Wednesday, 30 April 2014

28. There is a Moment

There is a moment
when the house is quiet. I say
a moment, but
it is time spilled out like honey
on a countertop
beset by fruit flies.
I step into time and
my feet are sticky—what am I
supposed to do with this?
So many noises
oozing from the street;
so many pockets
for dust to collect in.
I prance through
the empty house
in babydoll lingerie because
the whisky is mine
the cigarettes are mine
there are no eyes left to see me.
Even the windows
are thick with dirt. Perhaps
I will choke
on an old, hard gumball
—there are so many things
to rise in my throat. But the house
is quiet, so the house
and I spoon softly.
There is a moment tonight
when the house is mine.

27. Happenstance

I tossed three coins upon the desk
believing they could read
the futures that the air impressed
the fortunes that we bleed

I trusted in the furls of fate
the thread that does unwind
belief in kismet was the bait
for my impressioned mind

The I Ching told me there was worth
in actions done with grace
for beauty, ritual, love and mirth
will set a steady pace

So trust in music, be afraid
of those who will not dance
The foundations of a life are laid
all else is happenstance

Monday, 28 April 2014

25. Jam

Snarled as backmuscle.

As the tangled jamboree bunting
from last year’s drawers.

I try to unwind the traffic.

Concentrate. Create a snake
of breath forever tailgulping.

When it slithers by their
side they’ll grow loose.

Relax. All this thrashing
will welter the barbs.

There’s no escape from
the black exhale of tarmac

exhausts panting, from the throb
of one another’s tyres.

Let’s sit here, for a while,
engines thrumming.

The motes in the air are
moments outside of time.

24. Rapeseed

Go to the fields of rapeseed. It doesn’t matter
how you get there—walk, crawl, hitch a truck
so long the caterpillars mock its axles. Just go.
Forsake everything for a yellow so ripe it unfurls
in your mouth with soft lion tongues that transmorgify
into attic cobwebs and leap headfirst into the breeze.
Don’t pause for thronged traffic or spilt sugar
or lover’s letters caught in the mail. Go—
I’ll be waiting, swaddled in pollen, drenched in dust.
Come on hands and knees to the field of rapeseed.
I’ll scald your eyes with gelb horizons, then
pull you to my level and make you sneeze.

23. Reek

I can’t believe I forgot the reek of spring-ache

The fists of leaves holding thunder’s last exhale

Last night I biked home through the park

Waltzers lolled from steel shafts &

Neon branches twitched pink and emerald

Last night I clambered on a Turkish carpet

Hooked my feet in the golden fringe

And pedalled for all I was worth. I am worth

Everything. I have earned this much spring

And more

22. Cups

we turn over cups
    believing the ball is beneath

this one / that one
    —we shadow the sleight

the movement of hands
    pheasant wings aflutter

tracked skin and
    everything is worth it to follow

me and you believing
    in springtime and skin—I

do not doubt that
    eventually we will flip

the cup and find
    a round white future

just ripe enough and exactly
    where we thought it would be

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

21. Nettles

A wise man told me:

    Wear gloves thick enough
to repel the nettles
    your fingers will be too fat
for the scissors’ holes.

I threw three coins and cast the mountain.

The mountain said:
    The heart thinks constantly
and I laughed,

for mine is steeped
    in lunge and whim.

I sat cross-legged at the mountain’s feet.

I asked of the mountain:

    Tell me how to conduct myself
for my electricity is fickle
    and impossible to earth.

The mountain sighed and shook the ground.

    The movements of the heart
        —that is, a man’s thoughts—
    should restrict themselves
to the immediate situation.
    All thinking that goes beyond this
        only makes the heart sore.

I left the mountain.

I drew a ring of daisies around
    these present lovers
fingers tingling with
    tiny vicious currents.

—I lied:
there was no wise man.
—I meant to tell you:
    I picked the nettles myself.

Monday, 21 April 2014

19. Choices

What broke? You were the one
of lazercats & exploding candy

who wrung the skins of the small hours
to eke out dawn’s juice.

Remember when everything beneath
our soles was mattress springs?

When, looped on gravity, we reneged
our feet-promise to the floor?

Remember? Besotted by power tools,
you drilled LPs to the ceiling

so that music drummed on our collar bones
like thunderous summer rain.

I miss that. Something slipped; the soil split—

for a moment, you were bow-legged,
trying for footholds
    on each side of the gorge.

Distracted by avalanches,
I glimpsed away.

Then she held her hand out.
Then you chose.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

18. Eke

Tomorrow will be 3m 55s
longer than today.

Enough time
to gulp four oysters
play a pop song out of tune

yank off
almost all of our clothes.

These days are oozing
overripe camemberts
we stick our fingers in
luxuriate in goo.

Cycling home beneath
the wallow of cherry blossom

we yank fistfuls of moments
to smear upon our chests.

