Saturday, 5 November 2011

Morning Coffee

Reflected upon it, our story plays out
like a tale thrown across a curled page.
Its smooth curves of china transform our shapes
into wild-armed ravings of ghosts;
me, slippered and absurd with my hair left loose
and bright as a bowl of lemons,
and you, neck grizzled and eyes flat moons,
clamping your palms to your ears.
The caffeine fumes rise from our heads.

It sits there each morning, your white china cup,
as you throw back my words through curling smoke,
your pink thumbs tense little prawns.
Your cigarette glows in its saucer.
Another coffee if you would please,
You leave before taking a sip.

I watch after the swinging back door,
blood turning cold as your coffee.
I have taken your cup to the sink
where I wash its old throat like religion,
hook my finger through handled bone;
clean bubbles erupting like pearls.
Your fingerprints smear to nothing.

Gleaming and tiny, placed back on the wood,
I carry it close--
my polished whole heart on a saucer.
Twice now you have squeezed it tight
and thumped it down hard on the wood,
yet no chips cut through its bone-skin,
more stubborn, more real than a tooth.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I carry it like a fat child in my arms:
my bright pumpkin. The stars swing
their strange eyes upon us,
my own turned against grey rain.
Under the knotted light of streetlamps,
I feel I have stolen
somebody’s head.

A great bright moon upon the table,
I lift my knife with marvellous calm
and carve, steady-handed, the damp hiss
of letters all slid out like mud, the one
rude syllable of your name. I have no time
for cartoon faces, my smooth blade sucking
clean letters. Fiction.
No lunatic smile, no soft teeth, only one
webbed line of alphabet ghosts.
Sweet earthy breath. Deadly orange.
Seeds on my hands like follicles.
Here is the skull of a make-believe man;
head tumbled clean from his shoulders.

This is the part where my tiny flame
sweats hollowed flesh, this huge
warm crown my trophy.
I set it at the window:
a bloodless heart, faceless name.
I am the lipsticked Dorothy,
cheek white-flattened on glass,
my hand on a good friend’s skull.

In the mizzling streets, bag-swinging
children craft brick roads
between mouthfuls of toffee.
They do not notice my flowering shadow,
this pumpkin-moon blooming on walls.
Not one of them shocked by the devilish light
of your name burning white in the mirror.