Monthly Archives: May 2014

One Hundred and Forty-Eight.

28/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

sometimes I hope I only have sons.
it seems easier to teach someone how to be kind
than how not to break, how to repair the cracks

sometimes the feel of skin on skin is a sacrament
other times, it’s like sandpaper
it leaves you raw, stinging and burnt

sometimes I cry for no reason, at least
no reason that’s nameable, no defined bruise
just a general realisation that hatred is real
and it brought guns

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Cleave open my thighs and see what’s rotting inside
Come find your own face in the pitchy dank places
Little diver, your lanterns will sputter and die
From this velvety darkness no man has returned

*

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One Hundred and Forty-Seven.

27/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

the clouds below are rolling off into a sky-high horizon
like they’re trying to be a tundra
why on earth would the clouds want to mimic the earth and ice?
I think
but then I think, maybe it’s not the sky mimicking the tundra
but the tundra trying to be like clouds, wanting to be full of light and air
lifted and secret and inaccessible from below
I want to go to the biggest glacier with you.
the man in front of me has the most beautiful salt and pepper hair
thick and wavy, with the whites spread evenly among the dark greys
he could be in an ad for salt and pepper hair
I would definitely buy it I think
it’s reminding me of the few grey hairs on your head
they are still spread out and surprising little shocks of silver
like that day when we kept giving each other electric shocks every time we touched
and couldn’t figure out why
I think it was me dragging my feet on the department store carpets
but I still like to think it was you, electric, wide-eyed and real and really there
doing something as mundane as sharing the escalator with me
in the same geographic location, in the same physical space
bursting with electrons or whatever and I wanted to touch you even then
I want to see every hair on your head turn white
the idea of growing old has never been appealing to me
trimming our hair and nails forever as our ears and noses outgrow our faces
and the rest of us slowly disintegrates
recently I have been finding reasons to grow old
it’s terrifying to have a reason to want this plane to stay aloft
begging the invisible strings holding it suspended not to snap

*

Sarah circle

sarah

i.

Can’t you see how marvellous it is that you and I came to be here?
Have you no wonder left in those tired grey eyes?
Ours is a miraculous love, never to be repeated, not in a million years
The whole universe had to be created just so I could hold you

ii.

The day you died I felt a funny old thrill in my guts after I got off the phone
Thought ‘This is it! This is the first! I’ve imagined this for years!’
And then I stepped into the shower and burst into tears as swift as a punch
Stopped just as quickly, stood quietly in the low-pressure trickle of wet
And thought about how you’d never be warm again

*

One Hundred and Forty-Six.

26/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I built you a house out of paper but
it melted in the rain and turned to pulp
a lumpy puddle, a mess of good intentions

we plunged our hands in, got real dirty
up to our elbows in mashed-up words
and shaped the slush into rock-hard bricks

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Half a world away from the wailing and still I can hear it
In the voices of schoolgirls grown hushed in the street
And see it in the eyes reflected in a phone screen
On a dark street under the blind bright stars
And they are my eyes and they are your eyes and they are frightened
I feel it in the catch in the throat when the footsteps grow faster
The blood in the breath and the impulse to run
The turning, keys clutched between fingers, to find
A benign faced late dog-walker, strolling back home
What bad bone is it in us that starts all the hatred
Pricks the instincts to cruelty and turns the tongue into pitch
What section of atoms can we excise at birth
To return to Eden, before the madness got in

*

One Hundred and Forty-Five.