Let’s eke out all of it—
the three minutes
and fifty-five seconds.

Let’s fill ourselves to the brim
and luxuriate
in the glug.

17. Twigs

“Let’s gather sticks,” he said.

Beneath our feet were broken
acorns striving to take root.

Everything was twigs.

We made small pyres—
bonfires for the voles,

their lithe velvet bodies
fit to stuff in our pockets.

Night fell like soft black snow,
gathering in clumps and hollows.

Our fires were tiger eyes
that blinked in the breeze.

We followed the tigers
all the way to the water.

We made boats from twigs
to sail across the Styx.

Friday, 18 April 2014

16. Hasenheide

Before the fair, the grass hollow
is still a cupped palm,
aching to be filled with candy.

This spring, this benevolent aunt,
has sprinkled puce caravans

& gaudy day-glo waltzers
amputated from their sockets.

Without skeletons, the waltzers
are abandoned porch swings
dreaming of dust.

We are still on the inhale.

The moment before the crest
of the coaster,
our bellies suspended in sky.

Lungs primed
to helter skelter.

In one week we will be flung
confetti, gorged on neon,
exploding gunpowder buckets.

Today we wait with outstretched
palms, waiting
for the gumballs to drop.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

15. Was this not yet enough?

Listen. We already repurposed
the broken benches of our lives
for new shelves,
for matchstick people
glued together with
the unlicked envelope flaps
of bills we hadn’t got to
yet. We already did good.

When everything was calcified
hip bones, when quicksands
gnawed our blue parasols &
nothing could block
out the sky: we did fine.

Better. We became outlaws
sketching new candescent
lungs. We spun
words from taffy.

Really? Do we still need
to face the letterbox
(it could be rank
with dragon claws
& the lurk of collectors)?

Werewolf demands for all
the scrolls we took as tapers.

I think we’ve done enough—
we can opt out of believing
in four white corners
in missives.

Listen. We already trekked
jungles and now, you, now
you expect me to pick up the mail.

14. Scour

A memory: saying a word
I knew I should not
to feel it burst like a plum
in my mouth.

And: touching a thigh
I shouldn’t—I knew—
but who knows where thighs go
in the dawn?

My mother took soap
and scoured my tongue, with
crushed beetles, bile, frenzied pink.

And the word turned to bubbles,
lodged in my neck

to be hocked up later
    in beds, on backs,
pinned against the wall.

Last night I descended
into bathtubs. 

I scoured my skin. I am still
that girl, who will make
a fast thing mine. Who will taste
everything with tongue.

The loofah smelled of
pine & peat,
distillery casks.

I wallowed in bubbles.
I wrote your name in foam.

I soaked in the water until I
was already clean.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

13. spring makeout haiku

tangerine mouthfeel
without meaning it, you got
grass stain on my heart

12. Of all things

This, of all things, is easy.

You’ve the keys to my bikes & houses,
I’ve the passwords to your presence

so when you die I can update them all:

see you later stop
    I love you stop
        be back soon (stop)
            I’m gone

This, of all things, is not
quail eggs or sugar-perspex;

it will not shatter in the morning
under the heft of beams of sun.

Of all things, I am grateful that
no matter how lewd or loose

the evening gets, by hangover
I am already forgiven.

My like for you is tough bricks
& scaffold poles.

Already, we have vaulted the cringe.

Monday, 14 April 2014

11. Cartwheels

I woke today believing
I could whirl cartwheels—

warum nicht? After all,
it’s been twelve months &

the fountain is regurgitating
summer, the dandelions

have recommenced
the assault on the lawn.

It’s not so strange that
somewhere in the lunge

of night, gymnastics
soaked into my bones.

What I mean is stranger
things have happened.

It’s been twelve months &
we are not dead yet;

when the wolves pawed
the door we gouged

their golden eyes
with splintered sticks.

The wolves cried blood.

I woke today grinning &
tossed one leg after another.

My ankles recommenced
their flight to the moon.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Editor's Eye

Gary Hardaway says nice things about my poem and picks other things on Fictionaut you should be reading, in this month's Editor's Eye.

"But one cannot describe a poem by Jane Flett– one must experience it first-hand. Her visual and aural imaginings are without equivalent."

 I am blushing and delighted.

9. Grace

Sucker. You walked
in my kitchen, slick
with garlic & grease. 

I slipped banana skins
under your furling
feet; you thwacked
your skull.

My paring knife
slipped a slit
from groin to gullet, and
I licked an oyster.
I shucked your skin.

Inside, you were wet meat.

I stuffed your cavity
with bärlauch and
whispered, let’s writhe
in allium, let’s coat
each other’s tongues.

We were on the floor
and covered in
hollandaise. Your butter
wriggled. I ate

your chunks with no
though of ablution.
Already too late
to say grace.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

8. What Takes Work

I am willing to strive for the things that take struggle
teaching honour to foxes or signing to chimps.

