Monday, 4 February 2013

The Black Dog

“I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.” 

I heard Churchill had called it canine.
It woke me just this morning, soft nose pushed
to my sleepy cheek, breath shuttling down
my cool neck: my faithful black dog.
His tail clubbed me all shades of violet.
The sun disc-sawed me in half.

He follows me to the kitchen.
Here he comes, his wolfish shape
gleaming like polished jet. I stoop over
my coffee, hiss at him to shoo.
My voice is thick as seafoam
and the silly dog is deaf;
his dumb tongue a huge slab of mauve,
searching my hand like a rodent.
When milk won’t do, he loves the salt of rivers.
His rough tongue batters my eye.

Wherever I go, he follows.
At office desks, restaurant booths,
hunched in the seat of a taxi,
my faithful dog sniffs out my bones.
When lovers come, he turns possessive.
I wriggle free from their fingers,
stop them kissing the sides of my jaw.
They leave when I talk to the papered wall
and tell them the guard dog is snarling.
I grieve when their footsteps have died.

I go to bed at odd hours
to watch the small pulse of blue time.
When sleep stands me up for the zero moon,
the dog strikes me down with his paw. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Female Nude

I have done it. I have done it in this room
in broad daylight: unravelled myself to the human shape,
shown them the flush of my cheek. I shoulder away
my silk scarf, seize a whole breast in my hand.
The lamp gawps. Under the glass eye
my boot tips, a leather confession.

The guitar cools beneath my rib.
Your camera swallows the music—
the muted flats; greyscales its shocking blues.
This is the shape of the female nude,
her bald toes ten revelations.
I have scattered my wallflower fetters.
They crumple in heaps of blue silk, gold rings,
the virginal white cotton blouse.
Shutters whir and snap, the black eyelid.
This is the hand I raise to my hair,
the palm that has cut me from mirrors.
Skin cells, not pixels. Resolution of flesh.
This is the body of woman.