Friday, 26 April 2013

24. She Holds Her Breath

there is time, later,
to become a better swimmer

later, when she is not
on the bottom of the ocean

there will be time to learn knots:
sheep shank, clove hitch, studding sail

it's hard to fly a hundred kites
when you're playing tug of war

cliff's edge and crackers
and if you let go, he falls

it's not about gold medals yet
or a shiny gold cup

it's a high wire and holding
the breath against the wind

23. Skittish

skittish, I try to listen to a pop song
eyes swollen and out of season

I have no patience for pop songs
the geraniums are all still parched

skittish, impossible to settle here
the blue-tits plot a barricade

I am willing to let them all take over
ripe chirrups marvelled on the floor

let's befriend the birds and beg
happiness like ruffled feathers

I keep on waving mine for subplots
skittish, ever-reaching for the door

Monday, 22 April 2013

22. Clover

It was effortless.

He did not move
from where he sat, but
like a long giraffe
moving its nose
to water.

He said, “I am lucky.”

For six days, I scoured
that green Sahara
dizzy & cross-eyed with

I found nothing.

They say to find water
in the ocean
is effortless, but

in the desert
you get tricked
by the sand.

21. Ladybird

even now
through these
broken saucers
& hearts askew
ankles dragged
in mud
—through you—
even today
a ladybird
stutters across
a counter
& my heart
sits straighter
believing in
the warmth
of the sun

Sunday, 21 April 2013

20. Waiting

There is nothing I can do
but wait—trees will hiccup green

again from brown brittle throats,
waltzers will whirl and whoopee, and we

will remember the holy goof,
the guffaw.

I will wait out this, the dark
that crisps and curls,

burnt paper corners
in the embers of fire.

I have nothing but
holding out for happiness,

as sweet and as sharp as
the first asparagus spear.

Friday, 19 April 2013

19. Bitten

hungover &
not worth a damn

all I can think of
is the smell of
burnt corn
and the creak
of yellow

things between teeth
for biting
is a balloon
to a hatpin
I am smitten

moving beneath
the sheets and
marks in the skin

my new favourite photographer

hell yes, Pierpaolo Ferrari

everything about this

Thursday, 18 April 2013

18. Genie

Sometimes, I
am a genie
who got drunk
and smashed
the lamp.

I follow
children down
the street,
holding out
like lollipops.

No one seems
to turn, the
children don’t
my breezes.

and out of
wishes, I am
a genie, but
mainly I
am just
a fool.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

17. News

I have given up the news,
those opinions calcified like
ancient rock monoliths
built to lasso the sun.

For years, my eyes
paid penance.

Looked upon the worst
of this world's stories
until I too was a
solid wife of Lot.

I have quit all
that now.

There is still blood,
revolution, tax,
bile, the boats
of sailors sinking.

It did not change
a thing.

A chirruping blue-tit
reads the barcode
of the sky
and has worth.

More worth than
all of my watching.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

16. If you are going to be wise

if you are going to be wise
be foolish
seize the day
as decapitated chickens

take off
your safety locks
and let
the mariachi band burn

take off
your buttons
and have your coat
become cape

if you are going to be wise
be falling
feathers, or flying
barbecue ash

be lighter
than neon,
unknot like
greased threads

if you are going, go
places, even
places you
can not spell

a heavy conclusion
is not
the only
wisdom here.

15. Time

In ancient China
people did not measure time
with ticking-hand clocks.

A stick of incense
the length of some man's thigh bone
burned the day instead.

Hours pass in camphor,
patchouli, champa—the ghost
of time is sniffing.

Today is first spring
the air reeks of bumblebees
and I can smell time.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

14. Happy spring haiku

Balcony sunbeam
Computer screen is dazzled
Already, I quit

13.This is a stick up

Okay. This is a stick up.

This is me telling you to cut the crap, princess cowboy.

Take a hike up the long hill and survey the capsized fruitbowls of the land.

