A Theology of Absence

Rupert Loydell is Senior Lecturer in English with Creative Writing at Falmouth University, the editor of Stride magazine, and a contributing editor to international times. He is the author of many collections of poetry, including Dear Mary, The Return of the Man Who Has Everything, Wildlife and Ballads of the Alone, and Encouraging Signs, a book of essays, articles and interviews, all published by Shearsman Books. He edited Smartarse and co-edited Yesterday’s Music Today for Knives Forks & Spoons Press, From Hepworth’s Garden Out: poems about painters and St. Ives for Shearsman Books, and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, an anthology of manifestos and unmanifestos, for Salt.

A Theology of Absence

‘The melancholics concern themselves with the
structure of doubt, rather than the structure of
belief, because doubt is inventive. Doubt
– Lisa Robertson, Nilling


If we had known where we were going
we might not have gone. ‘Paradise’
is mostly beige with yellow stripes
splashed diagonally across the canvas
and light orange hidden underneath.
It is poured and scraped and brushed;
not one of his best. I cannot face
reading any more of my poems
and was disappointed I am not
in the new issue of the magazine.

All night we emailed each other
with strange strings of association
and despair, questions about
whys and whens and wherefores,
ideas of what to listen to next,
ignoring each other’s answers.
Insomnia as a creative tool,
a fruitful exercise, not simply
being awake. You questioned
if either of us were actually real;

to be honest, I just don’t know.
It would take longer than this
to find out if truth or Truth exists
or are for the knowing, if evolution
and colour, time, or a theology
of absence are worth any more
debate or worry. I am various
and you are concerned. We move
millimetre by millimetre towards
comprehension and deep sleep.


[image: Ex Nihilo, Maquette, 2001 | Frederick Hart]

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