Several poems

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

For convenience, I'm uploading several poems as one piece of content.



I want to stroke the faces of strangers on the tube.
They’ve got skin like modern art,
all texture and bluff. Like guts on the surface,
stringy and pressable. I want to touch them.
I want to kiss them good-night.
I’d tell them stories as I did, if they'd tell me mine.

I love them. I love their dry skin,
like it’s about to fall apart.
Their stomachs, soft and round
or crushed right against their bones.
Their flashlight eyes that notice
or don’t notice me.

When one of them gets off
it’s a loss,
it’s an emptiness.
It’s lucky that they always get replaced so fast.
I want to run my fingers down their arms.
I want to dance with them,
I want to hug them till they bleed.

But I won’t, I can’t,
so I’m touched inside my head instead,
while outside
lights carve up the darkness,
and disappear. 





Clinicians must also acknowledge that the lack of definition or integrated identity, or
the inability to have authentic relationships, is negatively correlated to psychological


The problem is none of this adds up to much.

Figure one: black-and-blue dancing,
breathing like there’s nothing inside you,
limbs clinging, clutching the boy
who happens to be there and kissing,
or trying to, pulling back, lifting a hand
to stroke your own soft safety-net hair,
rolling it right down your tight, frightened neck.

Figure two: years and years of waking,
freezing, at two in the morning,
eyes very green but smeared with sleep,
and somebody being there next to you,
all running water and blown-back sails,
moving a hand side to side on your arm
and lips like lamplight, whispering.

Figure three: a girl in a rat-fur dress,
copper in sunlight, burning, pale,
not to be touched.
Who sets you off breaking,
and your skin blind, fumbling, muttering
and arching itself round your mouth and eyes
till you can’t even walk in a straight line.

Evaluation: you begin to suspect
that your tests are unscientific.
That you are asking the wrong questions.
You begin to hear, somewhere in the distance,
the moon, or a bird, repetitively moaning
a shifting half-familiar song.






Each time the morning grazed your face
there was less of it left,
drinking mud until the mud and you
were hard to tell apart.

It shaded your eye sockets,
your whole flattened brown head,
your necklace of tiny bones.
It warmed your skin, and after that was gone

it cooked you till the meat of you
was brown and hard. You lost your legs,
fingers, half of one arm, and your face
became mud-smooth, eyeless.

Still - most of a leather belt, a bracelet,
strands of brittle hair - milk and wheat
in your stomach - you don't seem
to have lost so much. Really you're lucky,

because we're pulling out hard cylinders
of mud from incisions in your thighs,
chest and throat,
holding them up to the light

of yet another morning. Because the mornings keep coming
and people who see you now look away,
walk out of the room,
touching their necks, staring at the floor.






The lights are still on
in the flower shop by Kilburn Station,
lying back, puffing on the air.

The wall is cold, but I clutch against it
because the air is even colder.
Beside me a man is waiting for someone.

If I were in love I could be excused anything.
To wait on street corners for hours
would only be human.

This insistence on counting stars
instead of sheep - especially given that here
you usually can't even see the stars -

something has to be done.
The roses press against the flower shop glass,
the girl behind the counter notices

me watching. A train chants by
somewhere overhead. The road is still
cluttered with cars, prickling quickly out of sight.

It is hard to imagine that they will ever stop.
But somewhere, far away, they open up,
and people I'll never meet step out, look round,

notice that there are no stars again, notice
the lights clicking off in the shops, and breathing out
each other's faces as goodbye,
stagger for door-keys, and find their way inside.

Submitted: September 27, 2013

© Copyright 2022 eccj. All rights reserved.

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