Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Unabashed false optimism

It is the sort of weather that carries voices

It comes as a surprise, to hear it like that,
and it changes everything. It changes the fundamental
smell of things; it matters. It is weather that is longed for
from behind windows, that is perfect for bike rides
and relies on a cool breeze to keep it realistic.

You are not in it, but it needs a winter coat.
You only know all this because of how the blackbirds sing
compared to how they used to; and from the frozen puddles
you walk past at night holding hands against the bite.
It is the sort of weather that forces optimism you are not used to.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Just a small observation

Hello morning, you say, every day

And to be sociable with the concept, it takes tea
which you describe as delicious

even though it goes straight through you
like eggs, which you conversely avoid.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Got some dreams back!

Waking from a dream of air-trombone impressions

it is the wall of Wispas (59p each, 7 for a pound)
that stays with me. And it is early, so early, and I am waking
of my own accord and turning alarms off in advance
of their ringing. I am not as clean as I would have liked,

but my dreams don’t take this into account, only my height
and how the smaller objects are easier except
they’re out of reach, and it is only the big concepts
my short arms have any hope of carrying home.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Distracted, but all to the good.

Unexpected shift of outlook

Distracted, full of unprecedented smiling,
I am trying to conceal my cheek movements

with a turn of the head. I don’t know what any of this means,
only that it is a difference I had not accounted for

and the sun is so much warmer
on days when the smiling is like this.

Friday, 27 March 2009

A form of time travel in resurrection

The notebook tells a story of me over again

It was here that I found it, already half full
with the potential. If I couldn't have
locked the door I wouldn't have
read it but of course, it knew that,
and lay in the only cubicle with an easy bolt.

Just an unconventional form of time-travel,
of course, but it's strange
that it happened on the day they happened to say
on the radio that going forwards in time
is uncontroversial. It enjoys controversy, takes the trouble
to transport me to all the places
I used to know and used to go, and

here, with my pants round my ankles,
there's no need for avoiding the rules of time
by camping on a star
with some of the pull of the universe at my feet
or in my ears or on my inadequate
metabolism. Here, it
and I commune in timelessness and out of sync
with one another, and I can leave it,
when the time comes
to be found by myself again: just another poet
with the same urgent need to be locked in,
and the same urgent need for two hands.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

I don't even remember writing the first version of this...

I arrange myself artfully

as if the sheets of my bed were not cold
and hard with first frost. I
frame my poseable limbs
as if the brush of my hair falling here
is natural; as if the balletic point of my toe
is effortless; as if,
as if, I assume that he won't notice
and am just preparing for sleep.
I find myself unable to expect what really happens:
the gentle tipping of time and the spread
of a thigh relaxed to twice its size.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rediscovered, sent somewhere.


A man across the road is moving in.
I note his possessions as signs of love:
the loose white shirt he's wearing and the pink
one he unfolds; the DVDs he moves
from shelf to box; the full bottle of gin;
the undressed bed that wears its ageing stains
like cow skin; how he holds his stomach in
and stands a while to finger familiar curtains
open and closed. He isn't moving in.
A woman stands in front of him and moves
her mouth like she is talking but the man
sees only lips and shapes he used to love.
There is no understanding on his face.
The room's half empty and a different place.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

From a small point of view.

The Curious

It is around us, deep and dark, the potential
and we are such unseen that it is hard to know
how far it is possible to go. We are incapable,

in the grip of muscle that stretches to others’ will.
Sometimes it is too much scented space, too far
to travel; temptation for our inability to influence

but put us elsewhere and we are lost entirely.
We change colour, but this is not distraction
only function and circumstance. We are made up

of your in-between, and you do not see us.
We have no voice. We are palpable time
because we count it, document and expect for change.

We do not know what makes us look beyond
but huddle together in this deep and dark
changing colours, changing shape, fitting in.

Waiting for a trick of the light, or perhaps
of time, to loose us.

Monday, 23 March 2009

As requested.

