I do believe I can feel it
Again at last
That slow trickle of words.
Pooling at the back of my skull
Where it hinges with the spine,
Welling up from below.
The upturned corner of a mouth.
The twinkle in an eye.
The slow ache of a lightly bitten lip…
So often inspiration doesn’t strike
Glides into the room
In a mist of moist matcha steam,
Traces her fingers up my spine,
Smooths out the shirt across my shoulders
And gently brushes my hair back
As she leans in
For a gentle kiss.
by Ellen Bass
The blood flows out of us. So we will bleed.
Blood paintings on our thighs, patterns
like river beds, blood on the chairs in
insurance offices, blood on Greyhound buses
and 747’s, blood blots, flower forms
on the blue skirts of the stewardesses.
Blood on restaurant floors, supermarket aisles, the steps of government
crumbs. We can always find our way.
We’ll feed the fish with our blood. Our blood
will neutralize the chemicals and dissolve the old car parts.
Our blood will detoxify the phosphates and the
PCB’s. Our blood will feed the depleted soils.
Our blood will water the dry, tired surface of the earth.
We will bleed. We will bleed. We will
bleed until we bathe her in our blood and she turns
slippery new like a baby birthing.
Among the dim lights and feathering rain of this city
There is a You that is breathing.
Inhaling oxygen and exhaling
Carbon dioxide and tears.
And dreams and fears too maybe.
Perhaps the You is already
Tucked deep within the many folds
Of sleep and blankets,
Socked toes curling and uncurling.
Perhaps the You is drinking
Steaming tea from some well worn mug
And listening to the rain in the darkness
From Your plant-strewn balcony.
Hearing the same midnight churn.
Swift tires on wet tarmac.
Perhaps the You is still out in the world,
Hair a drizzled damp mess,
Head fizzy and drumming,
The joyful stains of a night well spent
Streaming down Your face.
Well we’ll worry not,
The You and the Me.
Whichever the case may be,
And I am sure that this is true,
I will find the We
That is born of Me and You.
I am drifting away from here.
Ears stinging with ‘e’ and ‘o’ and ‘a’
Eyes scorched full of
Straining teeth and lips,
They slip in and out in waves.
Your heart is a blue nightmare,
Smothered and defeated
But still beating.
Haunted like an old hotel
The ghosts of disappointment and guilt
Wander the halls.
I lean into my own shadow,
A sick sort of embrace,
And blow my hot breath into the wind.
The eyes close.
Moving north and west
Along the Rhein
My face pressed up against the glass
As the mist whips past outside.
I carry you with me.
I’ve tried to relax my grasp
As I am fully aware
Of your reluctance,
Your crushing negligence.
But these ethereal fingers have grasped
At strands of nothing for so long,
They are reticent to release.
In the background
I listen to quivering vocals and the
Low rumble of the R10
As my mind ponders
Castles and poets,
Book burnings and motor oil,
The corners of your mouth
Turning up as you smile,
Blood in the sand,
All that green makeup
I’m the one who’s melting.
And despite the time of year
There is no fear.
Not a single
Drop of doubt.
Which is rare for me.
Cast away, all hope.
Howl to the moon with me.
And with bellies full of
Spiced Hokkaido and dreams
We’ll wake the souls.
I didn’t want it to happen again.
No, please, not again.
But at this stage
It’s almost inevitable.
The fist plunges,
The fingers uncurl and stretch,
But the grip has slipped already.
Male voices sing
In 5 part close harmony
Of cacti and angels,
Their words slick auf Deutsch
As I imagine I can feel
The ever faster beating
Of your heart
Through the leg of your jeans and the
Few inches of warm air between our knees.
Take out the bag of oft-worn clown makeup.
Draw a smile on my bald downturned head.
Stamp your foot in the dust and howl.
I’m in the dark again
But for the faint light
of the stars.
It always seems so
Easy at first.
Just tip forward into heartache
Like falling off a chair
Or the bike you thought you
knew how to ride.
A distinct lack of training wheels on this occasion.
If you feed me orange porcelain rose petals
I will close my eyes and listen to
the rain on the window pain.
I will remove cat hairs from the
Peripheries of my mind
And the corners of your downturned smile.
I might read poetry in hushed tones,
Your head in my lap.
If you agree
To hold my hand in the dark
I will try my best to
Never doubt you
And to keep all your brightly coloured matchsticks
To never lose your
Loveless green eyes.
Oh how I hope you care.
When darkness encroaches
And chaos and panic beckon
With long white fingers,
That is when I take up my pen
And lay thought upon word,
And word in book,
And book on heart.
These brief flashes
Of a light so pallid and grey
Die in the laugh tracks
Of a normalised life.
They aren’t who I am,
But they can begin to tell
Of who I long to be
Or who I dread to become.
It has been many moons
Since love has tread
In the halls of my heart.
The tapestries on the walls
threadbare and muted.
The forgotten corpses of furniture
Shrouded in white,
Still as the dead.
The hearthstone lies cold and unused.
The dust is piled up like snow
In the deep of winter
Heaped in the corners and doorways.
The emptiness of the place
Hangs heavy in the air.
Stale and tired.
It would appear
A single window shutter has been opened.
The fragile morning light bleeds in.
And perhaps it might be possible
To make out the shape
Of a footprint or two
In the grime.
And it could be
That if you stood for a while
In the now-open doorway
You might even catch the faintest aroma
Of freshly picked lavender
And the earliest murmurs
Of a long awaited homecoming.