25/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

inside my chest there is a small dog chasing its own tail
frantically, a whirlwind of furrowed brow and gnashing teeth

*

Sarah circle

sarah

As the first snow of the season fluttered in the dawn
He found that the world had lost all its colour
The pastel riots of the past, the velvet and satin and frothy chiffon
The daftly bubbling syrupy cocktails
The floral piped icing so sweet your teeth sang
The rich draped folds of a woman’s gown as she panted, pink and scented –
All gone. All the laughter and chatter and tinkling crystal all lost to the wind
And now nothing but the snow and the concrete and the vicious barbed wire
And the stark white men in their thick black suits
Standing stony in their dead, matte leather jackets
Clutching their dead, matte metal pistols
All focused intently on his gently mumbling heart
Plodding faithfully away beneath his drab, thinning shirt.
He eyed them all calmly, and found that he ached not with fear
But with a sort of terrible disappointment
In them, in everything, in these days grown old
And as the bullets churned in their chambers, he let out a sigh
And thought, there is nothing in the world quite like the sadness
Of a consummate gentleman in an ungentlemanly age

*

One Hundred and Forty-Four.

24/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

obsessing over the movements of the sun
the way the light breaks over rumpled sheets
or glares into drooping mid-afternoon eyes

this heaving celestial body doing the rounds
sparking fires in the skull, the gut, especially the ribcage
says a lot about optimism and absence

*

Sarah circle

sarah

As the wine and the night and the 5 am sheets fold me up
The woodfire smoke is stinging my eyes and hair
Floating like a buzzing cloud over my too-high forehead
Disaster systems go –
Kiss you –
Sleep.

*

One Hundred and Forty-Three.

23/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

sunsets on beaches flooded with millions of couples holding hands
running hand in hand, tripping on flowing pastel kaftans and sarongs
maybe some horses as props
maybe some people on horses just for good measure

noon in glass cities bursting with thousands of tin-drum buskers
banging heads of luscious hair, bodies rolling with the beat
maybe some caps filled with silver
maybe some crowds pushing closer to complete the picture

sunrise in warehouses crowded with hundreds of ravers pointing skyward
dancing like it’s still 1999, swaying like the tallest poppies ever seen
maybe some smoke machines
maybe some petrol generators to set the scene

midnight in a forest empty of everyone but these two humans
sitting in trees, reaching across the gaps in the branches
maybe some frogs singing softly
maybe some moonlight to fill in the silhouettes

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Quick! Find a book and press me between the pages
Slam the cover shut and stand on me for a week
Let my fluids leak out between the paragraphs
Fold me out flattened and coffin me in glass
I’ll hang on the wall for half of forever
I’ll never be this happy again

*

One Hundred and Forty-Two.

22/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

‘Can I have some?’
‘Sorry.’
‘Please can I have some?’
‘No sorry, we’re…’
‘Give me some of that.’
‘No, we’re just…’
‘Just a little bit. Just give me a little bit.’
‘No-‘
‘Just the tiniest bit, see -‘
‘It’s a celebration.’
‘Just put it in here, and I’ll walk away.’
‘No, we’re celebrating – we haven’t seen each other in a long time.’
‘I just want-‘
‘SHH. They’re celebrating. It’s a celebration. Walk away.’
‘But I -‘
‘Leave it.’

‘Excuse me, hello – can I -‘
‘Leave them alone, they’re celebrating.’

*

Sarah circle

sarah

To the boy I dated when I was sixteen:
I’m sorry that I wasn’t a very good girlfriend.
I’m sorry that I dumped you over email when I was in Germany.
I’m sorry that I only remember three times we hung out –
The first, the night you passed me my Ventolin,
Said ‘You two, huh?’ and I felt a little mouse do a tumble roll in my stomach.
The second, my birthday, sit-spooning on a trampoline
Your red hair and my bright pink polo shirt making a festival of bad fashion
You picking at the beads on the legs of my jeans
Me loving the destruction, the threads poking through
The last, the night you gave me my first kiss
Spit-soaked and tumble-drying, standing upside down in front of me
The carpet under my fingers and me wondering what all this was about
Me teasing you, saying you wanted to have sex with someone –
A celebrity? A mutual friend? Time has stolen the details
And you looking soft at me sideways, saying clear and serious
‘No, I want to have sex with you.’
And the terror that slid down into my stomach, hot and cold and heavy
As my insides closed off, like a chase scene in an adventure film
The doors slamming down and me skating beneath them
Losing my shoes in the hurry to leave

*

One Hundred and Forty-One.

