The sky is the colour of bruised fruit,
Like pears, dropped,
Too too many times.
It bellows.
A beast from some childhood nightmare
That has escaped from under the bed,
Wounded.
Now everywhere and nowhere at once.
At once
The rain hungrily falls upon the window,
Clawing its way through the air,
Shredding the acacia and the slick black street,
Tearing up the world beyond the windowpane
To a frantic and irregular
Beat.
I hear it scrabbling,
Scratching through the leaves with
The static hiss of untuned T.V.s –
That post-apocalypse sound.

Now I look out of other windows
At the lint-grey sky
And drizzle as fine as breath
That clings
To everything like disease.

My roots remember the rain,
And rejoice.

© GB 2007

(Apologies to William Carlos Williams)

This is just to say
That I dropped the sky
And left the sun
Lying in the snow.
Forgive me,
It was so very
Heavy
And no-one seemed to notice
Until everything started to
Melt.

© GB 2007

thanks to Augustinclair for the line “The sun lying in the snow”
http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/augustinclair/

Here are the remains
Of my hungering roof,
Propped on nibbling biscuits.
Here is where the path fastens itself
To my door’s embrace.
And here, between pancake
Thrusts and darting sugar,
The curious forest peeps.

Everything was fine
Before they came –
Causing the cakes to howl
With cascades of crumbs,
And the lollipops to throw
Themselves from the sills
And shatter like bone.
Then the ice-cream cones
Sprang into the road
With heart-burning screams –
Never to be seen again.

Children, clothed in loss,
Their pockets shining
Like hollow moons
As their hands flew out;
Their fingers flowing over
Everything like a flood.
Their furious cheeks locked
Onto every part of me
And their eyes danced to
The flavour of my windowpanes.

And all the while,
Behind my weeping gingerbread walls,
The tasting cage nodded on its hook
And the cauldron stooped
To put another log on the fire.

© GB 2007

Drizzling winter night –
A memory of tears.
It smells nothing like rain.

with thanks to Pumpkin Doodle for the last line taken from the poem Hawthorne St.
http://pumpkindoodle.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/napowrimo-day-2/

Below the bowing shelves
That threaten to crack and drop
Their secret load like relief planes,
I stand as tall as a man,
My back pressed against the wall.

Hardly noticed,
I am one of many other appliances
Along the perimeter of your life.
A modern convenience.

I am the Antarctic, contained.
A place so seldom visited
That the sausages have evolved into seals
And I have birthed a platoon of penguins between
The ice cubes, paired and stacked.

Softly humming,
I await the time –
Soon now!
When I must release
My charges from my embrace.

And far behind the bags of steaming peas,
In areas as yet unexplored
By heated hands,
I hold a secret –
A woolly Mammoth stands encased,
Trunk upraised in expectation
Of the day I thaw.

© GB 2007

Newborn Spring –
pink fisted azalea buds
salute the bumblebee.

© GB 2007

It’s soft and gooey to the touch,
A chocolate bar left on the dashboard
On a hot day. You can feel the pliancy
Of it through the limp red wrapper and the foil
Tongue that peeks out the ends with a wicked glint.
It holds the promise of sweet stickiness smeared
Across lips and the imprints of fingertips
Running in smudged circles.

© GB 2007

I saw it lying on the paving stones
More stiff than the stick that snapped
When I tried to flip it over.
I don’t know why –
There’s something about death that
Makes you want to prod it and poke it.
It wasn’t that I was checking for breath,
The squirrel was unquestionably dead,
With its mud splattered fur,
Pink gum where there should have been a lip,
Little paws raised to its eyes, in fear perhaps,
Perhaps disbelief,
And no sign whatever of its tail.
It seemed almost as though Nature itself
Was trying to deny its nature
By burying the bedraggled corpse
Before anyone noticed.
As though one day I would absently turn and ask,
‘Where is the squirrel that usually hangs from the feeder?’
And you would say, ‘I don’t know,
Perhaps it has gone away’.

© GB 2007

I keep them in the drawer under the bed,
In the space that has stood empty
Since the nightmares left to frighten other people’s children.

Formed like the fishing nets of peasants from villages
As remote as your life was to me,
They hauled you from your bedroom, down the hall
And dumped you into the La-Z Boy of old age.

My memory does not reach to a time that they were not about you,
Paired by your bed in patient expectation or clinging to your feet
With a devotion I could not match.

Their rubber soles are as smooth as ice.
Mama threatened to throw them away after you slipped on the tiles,
But you refused to take them off, then hid them –
Snugly stuffed into the pockets of your overcoat.

Sometimes I would dare to touch them while you slept
To the sound of the television speaking in tongues.
I would trace their navy webbing to the music of your language lost to me,
While they, understanding, traced the purple filigree of broken veins
That meandered out of your gaping trouser leg.

I once felt your toenails through them,
Running my thumb along their edge.
They were hard as hooves and threatened to cut
The weave of the rope that always held you,
When I could not.

Now I keep them in the drawer under the bed.

They fit me perfectly.

© GB 2007

He is perched on a stool, centre stage,
The carpet, textured like a fuschia tongue rasps at
The contortion of flesh wrenched by your brush.
I can make out the bubblegum bulges of chest, a knee, an eye,
His mouth a blur of motion, every lip movement superimposed,
Streaking with black and pink the roaring white daub of teeth.
All else twists towards groin, knotted with your desire
As though all muscle and sinew were unwound from here
In a vicious struggle for control.

You have performed a terrible violence,
Your brush has hacked at his body like a butcher’s knife
Slashing off limbs and trimming his features.
With your palette of diseases of the mouth
You have interrogated his bruised body
And left him trapped on the stool trailing viscera,
Looking like an hors d’oeuvre on a stick.

Yet here, a slight lifting of his head
A concentration of fine strokes
In the flick of a fringe –
Lovingly detailed.

© GB 2007

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