Monday, 16 June 2008

Seeing in the Dark

An Angel stood at the edge of the cave, Its walls curving out towards the night. Bulging with contained and over-fed darkness. Purple hues ballooned and blossomed in the depths before his eyes. White luminescent wings twitched, longing for rooms that sang with space and streamed with sunlight. Open windows to step out of into brilliant, beckoning skies.
But the cave and the darkness was calling the Angel and he was not at liberty to refuse. The claustrophobia slid clammy hands over his face once inside the cavern, though his feet echoed on the puddled floor; describing vast emptiness about him. But it was the darkness not the walls of the cave that caused the Angel to feel suffocated.
The Angel felt the blackness inside his lungs, insipid and poisonous to his breathing light. The clouds ahead embraced and wrestled with each other. The Angel flexed his wings, sending muscular ripples beneath their feathery coats that were no longer swan-white but raven. He strode deep into the heart of the cavern, ready to see the dark.


Let the same songs go astray.
Let unconscious birds sing,
And let their voices ring
With all the pain I'm yet to feel,
With all the wounds I'm yet to heal.

Day-by-day, allow their feathers
To fall and cut my wiry tethers.
Softest touch to sharpest cut,
The marks of bonds release with hurt.
Snap back and rest with blood-slicked sigh,
And leave me alone with birds and sky.

Let them cocoon my bones mid-flight,
And scatter them into the night.
Let each chunk of marrowy matter
Hit the stars and shatter.
Make a constellation of light-drawn birds,
that day-by-day will not be heard.

Paper Feet

She used to tell me I'd catch my death, leaving my hair wet.
She'd make fish cakes in cases of orange breadcrumbs.
Walk me home from PVA smelling art classes. Then one day she had to
Stop and
Rest before home.

She would play cribbage and beat us all, winning hundreds of Scottish pounds.

She'd take us brass rubbing in the alleys of Edinburgh.
And I'd embellish
Originals with unicorns.

Thick and hard shortbread,
No match for false teeth.

Crawl into her bed in the first light and feel her
Dry paper feet next to mine.
There, she'd tell me stories in her hairnet.

She was given a huge brass bell from the orphanage
Where she was Cook.
She gave so much and made no fuss,
'Ah, din ni bother!'

Now my hair hangs wet
All the time.

The brass rubbing shop has closed
For good.
And I've no one to lose at crib to.

Paper skin ashed away on Salisbury Craggs.

But I have her in my face and hands
Spitting Image - so they said
Again and
At the funeral.
Stiff Scottish lips and not much room for tears.

But that was just a day,
An Event.

Grief does not answer to calendars.
It can wait in tucked away memories, until
Ready to to be undone. Aired and worn.

A history I don't really know but may yet find in myself.
Death is not always loud and determined.
It can be
Slow and
Messy, like spreading paint on a clean floor.
Trodden in and about.

A withering end,
Dispersed to a stop.
Means not the end.

Bell on shelf, ready to
Ring out her strength,
The echoes resounding in me.