THE CITY SOUNDS

Strays drift through watery streets

Jaws hung open on

Yellow teeth, black gums

They are devouring the air

It roils around their insides

Like the memory of Ocean around a shell

Before coming out a blackened snail trail of spent

This motion slapping against the buildings’ stone

An erosion to remind them of the mother hunk they were clipped from

Over this growl

A distant beeping alarm

Buoyant, keeps you from the silence

A particular underpass absence

Where a man and dog once sat

Breathing their own uneven tides

Advertisements

Cry me a fucking river

Cry me clean of fingerprints

Give me the ghosts

Of sirens drowned

And selkies skinned

Streaming salty down bristled cheeks

Cry me every no chokeheld

Cry me knives and stitches

And girls wrapped in the bloodied sheets

Of marriage beds

Cry me the flowers

Given out of guilt

Cry me hungerstrikes

Cry me coathangers

 

Cry for every woman’s dry-eyed silence

 

JONAH

He is rock and how untouched

Bound tight in his own permanence

The moon’s indifference.

He envies the hard, shining pebbles, licked smooth

And spat like teeth from the Sea’s lips.

 

Somewhere in all that skull ringing blue

There’s a wail sifting through gloom

Barnacled lips agape

Her tongue a harpoon

Guts a great net

She can teach him to bleed with the moon,

In blindness

From between her pillaring ribs

Grieve every wick he has lit

Every slick of soap he’s scrubbed himself with

And beg his forgiveness.

 

She will dismantle him to shingle

Fill his pink hollows with echoes

Of the tide

There will be parts of him and Her

On shores that know only too well of oil spill

 

WHEN GHOSTS SLEEP

I can’t help where I go in my sleep

Up your moss clogged gutters

To suckle the smoky spit from the concrete

Of your sill

The window you will open to breathe

Some nights I wind inside your nostrils, down your windpipe

A snake in possession of your insides

But some nights I will sit beside you mouthing wordless songs

Other evenings sneak under your covers to await your return

So I can wrap myself around your sleeping form

Like a shawl, a cocoon of not quite tangible body

I wonder if you do the same with me

An infinity

Of you within me within you within me

We don’t coach journey here

We travel by submarine

Arrange to meet just before unconsciousness

Where the Ocean takes us

Back to back staring out at monsters

Rippling behind glass

Daylight hanging before fangs

Whales the size of Regent Street

And sharks shining like wet Birmingham concrete

SUBJECT

I often forget

The mirror isn’t camera

There’s a hacker under the lenses

Of my corneas

Shooting me paralysed and pickled in snapshots

Of someone else’s desire,

My own skin rendered a suit

I’d rather crawl free of like pupa.

 

There are a lot of things that send my vision spinning:

Deafening offences

By women

And the screamingly obvious ways we’ve gagged their honesty.

 

Men’s eyes catcalling behind their lids

How can a look be so loud

And the subject so silent?

When did we forget to look quietly?

Catch the softness of an afternoon in the garden

The unspoken amongst the leaves

The bare tangibility of an unmade face in the morning

KEEP

She has not yet learnt how sunrise breaks

Slips loose of grip

To ungive.

She breaks in shards

White knuckles, twinkling more primal than glass

Eyes rolled back to their whites

Eels tying themselves into knots

Of toxic shock under her skin.

She refuses tide

A lake for the children to skate across

She refuses sunshine

She wants to keep every one of their footprints.

They roll her balled fists into effigies

To offer scarves and hats and carrots.

The boys throw rocks at her freeze

Shatter the puddles where her breath bubbles

She kisses them with bruises, bumps

Becomes untouchable beneath them

Sends the blood from their fingers, toes

The hot swell of its rush reminds her of

The icicle she once lost in someone’s mouth.

She wishes she could keep their imprints

Fast like rock.

She spits at the sun

As it paints her chest gold

Reveals the grit beneath

The city splashes her back into its gutters

And the clouds gather her remains

To scatter somewhere out to sea.

 

TRIOP EULOGY III

The kind of monster you expect from a puddle

Body serrated

Leaf-like

So little time

Sift this temporary grounding through my gills

Tusked faeries hunting females

Toads rutting in the gloom

Eggs left in the dirt

Tadpoles grow legs

Crawl free

We are microscopic cannibals

Cloning ourselves, splitting in stress

Of the daylight death swelling

Above our heads

The choking that’s to come

That small, mud-born

Egg-sacked ghosts of ourselves

We will sleep until the rain falls