Eggs

November 30, 2006

On the seventh of December
the free range eggs from the Co-op
will have reached their expiry date –
and you will have left.

These two facts are as certain as each other,
randomly linked and I am
no more capable of keeping you here
then I am of halting

an organic process.
We have three more meetings to go.
three times more to sit in the same
egg box carton of a room,

your orange yolks of light,
pooling liquid like
between the upturned faces
of our two chairs.

If I was a conjurer – or a magic hen,
feathers braided in lame, gloved hands
moving like pale grey wings,
would I produce a

perfect untouched shell?
roll it in my mouth,
hold it in my hand,
again and again and again-

Or would I take my last egg
and boil it up with water
salt it for my tears and smiling,
eat it through them?

On the seventh of December
the free range eggs from the Co-op
will have reached their expiry date –
and you will have left.

The egg box is empty.
There will still be eggs.

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If These Walls Could Talk

November 30, 2006

This can’t go on you know
I know
I don’t usually say anything
but it gets to the point where-
I know, I know, I know
Well, what are you going to
do about it then?
It’s hard for me to just
hang around watching,
day after day, not saying
anything-
what do want me to do?
something, anything-
just so we’re
moving forward here.
For Christ’s sake,
I know you’re scared
but you’re not stupid
and the longer you put this off
the harder it’s going to get.
Do you really want to be
sitting here, in exactly the same
situation, 10 years from now?

Well then.

Poetry Thursday

November 30, 2006

I guess it’s the universe’s joke. After being on holiday all last week it’s natural justice that I should spend all this week ill. Evil, evil infection. Very strong antibiotics. Sensation of wanting to throw up over the keyboard, right now. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Anyway, this week I’ve felt so abysmal I haven’t even been able to leave the house on a painkillered up pseudo holiday into town. I have entertained no friends, enjoyed no witty company. There’s just been me, this weeks Poetry Thursday prompt and…

These Walls

If these walls could talk
They would complain
in the bathroom, to the
pale cream paint, about the
ancient layers of crumbling brick
soaking through the plaster and
bruising on the skin
in black blooms
of rising damp.

If these walls could talk
They would be careful not to
speak too loudly
around people.
Here in the lounge,
they’ve seen enough
Riki Lake and News 24
to know what might happen
to talking walls.

If these walls could talk
They’d whisper carefully
breathing words through
magnolia pores, ghosting them
over shoulders into ears.
They’d pour streams of verbs
like salt into tea. Don’t trust him,
she doesn’t like you,
leave.

If these walls could talk
They wouldn’t know what to say
day after day,
watching the same thing,
four flat faces, listening like
trained psychologists
but you can’t force change,
these walls know, sometimes
enough just being there.

Six Days in Wales

November 28, 2006

First day: scarfed up in
oily darkness, nothing seen,
steepness felt through legs.

Second day: pouring.
Going down with breaks pulled hard.
Old lady in hood.

Third: sunlight so bright
we want to eat it, matchstick
men, just silhouettes.

Fourth: mauve anorak,
with white hair beneath a scarf
carrying a bag.

Fifth: get better at
changing gears going up, but
easier to walk.

Sixth: said boh-ray dah
to a small boy, who then tugged
on someone’s arm, a

girl who said hello.
Seventh:
no hill.

Mfanwy:

November 28, 2006

name of the girl in the
cloth of gold shop
where I tried on the
PVC fish tail. Heavy,

in tie dyed black
and woolen hair;
layered in velvet
and climbing up a

narrow wooden ladder-
“They get you doing
all sorts in here”
she says.

She goes for donuts,
stuffed with jam and
dipped in sugar
and mixes up

2 hot chocolates
for her and her friend-
“You’re an early heart attack
waiting to happen,

Mfanwy” she says
while Mfawny tutts,
in Welsh and passes me
the cloth of gold skirt.