21/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

There’s a small gang of trees standing naked outside the airstrip perimeter. The other trees stand staring from behind their lush greenery, foliage twitching, twigs snapping and crackling. They’re putting the forest to shame, holding their shivering grey bodies so close to the fence for everyone to see. *** I find myself hoping they’ll shimmy or do whatever the tree version of twerking is up against the fence, shaking it for the incoming flights, flaunting it because why the hell not? These trees could flaunt their nakedness aggressively at all the jet-lagged eyes staring puffy and vacant out of little porthole windows. They’re still trees no matter what they look like – they’re just as much tree as their prudent leaf-sheathed cousins – and trees can pretty much do whatever they goddamn please. It won’t stop people cutting them down, so they may as well strut past this fence and say, ‘fuck you, I’m beautiful!’ to all the other judgemental trees and then chest-bump and co-ordinate a dance like a 90s girl band or start a rap collective or whatever. I don’t know, whatever it is that’s in the hearts of this gang of naked trees next to the airstrip perimeter, whatever they want to be or do I have no doubt that they could make it happen. That they’d do it really well, no matter what the other green-eyed trees say.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

As the metal hinged open
And the ice hissed in the air
He sighed for the first time
In six thousand decades
And felt his moustache stiff with frost
His brain thawed into life
Ran some basic diagnostics
Played a little pre-recorded message
You died. We froze you. We love you.
And he stood for a moment
Patting down his shiny silver suit
And arranged his face into a stern sort of nobility
The sort of expression befitting a cryonaut
He squared his shoulders and held his breath
Flying cars and robot dogs flitting around his brain
And stepped out into the sun
Stood blinking like a new god
And surveyed the future that man had wrought
He raked the sky for shimmering buildings
And found none, just drifting clouds
He peered about for roads of light and whirring hovercraft
And saw nothing but dirt and straggly trees
He sought the gaze of the crowds of the future
And found not a soul, not one
Until a hesitantly cleared throat at his side
Drew his eyes to a pale-eyed old man with tufted white hair
Who smiled apologetically, shuffled his feet
And whispered ‘We never did work it out, you know
They left me long enough to let you out
Let you walk on the earth one more time
And once we’re done, we’re going
There’s nothing here for us’
And while neither said it aloud
British reticence still being what it was
In the waning hours of the world
They both knew that ‘gone’ didn’t mean to Spain for the summer
And with nothing more to say
They stood together, side by side
And drank in the dust and the wind and the sun
And the hum of their hearts
And the taste of the end

*

One Hundred and Forty.

20/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

packaged baby carrots, pre-packaged, peeled and tail-ended
they look like weird mutated orange baby fingers
I keep expecting them to be soft between my teeth

*

Sarah circle

sarah

My head’s up by the window cleaners
Scraping the sky
And my collarbones are strutting the street like a New Orleans jazz band
I stuff a pigeon through my teeth
And feel it press down through my eighteen-storey neck
To land with a thump between the gridlocked cars

*

One Hundred and Thirty-Nine.

19/5/14

Izzy circle

izzy

thousands of eyes thawing into still lakes
little glinting pools reflecting twin skies

blades of grass punching through crumbling dirt
reaching for the sun or trying to escape their roots

the wind dabbed perfume in all 5 places it wants to be kissed
suddenly, the park benches make sense

*

Sarah circle

sarah

The flood left a carpet of stinking black mud through the corridors of the house where she first fell in love
And the sofa with the scorch mark from a forbidden cigarette wriggled in the daylight, bursting with blind white worms
The fridge was a kaleidoscope of vicious, fur-toothed mould and simpering fat slime
Which pooled on the shelf where she had laid her inaugural cheesecake to set before tea
The nursery crawled with chittering glossy insects, arguing shrilly over the sheets in the baby bassinette
And she suddenly knew the truth of all things: that the price for a life is always a death

*