if I swallow that black stallion who has sustained himself on sunsets, hissed his own nostril clear of moon surge, gripped his muscles so he can scare himself at nothing and hoof himself clear of the sky, if he goes down my throat will you follow with your antlers and oil lamps, your joss sticks and your helmets?
Of her body I think first – the spaces it takes up and the angles in the air that will become the bend in the elbow, the flex in the knee.
Of her body I think first – how I help it, take it higher, move it more easily, the lift of the muscles of her back, the fall of her arm, the twist of hip and ankle and neck.
Of her body I think first, the focus is hers. The balance in the probe of light. Her body the sinew and synapse, her body the angle of ankle to toe the spine that can winnow the dance from her. From us.
Tendon to bone, the tip of her finger, throb of her jugular. The spaces between her arms, her breath.
She is the bright dancer under the spotlight, I am the fulcrum, the support and guide.
I think first of her body, the dance her turning, like waves like the ocean, the emphasis is her.
Now, three things happen: the thunderclap; the lights go out; the music stops.
A smell of smoke. She gives a small cry, just an intake of breath. But I do not take my hands from her.
The focus is still her.
The audience shifts.
Rain on the roof like applause.
In the beam of an iPhone she slowly, uncertainly, raises her leg and arm.
The dance continues.
Then, light after light in the seats, looking like glitter, like pin pricks in the black, the acrid smoke, the hammer of rain, the shush and rush of it overflowing the theatre roof.
She hesitates as if waiting for a signal, arm raised, leg lifted, waiting for just a moment in the lights of the phones from the breathless audience.
I hold her there in the pause, the hiatus. The music went out with the lights, but the audience is still there, quiet and breathy in the dark.
In the pause I balance my hand, her hip, I see her profile against the audience’s twinkling and I wait.
Inside her body it is dark. Muscle, sinew, tendon, bone, the passages of blood through the heart, the twang of nerve, ripple of synapse.
AS rehearsed, she tilts her head and in the glimmer she dances, moves to me, then away, her arm the balance between us, her spring and then weight against my arm, against my torso.
But think, first, of her body in the many fingers of light. The theatre in the hush of the rain. She dances, up and down over me and under, into the light and below it, forming new angles in the shadow of the phones, to the trickle of the rain, to the pelt of it on the roof. Into its hush.
I take time to throw my eye up into the sky, notice that spill of air against blue, the cumulous, temper in the wind. Today the horsetail flume means change, I smell it, too, smoke hubris, arrow points of every drop of moisture up in atmospheric pressure to the north. The bearded gentlemen cirrus nod to high flying birds, speckles now on the deep horizon that mimic the patterns of their eggshells. They flit, strung on the possibility of their wings, beads along lines of air, catching the updraft and whorling there. My eye sees aquamarine circles, spindrift weather just water’s dance with heat doing laps from ice to liquid, liquid to steam. My eye fills like a pond and I drink it down to earth, noting the tang of grief that it all passes so quickly, so quickly.
I am the woman who walks
slowly, with a dying bird
in my bra.
there is flint under my nails,
a tickle ready to
laugh at the back of
with my snowflake fingerprints
and strings and strings of things I said
and didn’t mean
I am here in a stretch at the back of the calves
and open open open hearted
in this frame the blink, the
second then gone
like a child who no one
can ever find in the garden.
She was here: now she isn’t.
She was there: now she is gone.
I always note mournful colourless birdcalls
as if to say:
what if I’m only myself for the
second that you’re there?
with all those hauntings of dreams
among all the known landscapes
in the tingle of nerves at the centre of the tooth
me with a footfall light as pawprint
I am the one who is there in the night to ease the terror
of the dark
where we are all erased.
The future is made of sleep. Soft cold set, stuff of drip down cloud effect, bottle body drowsy, chimed with silence, doused with absence. The future is made of the past – dropping into moment after moment. We will make no money, will take empty, flit high but lay low. Don’t tell me this is work – I saw her stiff and not asleep, her face the rigid calm of not being there and lying down on the cypress after her family sang all night for three nights and the monks had taken their robes and incense. We send kites into the sky, we send paper cranes into the river, we send poems into the void of technological advances, we send ourselves into unknown sleep, so deep it pays no dividends.
The first is summer grasses
dewed up on the night’s breath
nectar of photosynthesis
sweet for a second before the
dryness tangs almost bitter
a switch lost in the heated cup
the the lips can only bear it
for the moment of the throat.
Imagine all those leaf-tips
tangled with winds
the anvil of sun floating them
closer to shaving
swift fingers pinch them from
nests of growth and they dry
lower their sunset
until they are deep green
a river of thirst themselves
waiting for the boiling.
tremble. The afterlife-wind
picks up lasting speeds
to blurr the line of vibration
moving across water.
In and out is surely
inside and outside
passing the shore again as
the draught-tide commences and commences
– see there in hollow
a small pause between?
In the low tight soil
cramping out breath
stones as they landed
another tree grows.
no doubt pressed against this clay
another leap to live
how it goes on
even when it’s over.
All through the rainy light the sculpt came through
magnified with stretchy glimmer
the stars dripped to earth
corneas each one.
Can you see yourself
broken and clear
letting the light right through yourself
changed by both
the viscose filter and the curve?