Window Display

November 27, 2006

walker-evans-window-display.jpg

The objects are hanging from white string
illuminated by a flash bulb
like x-rayed anatomy:
flat white bones of oven plates,
the pale ghosts
of rolling pins.

The objects are hanging from white string
dangling above a city of
cups and saucers and
miniture things like houses:
the reflective face of an iron,
a sharp bowl of new tin.

The objects are hanging from white string
strung like a Cocteau assemblage.
They are the last objects left
at the end of the world.
They will be there forever.
We will all forget.

Ref: Walker Evans. Window Display. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Son of a Miner

November 27, 2006

walker-evans-minor-son.jpg

Small boy. Small dark pin pricks of
shadow for eyes; staring at me.
He’s sitting in a chair, one hand
star-fished on the seat, legs and body
sidled over to the chairs far side.
His skin is paler than the light
shining off the mirror near to him.
Dirty feet; toes lightly touching
wooden planks, one foot nudged
behind the other: small boy of a
ballet dancer. Son of a miner.
He’s looking at you.

Ref: A Miner’s Home, Vicinity
Morgantown, West Virginia,
July 1935

walker-evans1.jpg

The small baby is lying on a piece of
white linen: A square with a crease
down the middle, lightly crumpled,
but clean and set against a sky of
darkly slanting floorboards.
The child is covered over by another
square piece of white linen –
completely covering its head and face.
The shape of its body is lightly outlined
and poking from the bottom there are
two legs (one bent at the knee) and a
closed fist. One foot is dirty but its toes
are like tiny balls of snow. The other is
decorated with a bandage. It is a hot day.


Ref: ‘Squeeky Burroughs Asleep
Hale Country, Alabama, Summer 1936, Walker Evans.’

Not one of those people

November 25, 2006

I’m not one those English people pretending to be Welsh.
I do not speak your language. I do not understand your
landscape. Your weather systems – tearing through your
valleys, blasting your cliffs and bringing down your trees,
stagger me with their violence. My mother is Welsh.
She speaks your language, slips into it as easily as an
umbrella turned over in winter. When she finds a
Welsh bus driver, a new Welsh person working in her
local English corner shop, her English vowels are scrambled,
tongue clicks into new shapes, and the Welsh she has no use for
is shaken out like a rolled up bedspread or a map – dust
rising up in cast off clouds and settling silent as soft shoes.
Once, when I was six or eight and my mother was hoovering,
I was making a nuisance of myself. Wailing and crashing like a
small ocean, treading on the wires of my mothers tail, deliberately
getting in the way. My mother, turned off the hoover and
grabbed me by the waist, pulled me up, legs akimbo,
forcing my arms around her damp from working vest and
sang to me, words I didn’t understand. Words that sounded
made up. Words she had no use for. Words that slid like iron
from her lips and slipped into my skin like a cold and sunny day.
I couldn’t sleep without them for months. Not until I had them,
hard wired amongst my TV jingles and night time prayers.
Sometimes, I would take this small fragment of my mothers tongue
to school and recite it over and over: the story of a horse
that fell into a river and then got up again. I asked my mother
to teach me Welsh, to help me move my tongue in different ways,
to click and snap my lips, to talk about her lost hills and valleys
and weather systems, to roll my words in earth and salt and rain –
we never got around to it.

Nose bleed

November 25, 2006

blood comes quickly,
hitting the porcelain white of the
wash basin with brilliant splashes of
scarlet. Not my basin, I struggle to
staunch it with cottony wads of paper:
lilies turned poppies in
alchemistic hands

It suprises me
at first, but then the shock
changes colour into oddly pleasant
satisfaction, for a body still capable of
grand gestures, for the startling language,
of protest, the crimson letters of
twisted self.

Panic comes later,
when running like water
blood is still pouring onto borrowed tiles,
falling into long lines of shapeless ribbon,
dissolving into water, bleeding out, I can taste it
in my throat. It tastes like metal.
Smells of salt.