Confetti

perverse and unwritten, the hired car

bullets down the thirty year old road

I hired had to hire – a teacher to continue existing

and if the world approved, I thought, I just might

licence myself to sing my affectations

in a different key

 

I turn in my glove as if so much dirt

had just fallen on the ground in winning shapes

to be read like fire tracks

 

some ancestor, stiff with rheumatism, never once

was home when I came home

from lessons

in the afternoon where in the gutter of daylight hours

I found his fingers chopped

or, who knows, perhaps gnawed asunder

 

a noble earlobe, I think,

catch in myself a shudder when the thought

plasticises

and hits the ground

 

once I called myself sixteen and said

no, I wouldn’t call it aquiline

it’s much more of a slope

with a teardrop or a cherry at the end

 

like a great man reciting by a dying torch

the words of someone immediately killed

 

I often group the thin along with the dying

as if it’s only a matter of waiting for the thing

to roll down the predetermined slope

and on the rusty sullen beach I wait

 

when you left me my mouth said I permit it

as if it cared less about me than it should

and I remember that the building

shook with all the rotten foods it carried

 

something in that thought only punishes more

with time

 

once, when a bullet

found no recourse, not even in sleep

even in silent erosion of a brain

it condescended

to the state of seed

and waited, like I do, around

 

my ability to feel ugly is so textbook

a ragged pad of token use

 

I am now too angry to sleep beside you

I am too dark with beaten blood

to cradle your large body

even its outline, inside me

 

your shoulders have toppled and the shaking

has begun, but all I think of each time is

the dryness in my mouth

 

and each time

my tongue is cracked like golden fruit

in the sun

 

I organise the words of songs because I cannot

simply respond, simply identify

what about a person is a person

and what about them is

a silent winter tree

totally indifferent

 

I am dragged now into

a thumping office room where I dictate

the words from the inside to the outside

to an exploding typewriter with stars for keys

stars untouched for twenty years

and before then only by hands of molten rock

 

here goes, I say

and the stars punch themselves deeper and deeper away until

the world dissolves

into innocent

fragile grey confetti

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Digging

I start digging, using my hands like the front paws of a dog until they become the front paws of a dog. Brown earth rolls in clumps around me, soft wet brown, darkening the deeper I go to bring it up.

I heave the earth out of itself again and again; sometimes in the dark my paws hit something other than earth, something hard like bone, sometimes round and indeterminate, sometimes soft, pulsating and shot through with veins, like the flesh of a worm, but without the wriggle.

When I hit such things, I pull at them until the earth lets go, and I throw them blindly behind me, away from me.

They are things I do not need, do not want to need, and there are handfuls of them.

My claws rip them from the earth, I cannot help it. They come up, but I cannot deal with them now.

I need to see them disappear, and I keep digging as they fly over my shoulders, trailing a heavy veil of earth into the dark behind me.

Rip them out. Rip out the parts that want my attention, that glisten with seductive gloss, splaying the flesh that needs more from the world than the tired earth can give.

I dig and my paws are numb with earth; with what the earth does to them.

You, past person person past, lie expectant in my wet black earth, your traits mummified and meaningful in a way they never really were. I dig into you, through you, send you flying: I know that if I look too closely at you I will slow myself down, slow my digging, and I will think that everything I dig out is something I need.

What I need is to keep digging, to dig for the part of me worth saving, worth uprooting and moving into different soil. The part of me that will agree to live and grow in different soil.

not a bubble.

for George

 

this intimate object, which is also a place,

which is also a network of shivers and calls between us –

when i compare it to an egg, i’m not saying

i want to be the one asleep in it.

don’t want either

of us asleep in this. 

resting: yes – but we both know

the inside of an egg is for growing

which is what i hope for.

 

on the inside, the egg it isn’t as you imagine

it isn’t yellow for the most part, but

that which is alive shows up

in pink and red and orange pulses

and the occasional darkness of a vein;

somewhere, there is an eye, and when it rises

we don’t question its place – it is there

so that it can all continue. 

 

this is what i want: the pulsing, merging each day,

the appearance of things that make sense.

 

not the dead thing cracked

stiff and unfulfilled

clean round white and yellow on a plate

hardened bubbles on the edge scarred

from the struggle against a violent oil

 

i don’t want us on a plate

i want the possible, the wet and messy vein looking in

through the impossible gap in the shell

 

when i say our bed is like an egg it’s just

in terms of cartoon colours, simplified.

but to simplify is to deaden, sometimes.

 

what i mean is what’s missing: us

in the laid-out emptiness, ready

to be wrapped, given pulse,

and grow from each other’s wing.