'On loving as the world is burning' - Poetry Collection Sample (1204 words)
Your hand between the teeth of my jeans, our bark out there pales beneath the bite in the room.
And then we are naming the daytime futile from underneath it.
I’m not sure when the collapse stopped but it did.
Which direction does the bull charge inside a red room?
I peel my knees apart to feel that nothing abject through me.
If they saw us would this ‘touching protest’ be enough?
All that noise spits and whistles through the window when we can be bothered to open.
I replicate sighs until they mean less.
Until my ignorance gets harder in your mouth.
Laid within white, I tug the sheets a little from underneath your sleep to cover the space you made at the top of my thighs. All that skin confessing. You sigh yourself into a new position and I reach for my phone. Sit up to adjust. Find my glasses with a guessing palm and I read.
Scanning first, then I concede. Though I suppose this is about the most passive action I could be taking. Apart from you. You’re dreaming something you don’t understand yet. I climb inside your ear for a moment just to watch the show. No interfering.
It’s the first morning in some time I’ve felt my face react to whatever it is on my screen. But I look to my right and let the vacancy of yours beacon onto me. I am impermeable for three more minutes, and then I let the world imagine ending behind my corneas. Watch it back like a silent movie. Try to score it with ragtime to take the edge off but white noise sates the silence first. A catastrophe with so many different heads at the end of the bed. I can only look one in the eye at a time.
When you wake up, I’ll drive us to the lake, and I'll leave a nameless fire in the rear view as we go.
After hours we place a distance between ourselves and
that which we are joking about
Sometimes one of us has a foothold on the reality of the subject
Most times we watch that rock fall down the cliff when we let our perspective favour ridicule
I remember the face and say sorry through a righteous muzzle
We perform reverence for the absent,
it feels so self-serving tonight.
Towards as awaying
Shouting through veins don’t listen to her. Fingers shake to meet the coffee cup. Six might be too many. Inner thighs lined red with indulgence. Lower back ache from the same. Ankle bruised by dancing where you shouldn’t. Everything on the floor. Bloodshot eyes trailed toward the pupil and tangled into bouquets. Residual light dripping down throat inspires a claustrophobia. Move the needle on your resolution. Don’t break eye contact.
I can see her in the kitchen first. Assembling something sweet to place on the side and sip. Her favourite cup was not sarcastic in her hand as she led it toward the back of the hut. The living room held all the air she needed. So she stacked her joints up to the sky and stood as though an unborn image. Then she became slowly. One hand suppressed and expressed her diaphragm over and over. Eyes grown toward the light, each echo laid back to greet her. She sung the room wetter and steady.
Then there was all the flourish of a burst pipe somewhere in the distance. Hard to let it permeate with all that resonance on the inside of her. And she didn’t hear it. She didn’t try to. Instead, she held her own eruption.
So, she stayed.
She stayed until cold ran like rings round her joints and seized them shut. Until the sky was only made of heavy dust and it became her too.
She breathed in and tilted her chin down, chest open, stomach taught, it was to be the greatest sound you or I had ever heard.
But no exhale met the in breath at the summit.
And I can’t bring myself to believe she minded.
Head finds your shoulder,
hand round your waist.
There’s no movement in this room but your chest rising.
I’m just a bag of things I’ve brought here to show you.
When I tell you I love you,
I will always meet the sentiment halfway by calling out its name.
I give over the salience: it will never do.
I let my hand fall down your body and thank your skin it’s not a closed system.
When I looked at her it was not the first time I tried to project the temporal onto where she was going. I’d painted it in conversation but only to remind myself of the divine impermanence of the body; to tell her of the gold that lines whatever is about to happen next.
Not because I believe there is anything sacred after. I'm in love with her anti-climax. There lies the only sanctity we have, she is horizontal and finite and tired. We are only here because we weren’t.
She’s sat here silhouetting and I’m tracing the lines with my stupid rationale.
She hears the penny drop inside me and resumes her not-being right before my fickle eyes.
I close hers, as though she’d notice if I didn’t.
Last night is looming underneath my ceiling cigarette smoked cardigan over my shoulders at 8am the only arm's length long enough is out there eiffelled by halogen and nitrate I deleted myself in that sticky room we danced until we had no footprints at all.
In the dark surround sound. I place my hand on your cock and feel it reach to meet me. This is the part of the film where I just watch your eyes. Turn your face back to the screen. Don’t worry. There’s no light to guide them here. Your head tilts back again. Less control. I can’t let daylight find you. Your stomach tenses. I get a tissue from my pocket and you cover your mouth to stop the air sighing out. There is a satiable fire outside but we’re in here spitting in each other's mouths.
I prise apart the back door. Frosted. Ineffective double glazing. There’s a mint breath that meets me over indecision. It’s 5am and I’m drinking the dramatic irony of my second coffee, the day feels changed but I can’t place the direction. I look across the garden with a cigarette in hand and mumble myself through the suspension of it.
It’s when you wonder blearily down the stairs at six that it becomes more pervasive. Your bone structure is only calcium arranged.
‘Would you like a coffee?’ - your voice is clearer. There is no cracking under learnt iteration. I supress the urge to label three indulgent and agree. Those ten minutes we sit alongside the offer give me more morning.
We resume yesterday under different clouds, the same conversations: without preconditions. The belief and all its friends dead in that room, a new paradigm alive and local, sat between us as we watch the garden melt under sunrise.
Our tattoo artist posted a picture of your arm
For obvious reasons
I didn’t recognise your skin at first
New markings and new blotches
I used to know those pink lakes like the back of my hand
It was the freckle by the crease of your elbow that gave you away
And I thought about that time I ran my finger over it over and over to see if it was a freckle or a mole
You laughed and called my a hypochondriac
Not sure how I got this from a photograph but I could tell you were a blurred happy
A fast-paced bury the pain change your hair kind of happy
Your favourite kind
The more I dwell on it the more I fear it may be your only
I expect your days are much the same as they were before me
And much the same as they will be long after you forget my turns of phrase
You avoid the hours alone because you bore yourself
I’m sure you’re talking to new boys to fill that void
And I’m sure their replies are never quite good enough for you
You smoke weed in the evenings to evade the morning dread
I’m sure you look breathtaking as you French inhale
Maybe you have a man you met on the dancefloor to stay the night
Maybe you stopped off at the corner shop on the way home and you bought that wine we used to drink to share between you
You’ll love the fact he smokes with you
I was always far too fond of the sunrise for that
You wake at 11am and play probably should with yourself until lunchtime
Then you dress up cool and meet up with seven friends who don’t know a thing about your mum
You give all of yourself and take all of them and yet never quite reach equilibrium in your own skin
A tear warps your tattoo on my screen at this thought
I don’t mean to be bitter, my love
I just hope that one day you can see yourself as casually wonderful
As you are on the phone in my hand
Can’t stop staring
Your new mottles acid wash the screen pretty
I’m sorry that I couldn’t stick around to watch you discover it for yourself
'Your New Tattoo' - Poem