Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

I just found this poem in some old emails. Enjoy.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire

It rescues the photographs
crumpled, fading
washed with sunlight
til they are sea-green invisible
smaller unframed
like the kids who inhabit them.

It rescues the notebooks
not those elegant with poems
but the ones chiefly shopping lists
maps drawn by hand
telephone numbers
long ago doctors’ appointments.

It rescues receipts
for milk, butter, oranges
somebody’s train ticket
scoops them out carefully
from the battered old pedal bin
uncreases them.

Souvenir teatowels
at the back of the drawer.
A forgotten scarf
on the hallway cupboard floor.
Pudgy clay ornaments
shaped by playschool hands.

The dear routine. The detritus
of normalcy. It resuscitates the goldfish.
It reconstitutes a lifetime.


One good reason

The most recent earworm that I picked up is Budapest, by George Ezra. I heard it first at a karaoke, but it’s one of those songs which you think you already know – it has a kind of timeless quality. I had a similar feeling the first time I heard Amy Winehouse. I thought she was some incredible singer from the 60s I’d somehow missed before. Well, George Ezra is no Amy Winehouse, but Budapest is a great song.

I have just one problem with it. Unfortunately said problem is the whole entire premise of the song.

He starts the song by talking about all these fascinating curious things which he has in his possession – the famous house in Budapest (shades of Grand Budapest Hotel here?), a treasure chest, a castillo… and then in the manner of lovelorn young men everywhere immediately declares he will give them all up for the object of his love.

It’s never quite clear exactly why he might be required to do so, though faint stirrings of familial discontent occur in a later verse. However, should the possessions he lists be heirlooms then it’s a bit cheeky to claim them from the get go as “his” when they might more properly be supposed to be expectations. And if there is no real requirement for him to give these things up, then what really is the worth of his declaration? If I had to I would but you know, theoretically.

But it’s his wanting to give them up which is so worrying. Assume that your partner has a house in Budapest, hidden treaure, golden grand piano… Wouldn’t you want him to keep them? Don’t they sound pretty awesome? I’d be all like, no mate, don’t throw them away. Actually you know what, maybe we can just be friends. But friends that go on holiday to Budapest and chill out with the treasure and the piano?

Maybe it’s because I’m so affected by my recent experience of unwanted sacrifice in relationships. Because let’s face it, what really happens when you give up everything to be with someone is suddenly they’re all like, woah, what happened to the cool stuff you had? What happened to all your friends, and your superhappy Bohemian lifestyle? Oh hang on, you gave it up for me? Er, well, I’m not so sure I want you now. Devotion is lovely but when that’s all there is in a person’s life, they can become, well, boring.

So George, if you are listening, this is the one good reason you should never make the change. Find a way to get the girl and keep the house in Budapest. She’ll love you more for it.