The naming of the clowns

Are the eggs blown?
It is always the first question,
whispered over these scentless hollow eggs; diagrams
of faces in red and white. Next word is usually creepy,
but it is all a grinning comfort for me.

You picture a hallway, with shelves and little stands.
It is not that. It is padded drawers and curating. It is cataloguing
and checking. Sometimes they need to add an extra tear,
take away an outline of black. I can help them with that.

I do not keep their wigs, or stick on tufts of hair.
Their outfits do not matter much to me, though most
like spots. We keep a note of employability elsewhere.
It is just the faces here, fixed and personalised. Named.

There must be easier ways of doing it, yes. But I like the feel
of the eggshell under chalk-white paint; the ritual
delicate hollowing. Nothing says ‘face’ better than an egg
for me. I always paint the eyes in last.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

I have hardly left the house today!

What’s in space.

Everything we want to be: beauty
and timelessness, the unknown. We are,
and our first words still echo
in intelligible clicks and whistle. Space dust

and our own junk. Violets; yes, even their delicacy
exists in space in as much as anything does
on this rock of ours. Everything we have ever been:
small and significant, timed and irrelevant, a blip.

A need for justification and delight; the first time
your mother called your name.
It is all there, waiting for someone to make sense of it
and its uncanny similarity to a face when you squint,
and angle the picture just so.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

weekend habits! terrible, muriel!


The peculiar motions of an octopus tentacle
cannot be copied, but are mapped in diagram form
on your wall. You dream of the ability to squeeze
through holes smaller than your own head;
change your limbs, boneless and elongated, caress
eight things at once, or one thing intimately.
When I ask why, you cannot answer, except to lose
your definition as human, a faraway look in your eyes.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Sooooo tired, again. But why?

Forced perspective

I am all skewiff with plans and unplans.
It is longed-for, this feeling of small, and we create it
by making our world ever bigger, the space
to explore ever more expansive. Your expectations

of me are verging on the ridiculous, but still
I try to fill them in with experience and detail.
I even sleep under a king size duvet; type poems
on a screen big enough for five; wait for the sun on my face

before I can wake properly, small and aware
of how enormous the weight of the dawning is.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Not so late that I feel guilty.

Because it is late, perhaps, or I am tired of waiting.

I am reading a lot into silence
and it is late at night; later than it should be
considering how the days are adding up

or falling away. I am not good enough.
It is definitely something I have done, or haven’t done;
silence makes me look for it

and I resent, all of a sudden, the onset
of technology that records your own tracks
as well as theirs. I am reading a lot into silence

and considering breaking it with nothing
to say. It is not a game. I am tired
and will sleep. It is late, and this probably explains it all.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Some untruth.

A photograph she keeps of herself

She is painted in Tiger but her hair is lank
and her roar will never be scary. It is posed,
of course; though the happy must have been real
it is hard to remember. She does not know
how long she has left with her mother; how
this house, this garden, is temporary like the tree
she likes to smell in the rain which will soon be chopped down.

And the cat she loves will be flattened, and the bullying
she’s been getting away with will guilt her
out of the friendship this photo sums up in cats.
The Lions and Tigers won’t last. And neither of them
will fill the roles they think, and time will not be kind
or unkind, just constant. Unfurling like the fat buds
of a tulip she keeps on her windowsill now as reminder.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Some truth.

It is not its own event

I am not getting any better at this
but the sun is out and the sun
is shining on our faces while we wait.

It is hard to be bothered but I am finding time
to be bothered by this. It is not until the weight,
the weight, is taken by them all

that it comes clear. Their shoulders
must ache and the tears are clear now
of my eyes where they have been

bothering my world in mirrored wobbles.
I am no better at this but the sun is shining
and it cannot stop though it all went well.

The sun is on my face again and all that sobbing
all that sobbing. And I have no right over the upset
but the choices are the same. And every funeral

is cumulative it seems to me, and not its own event.
Every funeral is all the deaths I’ve known and
all that sobbing. All that sobbing.

Monday, 16 March 2009

I slept in today. Bodily payback.

