Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Cheating, leaping, time
Destined now to be a second early
I am reminded of a one-second time machine
we saw once in a film. We loved the way
it seemed plausible at first, but going forwards
turned into prediction, and by definition,
was wrong. The presumption of this second
has left me lagging in my year, wrong-footed.
Some try to tell me that the earth isn't slowing,
that it's us who are fundamentally wrong
but time is so slippery nowadays that it feels like cheating.
I haven't changed my own clocks, but long to hear
the pips on Radio 4 as infallible again.
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Resolutions for some other year
A sharing of bodyweight, and just in time.
Eating breakfast, heads on knees.
A restoration of flexibility. A record of time
and the plunge, taken. Not just the one
and no more bruised toes. Some dancing.
A dog lying down when you tell it to.
The nature of things, firmed up, and kings.
A quantum understanding of the sewing machine.
Monday, 29 December 2008
The inevitable fade
I am wrapped in a pink blanket and Shakespeare
is on the telly, making love in cream cotton
with a cross-dresser. It comes upon me like this:
there is nothing new about the way we love
and lose love, only I have work to do and am glad
for my suspension through the inevitable fade.
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Between holidays: a sort of limbo
There is false movement across the valley tonight.
I am waiting for a new beginning and I have one on order;
bigger and brighter, faster and bluer than anything
before it, and more than half mine. For now, though,
the noise of the old is comforting. In a chorus
with phasers and warp speed it could be taking off
itself. I am tied to a history that is recorded
as someone's noisy vision of a future
but my present is still lights, red and gold.
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Some Christmas eve
Pastry cutters with handles; a homemade white dove
on a silver string; a leaf-green metal tree-stand.
The tree we walk past in the forest with a bauble;
forgetting any of three stockings I have; sticky spoons.
Skyward bells; a golden fairy playing saxophone;
remembering the words to a distant fairy tale.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
In the vain hope I have pinpointed the reason
Tonight I have been laughing alone
at the television, analysing the noises I make
for air-disturbance and toning it down.
But Simon Amstell has been doing his usual
and waving his silly head. And when I run through
old texts at the same time it's almost like much
hasn't happened, and I have my chance over
to impress with my laugh, just on the right side
of cute. Still, I practise inflection. I think I am improved.
Monday, 22 December 2008
Teddy anonymous will have to have his eyes replaced tomorrow
with baby-proof stitches. Christmas takes an awful lot
out of everything, but my sewing machine is repaired and
snow on the telly counts for more than the imaginings
we usually make do with. The cat was sick yesterday
but he missed the carpet; there is a guinea pig losing weight
back up north; my own self is shedding pieces as we speak.
I am steadying images as they rush through my head.
The tree this year is the greenest green
and the lights, like berries, catch the pine cones just right.
It has taken this many years for me to see what you were getting at
when you bought so many of those. It has been dark for hours
but those cones still sparkle and the green, oh, it is relentless.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Watching you in the night from across the valley
I am singing here but my own words come back
to me from windows. It must be a sight
from where you are, lights flickering
off and on through open curtains. It is the sky
I see most of, but if I'm thinking of you
all I ask is that I fill your thoughts too.
You do not search back. You look to me like you're reading
but perhaps it is sleep that fills you.
That would be your only excuse.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
A lesson in flirtation I am trying to learn
You have bought the same watch four times,
you tell us, and four times given it away.
It is only cheap, you say, and not worth
worrying for the loss of. They take them,
though, which is more extraordinary to me;
fasten them quickly on their own loose wrists.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Loss. Perhaps Stupidity.
I recount my steps to here twice;
try and be on the safe side. I find nothing,
but reevaluate everything I've packed
until now; shove it back in bags;
mourn the loss of something that hasn't been mine
for long enough that I should even know I've lost it.
There one minute, in another
it wasn't. My failure
is not to be able to pinpoint the change.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Overdue and sickly, words find it hard
to escape tonight, and I am trapped
without them. It is cold outside and the wind
has taken a stance against us;
rocking doors and chimney breasts.
It is supposed to be yesterday but I am trapped
in what that means today. And all this wind.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
My hands tonight
My hands are cold-dry, and the patch of skin
missing from the peeler on Sunday will not let me forget.
I can always tell where I've been from the soap-smell on my hands;
now, though, there is only ginger and jojoba
whatever that means. I'd like to think it was home;
but the soap has changed, and I've lost track.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
I enjoy washing up, seriously.
All the aches still ache and sleep is still important
but at least there is another day done, another
fakemas eaten. Pork and chicken fridge-cools
alongside foil-covered bubble and squeak, and excess
is a state of happiness we all aspire to. I can't face
another mini roast dinner for my lunch, and tell you so.
To your credit, your face doesn't fall at the news.
I dread to think what the sink will be like tomorrow.
I have left it hot, soaking, but still nurse my own wrinkled fingers,
Monday, 15 December 2008
The aftermath of an evening of craft
It is an ache that will take days to get over.
There is no escape, and even good posture
has its limits. I am hunched and weighted,
my back is bearing the brunt but it is not
the only casualty of love. Last night my cheeks were warm
and through duvet openings into dreams I witnessed
what it might actually take to get to where I'd want to be:
by your side, but underneath. Giving just to give
and always being for you. Too much.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
He tends to the water all night
And you, you sleep with your fingers
in bowls of water to soothe the blisters from the oven dish,
worrying about needing a wee in the night
if the water gets warm.
