Brittle

Poetry

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You ask me what is it

this brittle I’m speaking of:

what is this short temper?

And I am cracking the colours

having broken the blue

I say brittle is like this

and the shortness in my own breath

shows me how long I have been wanting

that exact blue of your eyes.

The red is no better

run like the Rio Dulce into murk

nothing can save us now

the sweet scratch of your nail

through the hardening colour

makes red redder and the

small smile you give me

is as clear as the sky.

Then, yellow will not shatter.

Yellow will not yield

my thumbs are worn, nail bed

lifting from my scratching at the

yellow you say brittle in my ear

and I know myself that I shatter

in the the yellow centre.

We have found the colours,

collected them and grouped them

we made them run and spilt them

we have seen that they each will do

the thing they themselves dictate

being made waxy and soft

until they cool. Then they are

as crisp as the day

and as likely to crack into shapes

spelling brittle across the board.

You sisters take the round ones

and make marks big and small

over huge sheets of paper.

The spangled colours are

as mixed and sweet

as the lines on the maps that show the way.

Garlic

Poetry

The paragraph where I fall in love

is written, published, distributed

has sat all papery and lush on the shelves

for some years now – but has been read a loud

and sounded out so the words are

round like the moon and just as full

but reflected, now, like so much light.

 

It is the tang and spring of the garlic in our food

the surprising sweetness in the nip of it

papery and cloven the hooves of it across our floor

like so many feet in the night

searching out the warmth we make

for heat that shatters across the tastebuds

is grown on the good stuff

filled the mattress with its outer layers

falling off and falling.

 

I will write you poems on fault lines of

this fruiting body

I will drink your breath ’til dawn when you turn in your sleep

and face away from me

I will inscribe all the tiny events

into the curve of the skin

and peel it peel it

the paragraph when I fell in love

in minute letters all over again.

Like Air

Poetry

From here you can feel the cold breast of the sky

if nursing here the runnels of rain

have been sucked dry and any warm frames of light

succulent like honey barred beams

dried into powder themselves;

a day bees hate, with grey dissatisfaction

they fluff their buzzing bodies and frown down the wind.

 

But you, having nursed and found the fire’s warmth

in your bones you have no word for afraid

or refrain no other state than barefoot

even in the mud that licks you as you would lick the rain

and stick wet coldness

will fall off you

like air.

 

 

Foil Cage

Uncategorized

childhood’s

foil cage

tremble-shimmers

so count these atoms

that make this table, this hand, this chocolate bird

that chatters and chatters

perched on the silver wrinkled bars.

Foil Cage

Chocolate bird that chatters and chatters

 

Invaders – a typed version (A visit from Black Peter)

Poetry, Uncategorized

Invaders

 

There was a rap at the window next to the blackboard

and in they swarmed, two of them

faces blackened, a sack shouldered.

 

Children leapt from the perfect circle on the floor

shrieks and scampers away from these invaders

who fixed us with their blinking eyes, white rimmed

and to each of us

they told the stories of ourselves.

 

My tall friend was ‘forgetful’

– but it’s me who can’t

recall my own story

memory’s cloth closes over

the way time muzzles thought

dents and fingers

the smoothness of it.

 

But then, the youngest of us

whose curled head was lost among our shoulders

put out a hand

pushed aside the bristles of sticks

and claimed his bag

of fruit.