Everything is every bit different now

How much I speak; what I have for tea;
the number of times I correct myself;

what time I wake up; the cost of toilet roll;
my choice of toothpaste; how often the towels

need washing, the soap replacing; what time I get home;
how I travel; the colour of my underwear; what it is

people say to my face; how long it’s been
since a lot of things; how I feel about all of this.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Catching up

Sometimes these things happen on Saturday the 14th

Scaffolding is trusted even though it’s temporary
and I have walked underneath unknowing
for what seems like years. The putting-together, a brutish
routine of heavy poles and nut-tightening, the percussion of metal
on sudden metal on wood, is a meticulous growth. But trust
is no guarantee from underneath. Some days the wind
shakes the foundation-less and they have no time
to consider their escape. I know someone who knows
who was the last one out alive.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Not necessarily truth, or lies.

I like wrapping presents, it’s the best bit

and my favourite dinosaur is a stegosaurus
though I love the word archaeopteryx. Coffee

keeps me happy when other things can’t. My toenails
are painted blue and I forget films I’ve seen twice

more often than not. I am no good at this game
but I like to try; I don’t know anyone here. It is not easy

and work can be hard. I like grammar. Sometimes
I am awful, but I can’t think why. It has been a while.

Just, a while.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Later than ever! Oh no! (wine).

Matter of Fact

A woman stands in front of a man, checks
behind her back for the view she'd like
and smiles a smile I can't see
from where I'm sitting. I'm in the picture,

captured staring on the steps of a monument.
I'm wearing red, I'm the only one there,
shining out from the background of grey.
They take the camera home, listen

to Mozart while they upload the data.
They do not see that I'm trying hard
to exude the happiness I feel; just
see me as stranger, and crop me out.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hmm. I should be asleep.

I don’t remember why we started

laughing except we had all shunned the bed for the floor
and were trying to sleep when it hit. Bubbles
at first, private catches of breath and then tears
rolling down our cheeks in the dark, trying to keep it in.
Soon all of us were unable to hold back sound
or breathe, and none of us could speak. It didn’t stop
just because the jokes had ceased, all we needed now
was the sound of someone else. It carried on,
got louder, harder. It took hours before our stomachs
were incapable of more and the silence of sleep stole in.
None of us remembered even then what it was for
but it was good, and when we woke it was enough
to feel the camaraderie, our pillows still damp with tears.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Something a little less sinister. Maybe.

Cooking for two

There is something about the way you gather
ingredients for noodle soup that catches me.
Mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, mange tout.
You pause around the carrots and frown
for a memory of owning your own—find it.

You have counted the noodles, collected the soy
and now find yourself shy of coconut milk.
All done, you tap your list and reach
for tinned plums. You smile a secret smile
that is not hidden because here I am, watching.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

My first Stemistry.

Unity & the dolls
after Stanley Spencer

Do not look so sad, Unity, you were named
for your effect and you have had it
in spades. I hope one day you’ll understand,

the dolls are just a concept and simplified; this one
is meant to be you. Do not look to your mother
for answers to your life – she does not have them

though her biology is the same, and nor do I.
There is already difference we did not predict;
there are more swabs to take, more hair to test—

your fringe looks pretty, just like your doll’s—
but just because we take pieces, it does not mean
we do not love you, Unity. No matter what you become.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Thank you, again, Guardian. And Annie Finch.

Making the most of what you’ve got

You are the return and you bring with you
more than that. I love you with my whole waking self,
and the one that brings me home at night
though the wind is cold. You are what I have been waiting for

all winter, you are a cure for ills.
You are light, you are progress,
you are the return and I love you. I love you
like the ease of falling for the delighted relief
of the inevitable; longed for, expected, unhurried.

You do not feel this way about me; my loss
of you is gain to somewhere else.

I love you for your equal indifference to the others
who you are happy to leave, again and again, for me.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Batty batty.


You tell me we have lost our vespertilian ears.
I watch them busy with their silhouettes
making soundscapes that echo
around endless space getting fainter by halves.