I am not there, but count the plasters the next day:
sure enough, there are ten.
One for the worry, one for practicality,
and eight to remind you of love.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Glossed with rain we walked
from Haymarket to somewhere else,
our brollies in our left hands, right hands
softening in pockets. You told me
it had taken all your strength not to ask
the question that morning.
The soupy road swilled round my yellow wellies,
glistened with all the things I must have said
to persuade you to delay.
Even now, slightly on the wet side,
I am dreaming of the words you might have said.
Friday, 12 December 2008
A night after a film I should've loved
With my left hand I'm holding on for vibrations,
but my head is waiting for ends of sentences
which never come
in songs I must know inside out by now.
It's two-duvet deep, this warmth,
and wholly necessary when the wind whips up
snow like that. There are gaps
I don't know how to fill.
The answers will arrive in my left hand,
because that's the side I favour
for good news. My right hand closes
the duvet round my back.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
The gift of giving
The whirr of an intrepid sewing machine
is stitched into my heart tonight,
and I have given my all to you all.
You will not know it yet, but wonky lines
are endearing and the odd dropped pin
is just transient, just one little pain in the toe.
This is nothing compared to the holes I've pricked
in my own thumbs, though there's been no blood
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
You try for silver alone
But it's supposed to be crass,
all-colours and tasteless. Eclecticism
is a strength at this time of year.
We drape sparkling expressions
of extreme opinions all over the tree.
And there are caged men on the telly pumping up,
pumping up; and a little black cherub presides
over pinks and golds and greens;
and that balding bit of tinsel left over
gets unsubtly wrapped round the standard lamp.
Monday, 8 December 2008
A Knife, a Fork and a Plate in Still Life, 12/9/01
The sudden calm of cutlery:
you can't see the gaps of air
between the pieces as they fell the forty feet
at different speeds, or the sound they made
on impact. It's impossible
to note the time it took for the crash to subside,
before the ripples of clatter faded into air.
It makes the layer of dust that must have gathered
slowly seem impossible as if
it absorbed the sound itself, a softened world
where every step is like a moon-landing
in fast-forward or reverse.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Self portrait hanging somewhere
The moments of detail take time to get right.
To catch attention is to hold them by your own hand
for as long as it takes. Sometimes
that's a lifetime, as they read the sway
of a fingernail, your following eyes, or the beat
of your heart in conflicting 6/8 time.
Sometimes, though, it's seconds.
It's these attentions that will
make you, fill you out:
when the moments of detail blur
and curve to imprecision;
when they smooth over doubt.
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Big hands like a mole
It's strange what sticks, and this
is a description with staying power.
This and your eyebrows, pale
and quite unlike the rest of ours.
Friday, 5 December 2008
Let it hang, hairy and heavy
We have lost track of what it means to be alone.
You explain a discomfort with how it is,
hanging so permanently there. I have long since
lost a taste for whatever it would take
to get rid. I don't think I know what you mean any more,
its hairiness is legend but outside of regular experience.
I'm sure it is a metaphor for something, the unsaid
or the ignored. The lack of love, the colour of my bruised big toe.
But it is un-pin-downable, and does not give in
to any sort of pressure or persuasive technique.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
It feels like I have you here in my wardrobe with me.
You can be everywhere when you're like this,
distilled. But I can see you now, there you are
through gaps between strangers who smell
like my wardrobe; who create an intimacy
that could never really exist. But here I am
observing your face at a moment in your life relived
with everyone else. They see you like I do, I'm sure,
but perhaps they also see whatever else is going on
and that is where I have the edge,
alone, with you, in my wardrobe.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Advert for a Poem Like This
I didn't know that pain only stops
with an application of beer. I didn't know
the limitations of wine, or that a smell of flowers
in your armpits could cure problems so deep
they are woven in like stains.
Games we played as kids turn
to gambling with snakes; classic songs
are hacked to fit a time-limit; you are told
you are too old just now for that: it's then
you wish you could have that crunchy breakfast
for your lunch, or that your world could only bend
a little bit to fit you in, or break your fall.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
You fell into the heart of yourself,
even with all that yelping.
Here was charm in a lazy extension
of paw, a sideward glance.
I see allowances being made.
The sudden lurches are just a reaction
to a cacophony of jealousy, the smell
soon washed, scabs circumstantial.
And the money is always worth it,
with a free ticket for a snip. You say
there is plenty of room in the boot
for a new piece of yourself to travel home.
Monday, 1 December 2008
I'lI look you up later in a Collins book of birds
You are not fooling anybody
and we know you cannot fly
from there, despite your showboating,
wingspanning the waves.
We watch you a while, cannot settle
on cormorant or shag, but know
you are trapped by your own feathers and the tide,
and there is nowhere near enough sun
to un-ink your blackness into greasy fluff.
The oystercatchers are wont to taunt
with pupeeps and legs ablur; they flee
dogs sent into waves for slaver-thick balls
but it is not dogs you fear, spreading your thin wings
high, chest tilted. I have you in my sights, record
you and your burnished fearlessness as equals
bright against a great grey sea.