BLUE CANDY

before I know it, I'll be 70.

Anatomy of a Fork

I loved my great Aunt Rosie’s forks.

Age showed on them in the same way it did on the elderly. They were rickety at the top, where the forked bit met the handle, and a little rusty too. But they were very smooth, worn down almost. To the touch they felt much like an infant’s skin: tender, polished, still ripe. Each finger gripping and grappling, ready to pierce and grasp and make bleed.

The interesting thing about them is that they had three tines, rather than the usual four. Opposed to two women, feet apart, legs long, each was rather a man; disproportionate, legs short and stubby, with barren gaps rather than neat slots. The forks’ legs had long been bent and flattened and battered and abused by decades of gurning teeth, insatiate mouthfuls gasping for more.

What use is a body once it’s deteriorated, you might ask. I would agree, we do not like corpses, carcasses and cadavers. The body is beautiful in its prime, when bellies are taut and legs are firm and sweat looks less like lard, more like gloss – sumptuous, inviting, post-coital.

They were white once. Pure. Virginal, like a new moon with a pearl concealed right at the bottom. Now their tone was nearer the flesh of someone ill. Pasty cream and cracked along the handle. Roses the colour of drying blood still bulged on them lightly, budding off their green, veined stems. With edges frayed like stretch-marks forking along a distended body, they now held the semblance of a parturient woman.

It’s the stories that came with Aunt Rosie’s forks which beguiled me the most. I could feel them slurring onto my dinner with every bite I picked at, flirting with the taste-buds of my mind’s alley-ways. These forks had seen more of life than I had, more of death even. Each atom of their refined, silver bodies was lined with the echo of elite banquets and succulent luncheons. They resounded a fairer time when our servants would not just make us our dinner but, occasionally, become it.

The slow fall and eventual shunning of this tradition devoured nearly all memories of it. All that remains is a regurgitated speculation:

“Your great Aunt Rosie used to say it tasted like roast pork.” A scorched and crisp shell encasing the moist, tender flesh.

They took me back to a time when they were regarded as utensils of divine indulgence. Now they’re packed away, a set of stained forks, frigid and forgotten.

January 2017

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Die Selbst

After Bayer’s ‘Selbstportrat’ (1932)

 

I am the speckles under your arm

the cartoon steak you flop from your fingers

Fingers, fat, fat, fingers

of the men who will cut through you,

slice you open and leave you bare

 

A marble slab is just as well as

A stainless steel stretcher

Stretching mouths open to force out a gasp

Gasping for air in the monoxide tunnels

Tunnelling through eyes that never see light

 

and yet

 

There is a light and it never goes out[1]

There is a darkness and it never turns ‘round

There is a face in the mirror

it looks back at me, yet it is not mine

There is the shaking of hands

The tremors in wrists

The tapping fingers

and the drip, drip, drip

 

There is the flow through the dryness of rock

anticipating the migrating flock

fluttering through streets

in the scorch of the sun

overseeing transfixed patterns

that have already begun

to spin us around in a loop of square dances

and there’s you on my carpet

making me beg for mere chances

just a touch, one step further

from that harrowing gaze

stolen from you as your boy turns away

 

Here we are now

Past fights and drunk alleys

The frown in your brow

Lets him know you’re not happy

But it’s just us and a mirror

a clean slate of glass

no room

for mess

for spillage

for a third person’s mass

 

Re-drafted January 2017

Monochrome

I will listen

on a loop

to your dreams

spiralling off grooves

carved out of black

they used to come in one colour once

really, quite a long while back

now they are marble, or pink,

or green

as pines

wine bottles

your hair

when you asked me

to bleach it for you

anticipating a change

which would lead to

the stillness of moment

a monument known only by us.

December 2016

Corpus Christi

After Rachel Mann’s ‘Mappa Mundi’.

This is where the lights dim, the screen broadens;

a manifestation of rigour ardent, passion melted

into the superficiality of dream.

 

This is where your fingers graze as thoughts dally

remembering nights where the sand and sea met,

on hushed lips fused.

 

This is where the corpse recalls lost flesh,

gathers vein, membrane, the frayed fibre of bone

into sensation,

 

the men in white cut through, walk in

and hide from us, forming armies between

our fingers and bodies,

 

nolite te bastardes carborundorum:

yet with sharpened steel they’ve made it in

and you haven’t,

 

a story (some lies?) etched in skin.

February, 2016.

After Bayer’s Selbstportrat (1932)

the incessant ebb of being taken aback

rippling stairwells and endless shadows

we are all just fat and flour,

slabs of meat which break us,

 

make us

 

we don’t want to follow

 

I am the speckles under your arm

the cartoon steak you flop from fingers

Fingers, fingers, fat, fat, fingers

of the men who will cut through you,

slice you open and leave you bare

A marble slab is just as well as

a stainless steel stretcher

Stretching mouths open to force out a gasp

Gasping for air in the monoxide tunnels

Tunnelling through eyes that never see light

 

and yet

 

There is a light and it never goes out

There is a darkness and it never turns ‘round

There is a face in the mirror

it looks back at me, yet it is not mine.

There is the shaking of hands

The tremors in wrists

The tapping fingers

and the drip, drip, drip

 

There is the flow through the dryness of rock

anticipating the migrating flock

fluttering through streets

in the scorch of the sun

overseeing transfixed patterns

that have already begun to

spin us around in a loop of square dances

And there’s you on my carpet

making me beg for mere chances

just a touch, one step further

from that harrowing gaze

stolen from you

as your boy turns away

 

Here we are now

Past fights and drunk alleys

The frown in your brow

Lets him know you’re not happy

But it’s just us and a mirror

a clean slate of glass

no room

for mess

for spillage

for a third person’s mass.

 

November, 2016

stripped

dsc_0761

june 2016