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   Jacket 32 — April 2007        link Jacket 32 Contents page        link Jacket Homepage

Iain Britton

Lemurs and Missing Links in Loops

He keeps lemurs for pets. I
don’t mind as long as he keeps them

in the bush behind the shed
amongst the equatorial-looking flowers

which attract bees the size of birds,
or they could be bees which have learnt

to whistle from the camouflage of petals. He’s
not just a simian lover. I’ve been with him

picking grapes and fishing for snapper and
digging for spuds and hiking over green limestone-

hollowed hills. I’ve lived with him on the road
from London to Athens to Auckland. For medicinal purposes,

we’ve eaten from certain plants found
growing under trees. We’ve given MacIntosh toffees

to Franciscan monks, given them bubble gum to
help them salivate, to keep their prayers moist

and clean. He’s not only a simian lover
full of anecdotes about Australo-

pithicus and bipedals leaping down from
African forests, but he’s digitally reliant on frequent shots

of chemically-induced humour. He’s into
modern apartments, computerised music, synthetic

food. Flashy colourations. He laughs at the most
inappropriate times

articulating the bones in his body as if he were
made of wires and ready for lights to be

switched on. He encourages me to feel at ease,
be comfortable amongst his lemurs,

appreciate them for what they are - who they might be - for
he still believes in reincarnation. He leaps

enthusiastically into their environment
grunts, howls and grooms. He

loves his lemurs and composes songs for them -
high on branches he sings - O how he sings.

Together we’ve done the Soho thing, the Agora, the
Forum. We’ve seen the New Jerusalem in the

contents of a gutter. We haven’t entirely forgotten
how to eat or just be together sitting at a table. I

respect him for his idiosyncrasies, his courage, his
lunacy. I’ve learnt to live with the longer silences.