Oboe (2)

January 8, 2008

‘If my love
had an hourly rate
you’d be bankrupt.’

This she told him
whilst he was making
cheese on toast and she

was hanging herself against his back
stroking his spine like a long
oboe. He said:

‘yes –
but if it did
it wouldn’t be love, would it?’

She agreed
lacing her fingers into his jeans
five slim others making tea,

two thin cups
painted Klimt – bright
over porcelain.

Pausing
as she lifted up the fluted rim
she pointed to the

two blue lovers, moon skins
painted in a swirl of russet
gold hands clutching

at each others faces.
She pressed her cheek
against his palm

and turned about
against his mouth
and told him –

‘see?’ –
still as a lizard
‘just like in the painting.’

He said: ‘yes.’
And smoothed her hair.
Stirred the milk.

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Making Love

September 22, 2007

How is it possible
that we have never done this thing
before tonight.

How in all these years
of autumn pressing leaves
to swirl in gutters,

flapping orange,
curling dry and blowing high
how only now that we have

come to carry bags,
made from lists
of gathered words.

We always said we’d buy the book.
And then we did.
And now we’re here.

And my kitchen is hanging
like a hot star,
and you are reading:

simmer slowly for 5 minutes
and we are learning
the ways for making stock.

I am feeling
a fluttering
of the solar plexus.

With no one touching-
I am feeling
the small narrowing of lower back

hands brushing, hairs lifting,
a hand around my heart.
And our kitchen

has super nova-ed in the darkness.
Our clean cups, our hot water,
my body feeling like it’s made of fire-

and this thing
is something that I don’t know how
we’ve come to learn the art of making.

This thing,
that in the end has happened quickly –
I don’t know how it’s caught my breath,

I don’t know how it’s made me gasp.
It’s pinned itself against our shoulders.
It’s in the steam, it’s on the window.

It’s lifted up the sky.

Your Name

August 30, 2007

Heard your name today.
Came from nowhere like a
sharpened pencil,
red and shiny,
coring through my gut.
The corer, she didn’t know.
Didn’t mean to startle.
She launched it
on an outward breath,
slipped it in
to a list of
other names,
tired,
inoffensive,
soft and grey,
just another set of
forenames,
surnames looped around the
more names
always more to know
columns grown and never
noticed, then with
yours in;
your name,
that once I pressed between my lips,
once I said to others
like the corer without blame
is saying now to me;
your name.
Did you know
the one you live with,
tell to callers on the phone
write on forms, sign on emails-
did you know –
to me it’s like elastic
wrapped around a wrist

Your Name

August 30, 2007

Heard your name today.
Came from nowhere like a
sharpened pencil,
red and shiny,
coring through my gut.
The corer, she didn’t know.
Didn’t mean to startle.
She launched it
on an outward breath,
slipped it in
to a list of
other names,
tired,
inoffensive,
soft and grey,
just another set of
forenames,
surnames looped around the
more names
always more to know
columns grown and never
noticed, then with
yours in;
your name,
that once I pressed between my lips,
once I said to others
like the corer without blame
is saying now to me;
your name.
Did you know
the one you live with,
tell to callers on the phone
write on forms, sign on emails-
did you know –
to me it’s like elastic
the wearer never feels it
and then it’s like a sling.

If I should ever marry.

August 17, 2007

If I should ever marry, I should not wear white.
I should wear red. Those that marry in white,
they do not know enough. Or else they wear
their red inside. Not white, virginal,
but pressing from the inside out – a vivid lake
that beats like oceans running deep. My veil will bleed.
I will not reach that point without a fight. I will not fight
to stay unwed – I love, I feel, I want – it’s just I understand.
We have the tide of time – we have the battle scars,
like soldiers running up a beach, the butterflies of kisses
crossed across our limbs. We love each other in a way
that has been won but at great cost. I bleed each month
the moon is white, my heart is red.

Married

August 17, 2007

The other day we lay in bed and talked about our marriage.
We are not married. We have lain in this, or in another bed
for years that have gathered like so much dust,
the drawstring on a purse; we barely see the weight,
the days, the months, the years have folded tightly like a
concertina folded up. We are not married, but still we have
each others arms, each others face, a hundred photographs.
We have this bed, we had another. It’s been so long,
we are not married. We are not married, but are still here.
You tell me that I’m very traditional. I tell you that
it’s not that clear.

Think I might prefer the above version of it.

******************

The other day we lay in bed
and talked about our marriage.
We are not married.

We have lain in this, or another bed
for years that have gathered
like so much dust; the drawstring on a purse.

We barely see the weight; the days and months,
the years – have folded tightly.
We are not married,

but still we have each others arms,
each others face,
a hundred photographs,

we have this bed, we had
another. It’s been so long,
we are not married.

We are not married
but are still here.
You tell me that

I’m very traditional.
I tell you that
it’s not that clear

Delilah

August 5, 2007

(ITALICS SUNG)
Here’s the thing about Haircuts.
Here’s the thing about Haircuts.
You never know
what you are going
to get – when you get your
hair cut….

Why.

I’m known everywhere
and that’s the first thing they ever say:

Why.

Why d’you do it girl?
Why d’you hurt the one you love?
Why d’you take away his strength?

Why.

Why, why, why?
Delilah. Delilah like a
knife in gut, Delilah like a
poisonous snake.
Why, why, why?
Delilah. Delilah who
they’d all want dead.

I loved Samson.
I loved him like an insect loves
the kiss of flame. I loved him like a
mother loves a child she’s grown
like a child returns a parent’s gaze
I loved Samson.
Delilah loved Samson.
And then it all went wrong.
But things were never like they said…

and it was like some kind of magic spell:
your hand – flat back of knuckle,
curling into
my palm –
fingers gently curved up,
like a Venus fly trap –
if someone took a stick
and gently pressed its tip
into the net of
palm lines
it would circle like a conch
or a rhoda-demdrum
or a rose, rising to the air
from underneath of water –
but your hand –
when I lay my thumb inside of
your hand –
it is simply held.

Girl walks into a bar-
says the name’s
“Poetry – Girl
Poetry.”
Guy says “Fine
the name’s Tender – Bar
Tender.”
Girl says – “Tender,
I think we’re gonna get on fine,
now – mix me a whisky and soda
and stir it don’t shake it,
while I compose some lines.”

Tender watches Poetry
glide across his floor,
then he says-
“Hey, Poetry – look
you’re like

Poetry in motion”

Poetry laughs
then fixes him with
two cool eyes –
“Tender”
she says
“you’re like the night”

Tender looks at Poetry
and Poetry looks at Tender
and suddenly,
they just both know
what’s on each others mind

-put them together
and they’d make
Tender Poetry-

and for that split moment
they really do think
there is no other kind.

Long Black Coat

February 20, 2007

The time I took a taxi back from Nottingham
night flying by in dizzying squares of blackness
foreign landscape, usually only glimpsed from trains
I rang you on my mobile. Drunk. Voice slurring consonents
You were pissed off, but you needn’t have done a thing.
Except, when the car slid into Leicester Station
you were there, striding with a purpose towards us-
your long black coat, looking like a boxer, or a bear;
hair wild from sleep, face pale as moonlit water. You
paid the man and caught me, falling through the door to
half carry me, through the early hours of morning
back to yours – and there you laid me down on fabric
your soft brown curls, pale face, cold hands, all mixed up and
saying nothing. Your long black coat inside my head.