Look over your shoulder for the hustle of words.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lonely Maths

the mouth of the season is on us;
i stand at the stove, my hands pinked by onions,
shiny by oil, the heat all around me,
a haze; a fugue plays

the night pours in at the window;
the canary song rests. the clothes-line rests.
somewhere in the house there is
breathing i cannot sit close to.
they are a dislocated bone.
this too, is a kind of resting, for them.

but i am busy in the kitchen,
busy in my skin, lamenting.
pulling the knife through the fiber of
eggplant, counting my losses.
adding up sums in my head of my griefs.
i am a master mathematician, i know in what column
we can tally each cut.
i can show you the tables, i can
show you equations.

i am sorrowful as only
the indulged
the rich
the western
can be.

i will never know hunger like
it can be known.
but i will know, for longer than i can bear
the shock of a heart
clapped shut, shut out, out-cast.

your joyful agitation is a strange calculus.
my formulas fall silent, stare at me.

we have no work here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


His hands always smelt of fish.
The ropes would run out through his fingers, their fray
Splintery quick.
The boat falling away into dark water as though
His body on the shore propelled it.
He didn’t think of high things, of nature’s accents but of
Pipe stuffing and the hefty bread his wife’s thighs were.
His hands knotted in them,
his big knuckles like chunks
Of sea stone. Her tangled mane like foam he
Grasped at.

His hands always smelt of fish.
By the fire, at night, she would place herself beside
His work-broken body, his shirt off, the red of his beard
threaded with ember in the hearth’s churning thrum on their faces.
It curled around his ears.
Her fingers would go there to tease the strands straight
And he would growl like a young dog.
Snap at her fingers.

Their laughter lit the thatched hut with
An unintelligible, old mirth that the sea knew well.
It moved against its rocks, moaning.
Identities written on it, afloat.

at the traffic lights

at the traffic lights, i will stop with you and wait.
the amber and the green will hang, unstuck in time.
the dirty city whirring everywhere we stand
and through us, too.

a crooked man will try to sell you flowers
pulled in handfuls from
some cheated housewife’s garden.
this will be awkward, for
a month ago you would have gingerly smiled
sideways at me and pressed a five dollar note
into his hand

and then, wiping the foil that they are wrapped in
you’d have given them
to me.
i’d have made a show of being shy.
though, not really bashful but proud as a hen,
my tail feathers bristling and rocking
because you loved me.
because i was arrogant in the brine.

but now we’ll wave the man away.
my phone will ring, and we’ll both startle like
pond herons with their silence ruptured by a truck because
my phone still bears the hallmarks of court-ship.
a shared song.
we shouted it from the floor of our lungs,
in the early hours.
our faces smudged with joy,
our bodies bent around each other on
your lumpy mattress.
temporary vessels housing something useless.
something transcribing across us
our teeth ripping at the throat of giddiness.

the lights will take too long to change.
finally we’ll surge forward.

i’ll wonder what we shed
onto the concrete as our bodies move
out of the smirking past.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Did you really want?

The membrane pulls back, bursts.
I shout through the mess.
My mouth overflowing.

All this time I have been
walking in gore and plasma
and nobody told me.

I sicken.

This will all fall under the concrete;
I will fall.
Bones buried in fucking.

As unimportant as my paycheque
under the weight of my excuses.
Broken china in the morning
my empty eyes sweeping the shards across
the slicker.

Did we really have a chance when
the machines came?

The simple answer is no.