Bats are lucky in Poland
but they still cannot hear them there.
And it is not only there
that people angle boxes lowering batspeak

from clicks to whistles. Everywhere
there is loss and nostalgia for a half-heard sound
I am sure I can still hear. I close my eyes
against your claim. I have no proof.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

I've been worriting at this one, so here it is again.

Just one of the ways in which I have become my mother

I have never been a boat person
but the pull of the sea had us both that day
as we set off downhill. The road was mossed
with abandonment, lived-in empty houses either side.
We only stopped at the end and granite sea.

There was a broken pier, and tied to it
a boat. Big enough for ocean voyage,
it was sudden and red, stark
against a Scotland dusking sky.

I looked to you for explanation
but you did not look back.
There was recognition in your admiring eyes
and a longing for her and for the sea.

The waves were unalarmed, only darkening,
and they marked a calm end for us then.
Your face was blue with reflection, and my hands
followed suit. I don’t remember words.
The hill home was left to climb and we climbed it.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Yep. I really do love New Scientist.


What you see of me is incomplete.
I know this because of what I read
on visible light; its rainbow variance
gapped and patchy; aspects of colour
absorbed before release.

You do not believe me, I can tell.
To demonstrate, I hold up the teal
saucer that came with your tea,
and ask your definition of its hue.
You say turquoise, but pronounce it
turquaaz. I sit back in satisfaction.

See? I say. The colour is impossible
to define, and even your words
are obscured by the incomplete
layers of green and blue.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

For something in particular.

My Cup of Tea

Give me my cup of tea and I will sing its praises,
or I will sip it before it’s cooled and curse it

without meaning to. I will blow sweet nothings
through its rising steam, improve the taste

of a biscuit in it. Give me it so I can function
and I can feel at home. So I can tell you

exactly what it is I’ve been meaning to say.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Phobia poem; still working on it!


I came across your careful list of fears this morning:
a fear of snow, of ugliness. A fear of waves. Meticulous
and private, I read them quietly though you were out.

I saw something of myself in the list, which went on for longer
than I thought there were words for fear. I re-imagined
your unwillingness to approach the sea, your dislike
of my jumpers, the problem of dancing.

Perhaps the fear is of fear itself, I thought, perhaps
tomatoes have nothing to do with it
– but still I took it upon myself
to uncover my tracks in your list. One by one, day by day
I found your list again, changed all your fears
to philia; a small task in handwriting terms.

I was slow and careful; if you noticed, you never said a word.
I watched from the bed each morning, from by your side
every night, for the smallest change in you. You got quieter,
perhaps, but nothing more. There was no sudden shift of outlook.

I sought out your careful list of loves this morning:
a love of small spaces, of blushing. A love of novelty.
I do not know who you are any more, or what this means for me.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Throw it..

To the wind instead

The wind is back and not as fierce
as it seems. It carries rain to your face
and through your shoes; it cools
your knuckles, gloveless and wet in air.

She tells me that the wind here defines
persistence but I don’t remember the last time
I had to be careful of the skirt I wore
except today. Still air seems as common to me here
as anywhere else I’ve been, but, she says,

it cannot be: it’s so rare she savours it
as separate, wears different clothes. It seems
a shame to me to waste the throwing of caution
to an empty, unmoving sky.

Monday, 2 March 2009

A fairly heavy-handed reworking...still in progress.

Just one of the ways in which I have become my mother

I have never been a boat person
but the pull of the sea had us both that day
as we set off downhill. The road was soft
with abandonment we were keen for.
We only stopped at the sudden end and granite sea.

There was a broken pier, we crept on it, and by it
a boat. It was red wood and shining, stark
against a Scotland dusking sky.
There was familiarity in your eyes.

The waves were unalarmed, only darkening,
and they marked a calm end for us then.
Your face was blue with sky, and my hands
followed suit. I don’t remember words.
The hill home was left to climb and we climbed it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Happy March.

Changing the bedcovers, Sunday

I have missed the caf├ęs but gained perspective
wound up in King Size crisp-and-clean.

Gaps left are long-since filled and nothing
has moved me more than this

today at least. Alone
is only missing; and I don’t miss you.