Holding on to our last-gasp hours—whispered I love yous
in my ear. Once more, you inch up to my lobe, earring hole,
up close doing your best to compress our future in a phrase,
a tense, something to last under lids. That will pass through
your dawns, your evenings. I love yous as I squeeze myself
through a needle head. To blackness or birth-light. Our pact
in place. The last things: a rosary, a sponge on my tongue,
a pan flute, a hypodermic. Frankincense plumes in a room
we can’t mention. My waxen suit lifts to a halo. My eyebrow
twitches yes, we are still fusion—hands entwined, fasting.
As we were: a ritual of ribbons. I mouth the too-late advice:
evacuate. You said we had lightning in a jar. The tragedy is
you meant it. Now sparks arc like sea-drenched arms. How
is it possible to have the final say? I love yous back and forth
while the mind slides doors; ancestors arrive. We’ve tried
to wear out the will—puncture it through. Find a way out
with a maze-trail. My promise of a comeback or getaway
hurts your faith: the cliche of how energy never dies. The sun
does through its discharge. Shrinks to a cinder while you wait.
For now you are Earth bound, stuck to lobules and ducts—
while I notice the neon, pulled up and up. Away and tied
to a kite you can’t remember. I love yous—to fade. Your kiss
on my fringe. If only I could pin this cord with a paper clip.
Minutes before my lips stitch, the sloughing of skin. Unzip.
Escape valve firing. Perhaps a zygote the start to seal it. For cells
to divide as they should. Stop once done. Perhaps when clouds
slow down, things will seem real. Listen: my disappearance
makes so much sense. Don’t worry—it’s not even an issue.
I wake in a panic imagining all the new people
wearing your clothes As I cleared out your snug
every star of glitter seemed salvageable
Things that caused pain two years ago
I now have on my windowsill
I glimpse photos as though we’ve spoken
My malady consists in how I cannot keep
two worlds in opposition
The membrane between sleep
and waking permeable
Your mother told you to leave after a while
Such visits give succour What’s hard is living
once touched with fire
The first question I’ll ask the angels is why do the dead
feel the need to desert us.
I sighed your candle out and the grills were silent.
I gazed at the flame and hoped for a conduit.
I received the gift of tears. I received, while they prayed.
For now, the priest is the next best thing—so I ask why
our speech is prohibited.
To slap a priest would be reprehensible. Why can’t they
find a dog’s soul through its eyes?
And when the last candle goes out, I’ve journeyed far
and still, we’re unrequited.
I wonder if God is saying I must go through him
to get to you.
They say it’s just a transition: from one body to another.
I’ve no patience for the psalms—each candle snuffed out.
If science is a candle in the dark, this must be what it means
to see while blind.
I’ve had all over the body shivers—though like a favourite
song is playing with rhythms curled in my cochlea.
This gradual extinguishing is like our body’s functions.
Death is a process and never like Hollywood.
Then the strepitous comes like a rumble of thunder.
Then the lights go up and the candelabra casts the shadow
of a spider on the wall.
With the close of a hospice door, clunk of a saloon, tyres
on gravel: an ending if ever there was one. Let us slalom
round statues of Mary, grottos in grounds, funerary fetishes.
Let it end with handed-over possessions, towels, slippers,
photo off the wall (she never saw), smell of softened linens,
folded neatly with inventory, for no-one especially.
Ask for no heroes, villains, nick-of-time pliers on wires,
no H-bomb to defuse on the horizon. Ask for nothing
as the sun pops, extinguishes. Let it end as a balloon.
Let the chauffeur pull unsmilingly through the driveway.
Let the leaves fall sometimeish in September.
Let unhappy accidents happen on dual carriageways.
See father as a mannequin, us both as mannequins, feel
the numbness of thumbs on a gear lever, steering wheel
turn, sink in a blue lagoon, birds scatter from traffic islands.
Let doctors be anything but miracle workers. Sack Christ,
alienists. Insist the priest toddle off with his rosary beads,
chuck out his wooden crosses, fuck off to the hypermarket.
Pray only clouds on roads chaperone us. Stay on auto-pilot.
Read of St Bede’s swiftness of sparrow down a dining hall.
Let’s go art house, kino lounge a while:
Let bus stops hang unseasonal icicles, Belisha beacons
be lollipops if they want, the forget-me-nots freeze,
apocalyptic winter, denouement leave all threads a tangle.
fin, fade to dark. Stars drip to stalactites.
It arrives in strips torn out of a compendium of dreams. It begins as wisteria
up the walls a boarded-up window a gable another window dark as
an eye-patch. It’s something I’ve meant to write for some time. Each night another
vignette is unveiled as if viewing a mural by torchlight. It’s always a darkness
beyond darkness like once in the attic with a shade no photons could escape
or where such darkness festers in oubliettes undercrofts outside with rooks
and a sense of the venerable. Often it’s a house I’ve once been in one with a tumble-
down facade sheer cliffs on every side. Last night the house of a married couple
or mausoleum its door-turned-tombstone carved in exotic ciphers. I chucked a
grappling hook over the roof to the other side hoisted myself through a spider-filled
frame. All I remember was a presence of husband and wife how I kept opening
doors to bedrooms or staircases or doubling back on myself finding rooms
were running out or floral walls closing in. Shut in the vestibule I sought
the bustle of the streets. Shrieks out of a letterbox met with nothing but disinterest.
Some Deformed Fukushima Daisies
It’s gone viral
from the outskirts of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Close-ups with the highest res’ of megapixels.
Heads fused as conjoined twins
cresting at the lips or stigmas.
Any other context and they’d be said to be kissing,
though it would have to be eternal.
And how might they eat?
Their enclosed faces spurn the sun
whose fusion is a saviour.
It beats down regardless.
And their stems are bent over double
like spines of grown-old-together brothers.
Shasta daisies born of a tsunami
show off their skins of leukaemia bruises,
like pubescent nightmares of another Windscale,
And as I google the meaning of meltdown
I stumble over stories of evacuees,
articles on damage done to genes,
what the mutant reality is
of kids whose heritage begins
in rhizomes, grasses, trees,
toxic hospital units.
No matter what the cause is,
whether malformed stalks are metaphors,
they can’t stop us from our sleepwalk.
And this is the way the planet talks,
like the body talks with its symptoms
or the mind talks with neuroses –
if only we’d listen
and re-learn how to read signs and ciphers
rather than rely on pills – consider hysteria,
no longer think of sadness as an illness
or think of madness as a lesion.
Perhaps the heart truly has its reasons,
and we are the daisies,
we are the fallout,
the Twitter feeds our babies.