It takes years to paint bridges or perfect a soufflé
but strive for the struggle and you'll catch a glimpse

of the purpose we stack in the shelves of our person
the reasons we tread through the woods in the night.

It is doing that makes us become whole as creatures;
it is practice and action, completing the rite.

Though holiness lies in the sweet repetition
of a task done until it is lodged in the bone

there are things that take toil, there are wild flights of pleasure,
and you shouldn't keep striving when you should have flown.

I spoke to a mystic about my heart's beating
“It's so hard,” I told her, “But I'll make it work.

I know that the best things take effort and trouble—”
then the night nudged the moon: both started to smirk.

“My dear,” said the mystic, “it's all your decision,”
(she glared at the moon while the moon blamed the breeze)

“pick that path—the striving—of course it's an option,
but know there's no cheating in choosing the ease.”

Her words hit a place I kept lodged far inside me:
a deep heart vibration, a whole body hum.

When trying is tricky, you look to the outcome.
But if each part is painful, then what of the sum?

I'd eaten the cake that said love is a battle
it's not always easy, you might have to chew.

I'd forgot the feeling of breathless excitement.
All giddy and tipsy—a heart set askew.

These days I am wiser and more effervescent,
I gallop my feelings and leap on a whim.

My kisses are waltzers, my heart is a fairground,
and I try for my passions. I don't try for him.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Ark Books

I've been in Køpenhavn reading at the fabulous Ark Books, a newly launched non-profit English and Danish language bookstore. They lit me a digital fireplace.

If you find yourself in the city of Danes, check them out. They live at Møllegade 10, near the cemetry where Kierkegaard is buried. Here is an adorable manifesto:
on april 1st 2014, ark books will take you by storm. we will give you the bookshop that has been missing in copenhagen. ark books will read all the books and choose the best ones for our shop for you to read. we will invite all the writers and all the translators to our shop for you to listen to. if they live in antarctica we will invite you and all your friends to skype. ark books will bring world literature to the danes and danish literature to the world citizens. our shelves will contain carefully chosen literature ranging from new to old, from narrow to wide. the shop is run by volunteers so all money made will be used to get more books, more events, more of everything good.

6. Ducks

I confess—today
I mistrust the ducks.

They've been diving
for brass knobs and buttons,

came up speckled with lens-dew.
Those focussed feathers.

A fat chap cocks a crooked
duckbrow and shakes

seven years of penitentaries
from his tail, but I suspect

the ducks are not on our side.

Give a duck an inch &
a duck will snatch

your scent, your cigarettes,
your shift dress, the one

adorned with pearl buttons,
sparrow bones,
the ducks will take those.

Don't believe me? Don't.

Park your rump benchwards
where polystyrene blossom

scatters in the wind. Hold out
your palm. Offer popcorn &

coke crumbs. The ducks
will take the whole goddamn

matinee. Don't believe me.
But don't come crying

when they've burned your boats
and sacked your cities, for

you cannot trust the ducks.
These ducks, loosely woven

of another skein and skin.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

5. Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard is dead
and buried beneath
pink trees. Poor
Kierkegaard. I bet
he has no idea that
spring has finally
hocked up daisies.
I bet Kierkegaard
hasn't changed his
watch yet, hasn't
scavenged one more
hour for lolling.
I wouldn't be surprised
if Kierkegaard still
had his winter coffin.
That guy never notices
shit, never gets a round
in--I don't mind
Kierkegaard but I wish
just sometimes
he would stop. Take
stock. Open his eyes.
Kierkegaard is in
the midst of cherry
blossom as heavy
as a grown panda
and Kierkegaard
doesn't even notice.
I don't mind, but
I'd hope that if I
were Kierkegaard
I'd be better. I would
notice the cabbage
white butterflies.
I'd pay attention
to the coming of spring.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

3. Journey

You board the bus, the train,
the rollercoaster--it doesn't matter.

What matters is you're moving, at last,
yet lashed--the bloodcell beating
in the throat of the gull.

Between you and the sea there is
skin and plummet; between here

and where you're going
you need not say a word.

Tumble into limbo, wrap this rug
around your trunk, roll all
the way to the crook of the hill.

Crush daisies. Decapitate buttercups.
Be a Sufi dervish tricking the shackles of time.

It doesn't matter. You will get
where you are going--the crook
of the hill. The stubborn city. Home.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

2. Harlequins

Who knew that
last night we were wild storks,
butterflies out of tune?

I peeled my distressed
rapsichord from under my tongue.

I handed you
diminished sevenths,
wasp spit and bone.

Last night we were
wailing walls &
slippery coconut innards.

I scattered secrets,
raucous bats and lungs.

Then this morning
trod in on lumpen
ankles—who knew

it would not last
forever? This feeling

of harlequins.
Power outages. Gold.