You are alone in what they would call a new life. What they don’t know is that for you
nothing is old. A morning is always a question, as if you were a web living each day in a
different cell of itself, seeking.
Seeking maybe nothing, but in that mode, hiatus behind and before. It has seemed true
to take a sable cloth to the slate of fact and not only wipe but cover, occlusion of
the frame removing the form entirely.
Entirely it might seem, but like minerals that leave a trace in water, small events make change.
Tonight you have remembered a Columbian dress you bought on impulse at a Fairtrade sale,
Woven into your consciousness now like most of your clothes, but you wore this slinky to a
wedding and people remarked. For the first time you thought your body taut and that of the normal,
not a flop. You flaunted.
Flaunting was your wont in a sub-chador sort of way. Exclusivity was the bait, the prospect of
private vice. But you see in the mirror tonight a shape that could turn heads. There’s a Grecian
curve at the base of your back.
Back to where you sat huddled in a lone hut by a struggling fire, watching the small yellow flame
fight the red. You had crammed a bush into each windy gap of the hedge. Beyond, how could you know
several had gathered to your grace.
Grace was a false thing, you said, being rustic. But many thought you walked like a careless queen.
They took the switch in your hand for a sceptre, wielded fiercely against the meek, shaken at
Indifferently endowed, you thought you were, and hardly cared, except for the faint sense
of an untried trail. It occurs to your image now that you could have kept your own counsel,
sat straight-backed and been petal-showered.
Showering in what was given, you might have made some plans, not waited for a suitor to tear
at the bushes and tell you your mind.
climacteric in the extreme
the room darkens. foetal faces draw
spotlights from the dense matrix. she kneels.
not a whimper but centrifugal quake and strain.
ovular potentials huddle in lines for stringing
crowded and frozen onto a tight choke.
she hugs her shoulders, surrogate, unconsoled,
and a creature leaps out, trailing chains,
snarls and spits, goes surfing the tidal walls.
he will not come again to her bucking bounty,
her bawdy talk, her raucous primitive yells;
she will not be the bright-haired goddess of the barstool,
fabled and revered in ten parched villages.
hail of the ripped legend falls in blades,
a thing of flesh flames in the mouth of the monster
and she recalls a hard prophesy told in the spring grass.
lincolns rev on the melting brick
informants crouch in a lonely copse and beg for mercy
in the torture room the air sparks and yellows
black seeps into old pictures
and the girl with the lank dead hair creeps blindly from the screen.
she probes her body and finds a silent blowhole.
her fingers return a thousand red messages
that pool and brindle in the cradle of her palms.
if she screams she doesn’t know, but colours
curry the weather pumpkin, desert and vulva,
lunatic yellow, bum-in-the-gutter green.
she crashes, glass and glint flinging themselves too,
watches her eyes picked to the veined bone.
girl, crook and goblet smithered on the lizard-
(from ‘the second of april’)
Where is home except in repeated kisses of foot and ground.
I am having affairs.
With, for one, the bonded pavement, complicit as a slice of river.
I glide on ice,
step lightly on the unreflecting glass panel of a foyer floor.
Nakedness is rare.
I don’t tell how I used to take off my shoes and mesh my toes with sand.
But even that was a skim.
I slyly stepped on a rock and, recalcitrant, took off.
I pause at running water
and watch its inscrutable fingers take sun to rock in a work of art,
then abandon it, dissatisfied.
Among a tree I become a stretch of soil and burnt grass and harden.
There are always tears.
They seem to come from outside and wash me down until, like ivy,
I am again rambling.
On a tarred path my jaw is jolted by hard, inexplicable haste.
My ankles wound each other.
I bleed and wonder if I should spancel myself to slow.
There are creatures
who only pace the one field. Even a hobbled route finds knowledge.
I look at my feet and don’t know them.
Too long with my eyes on a misted goal has cost me my body.
Happenings are always outside.
Strange, when I see no walls. Where is the place of occurrence?
I thought life was movement.
Coming to gravel I have less ground and that brings thoughts of release.
Water is too deep
and I fear high places. To walk is the freest I can do and I wipe my tracks.
What will pass is the breeze
of a small body, non-native, a light touch on a puzzled cheek.