Take a walk.

I'm going to stick around and check out my kingdom and

feed the goats used love letters from stupid boys who thought they'd last forever.

Lazerdolts and bang bang fools.

I am channeling a tunnel from the top of my brain

to the hypocritical sky horse

and asking the clouds what thundering hooves they have for the day.

I am asking the sky.

My heart is a glowstick dropped in a waterfall and

all the while you are trying to learn surrealism from the psychic fish.

The snow is over, amigo. The sun is out.

Time to quit all this weaving and bedward mulch.

Wild optimism in the chest like mushrooms through asphalt.

Fields of wild garlic stinking up the soil.

Friday, 12 April 2013

12. Moment

The moment before
I tell you
is the softness of water
at the top of the waterfall—
as clear and spun
as molten sugar candy
trawled round a
cold metal stick.

11. Everything

I did something,
and that counts for nothing more than chickens.
Or tulips.
That counts for nothing more than a tiled room with patterns all over the walls,
than a girl who is sitting and staring at her face in a mirror,
wondering how it got to be so round.
You count for more than me.
You can.
You start counting whenever I sit up and it is motivation enough to keep sitting up,
to stand,
to pull myself from this bed and start to think about the day.
My heart is twenty different hearts at once all standing on the starting block,
ass cocked to the air,
waiting for the bang of the gun.
I tell myself that it matters which heart is the fastest,
which one makes it to the line first,
which breast breaks the ribbons
—but it does not.
There is nothing wrong with hearts in tandem,
just like there is nothing wrong with placing hope on a flower unfurling,
even though the bud has been closed for seventeen weeks,
even though the hospital room is wipe-clean antiseptic smell.
There's nothing wrong with antiseptic,
because infection is the dusty mother elephant who will stick around forever,
until her baby dies.
There is nothing wrong.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

10. Pigeon

Do you believe that rainbows
are made of
crocheted birdseed
planted in the sky 
to help pigeons transition
from crappy sky rat
to dappled grey angel?

God must prefer
those rumpled beasts,
cloud-pecking like
sewing machines,
than a thousand
ruffle-feathered doves
carping about this sky.

It turns out heaven doesn't have half
the gravity that makes flying a ball.

It turns out heaven's in space.

The doves are pissed to be
chosen swoopers
in a land that is nothing
but weightlessness,
pissed to see folks in the clouds.

The pigeons are busy
in heaven
eating kitkats and laughing
about pavements
in space.

9. Fensterln

I want a word
for the change
of light in spring.

The first light,
the belly flop,
so green and so gold.

In German,
there is a word
for climbing in a window

to fuck
without your parents
noticing, but

this spring is
an old, oveslept drunk,
too long in his sackcloth.

I want a word
for your bed
in the winter.

An underarm crook
word, a blanket fort

Sunday, 7 April 2013

7. Time travel

We waited out the darkness and today our reward for loyalty to the air is a trickle of hot dry sunbeam paw prints across the back of my neck, so I purr and I wriggle and adjust to the fur.

Belle and Sebastian on the headphones because nothing is so loud as music when there's no air between it and you: snare drum / ear drum, it's all the same.

Nothing in my skin crackles so much as the thought of legs that run like propeller wheels, like church clappers, like the hands of a clock set to accelerate, trying to count up to tricking the system.

My philosophy teacher wore a pocket watch and taught us how to build time machines, he said all we need is to get the big stick rolling until it reaches the speed of light. But better not, better not he said,

because if we're learned anything from Hollywood's henchmen
it's that the past is a gnarly hillock and you're bound to get tangled, you're bound to fuck it up.

More coffee please, coffee ratatating like a windup metal monkey with his proud red drum.

This year we will sit in the park with wicker whimsy, you'll pour me prosecco and my heart will be the wet red strawberry in the crook of the glass, bubbles swarming and shivering all over its skin.

Wouldn't you like to get away? they sang, and all the Saturdays of solitude said yes yes yes run.

