of those selected poems by Tessimond. Little miracles of sweetness and wit in these texts, reflecting the haunting condition of lovers, cats ("no less liquid than their shadows") and stairs. Do you love me or not ? Is it passion or just boredom ? Our lovers love chatting after attempted escape from love. Tessimond may not be the most famous poet on this Earth and it is a pity for his work is deliciously sensitive and funny, the kind of giving you fun and making you smarter. Yes, it is possible to entertain yourself and reflect without hassle while reading poetry. Of course, it deals with love to embrace more than just love. It is about our failures as lovers, our vulnerability when it comes to feelings. We are haunted and obsessed with the figures of perfection, we still believe the charming prince will save us, and fill in all the gaps but animals like humans are deaf. We talk but don't listen, we have the right word at the wrong time. Love is always a matter of jet-lag and quantum leaps. That's why we need poetry not to understand it, but to feel it deep inside our bodies and minds. Love is about hate and hurting and "the passion that's never peace". A quest for rest and peace because the brain needs to sleep to reach serenity.

Let be; here's none but you and she and fate. / Your world's without dimension, distance, date;/ And all things come, fool heart, to those who wait."/"No, no. Love has dimension, distance, date;/ And all things come perhaps to those who wait... But some too late."

The poet loves playing with words and making fun of himself, of all the neurotic believers in love. Sometimes, just a need to be together and talk and find Earth less like an alien land, "a need for alliance to defeat", "a need at times of each for each direct as the need of throat and tongue for speech". This is really, merely, purely beautiful, at the same time stunning and moving, a heartbreaking loveliness that goes far off the shore, like the need of islands in seas where we would be understood by the sirens and where we could be purely ourselves with our nightmare faces, desperate for love. Love speaks to the lover, lovers speak to themselves and to ghosts, there are people too much loved or not enough who need to speak to a psychologist. 
No more time or place / Once I see her face. / Sorrow, doubt and fear / Leave when she is near / Warm, her eyes and hand, / wordless, understand.   She, although away, / Stays with me all day / In, below, behind / Blood and heart and mind. / She is where I go / She is all I know.
Sensitive ASJ Tessimond but not forgetting to be funny. These selected poems do not only deal with love but cats, daydreams, childhood, happiness, Chaplin, flights of stairs, the implacable streets, London, discovery and Edith Piaf, the neurotics... Tender images and refined pictures to seize the day. This is not love perhaps but, for sure, this is absolute love for the power of poetry as a time for solace, a suspended time in our foggy routine. Cunning poetry as smart and joyful as an invitation to dance.

Here we need not judge, decipher / Justify or understand, / And we fathom nothing deeper / Than the half-pint in our hand


Not Love Perhaps (selected poems), A.S.J. Tessimond, Faber Find



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