Well, you can run all you like, but eventually the doors will all close, eventually the sun will emerge, eventually it all comes back to kicking a balloon in a circle, being told to keep it up,

realising you could spend all day staining your knees on the green gold grass, realising the balloon could go out with a pop or a long slow sigh, and neither one will destroy you.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

6. Space breakdown

Breaking down in space is not like
breaking down on the motorway
where the other cars continue to hurtle.

It is much, much slower.

We judder like a girl trying to tamp
down giggles in math class, we sink
like a cushion tossed in a lake.

The dials are flashing and sputtering
like neon peonies, the dashboard is Vegas,
but my pockets are all out of chips.

The spacecraft is rolling down a hill
with its arms hugging its shoulders,
daisies tearing into the sky like a shaken snowglobe,
grass stain elbows,
can this really be the endless black out there?
It looks so very, very green.

Soon we will careen into the big rock
and shatter it to shards, to the farthest end
of the cosmic pool table.

I hope the pieces get snagged
upon far off galaxy brambles.

I hope they light up lifetimes from now
as new constellations to bet on,

new horoscopes
for a distant world
date night and destiny.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

4. Do you?

Do you believe in roads and pennies and past lives
in magic carpets and genies
in the concept of a Holy Land
the prevalence of broken bottles
and the smell of the sun?

Do you believe that snow melts in springtime?
Do you believe in dinosaurs (I do)?

Do you believe that broken glass is the godson of gracious ladies,
that time turns like a screw driving into thick wood,
that even shavings could catch fire
if you stood before them with a magnifying glass
waiting for the sun to emerge from its home in the cloud?

Would you break a date with a guinea pig
before you'd tell the world the truth about your crotchety turd heart,
would you just cancel, straight up, like neon, flickering, fut?

It's so hard to watch the bulbs die
but nothing lasts forever,
not even the aftereffects of gold.

3. Holy Land

I would like to try on your destiny
like a cape, who doesn’t want
to try on a cape?

Who would say no—confess!—
to a retrograde holiday
in the Middle Age?

I still wake up from dreams of catapults
I still would storm a fort

Never mind the spill of boiling cauldron oil
don't fear the bubo’s ooze
or the dunking of heretics aligned with chaos

In your cape of destiny I can fly over
the rooftops the river the Styx

In your cape I can quit this Christendom

I can see all the way to the Holy Land
Burger starlets and letters down the hill

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

2. Matryoshka

Let me tell you a bedtime tale, Matryoshka,
About a planet where time is a lake.
The beings take air in their lungs, Matryoshka,
They understand what is at stake.

When life becomes too full of whim, Matryoshka,
They submerge themselves in the deep.
But to duck into time is a tease, Matryoshka,
You’re mulched into destiny’s creep.

Cause and effect are not fruit, Matryoshka,
To be carelessly picked from the hedge.
If time is a lake on this world, Matryoshka,
Then what is left after the dredge?

Inside you are lives yet unled, Matryoshka,
But each one is smaller than you.
We’re not what we once could have been, Matryoshka,
We are just the things that we do.

Monday, 1 April 2013

1. Where we are going, we don't need roads

Where we are going, we don’t need
roads, or storm shoes,
or oompah
bands to stomp
the cobbled morning streets,
dragging us from our slumber
with ripe mango trumpets.

We don’t need slumber,
quiche or cave walls,
not a single moment of
clutched coverlet
before the rev and rack
of the day.

Where we are going, we
believe resurrection is a two-part
joke played on sailors,
that crows are descended from dinosaurs,
and it must be spring,
because all the beasts are nesting.

Where we are going, we are
hot meat and cha cha.

We don’t need alarm clocks
or beep-beeps or adaptors so wake
me when we get where we are
going, when the road runs out,
at the last of the bassoon.

Or before that, wake me faster,
let the screams hurtle down.
Hit the horn with the flat of your palm.