This Old World

 

 

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Come to the Old World: with our buried books,

Our library towers Alexandrian,

Burnt. Our ruins around us, castle rooks

Of thought arising to the northern skies,

Disintegrating. Once, we worshipped kings,

War-anointed gods Antlantean;

We once kept court, and wrote out comedies

Of broken hearts, to play our lovers’ strings.

 

Our royal gardens overgrown, our fools

No longer dance in private palaces:

No longer do the weary drag their tools.

We are the republic of those former crowns.

Come to the wreckage of this fine Old World.

Come watch our mystery plays and malices,

Where Clio sang her first and final word

Down winding stones in all our winding towns.

 

Our seas are olive-salted, and our wines

Are aged like an exquisite manuscript.

And if you taste the dust in spoken lines,

And long for skies in lapis lazuli,

Come share a glass of vintage, and unweb

The cellars where our histories are kept.

We’ll drink as westward glories softly ebb

From our Old World, where it was sweet to die.

 

 

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Ripen

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The mists of morning cloud and brew,

While the moment occludes in our eyes,

The strings of autumn catch the dew,

As the spider grows fat on the flies;

 

The best of summer’s overdue,

And its ripening reddens our skies.

A crystal autumn frames the view.

And the spider grows fat on the flies.

 

 

 

The aim was to write a poem on autumn with two concurrent but different rhythms. On the left is the simple, iambic rhythm, with its positive and pleasant imagery. On the right is the anapestic counterpoint. One can either read every line from top to bottom, or the whole left column before the right.

Onyx Mirror

 

 

For A Selfie-Taker. 

 

 

Never the form, at first: the physicality

Pressed against itself, the tendons tense

From glorious exposure; but the lips.

That is the first reflection to be felt.

Not a smile, snarl, or smirk is seen thereon,

No sneer or kindness: but perhaps, a secret

Pursed upon decision, playful silence,

And his reticence. Hidden like this,

Unspoken name, or the first word he breathed –

Those lips know something some would die to guess.

So through this lens of a distant, subtle screen,

In a handheld onyx mirror, an impossible kiss:

Feign to kiss this mirror, for me – please.

 

 

Sapphire

 

 

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument and guitar

 

 

ARIEL to Miranda: Take

This slave of music for the sake

Of him who is the slave of thee;

And teach it all the harmony

In which thou canst and only thou

Make the delighted spirit glow

Till joy denies itself again

And too intense is turn’d to pain.

 

When first we touched, you smelt of smoke,

Of one-night bars and ice.

Your perfect hollowness, as though

It echoes even mine.

That gentle protest as I stroke

Your neck; and when you bite

My fingertips and moan: I know.

Our hips and waists align.

These wires, I could strangle you,

So artful, leaning in,

I pace my breath. You’ll hurt me, too.

Hold tight, as we begin.

 

 

I called my new guitar Sapphire for a number of reasons: knowing full well that it could be the name of a good time girl somewhere in Florida. 

 

 

Undecided Colours

 

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If it rains, they say it pours. It’s true.

The blood, the paint and the water were all yours,

I’m soaked with decision. Drenched in this.

I dripped as we stood in the queue.

My lips taste paint. And they are wet.

And the roof of my mouth is called “palate,”

It was chosen by you,

Off the rack, with a dress and a pair

Of rose-tinted shoes.

We stand by the shelves, picking through,

Palates, tastes, tongues, choices. The language

Sticks to my mouth like paint, thick enough to chew.

 

We walk out, with a bag full of “she,”

To their aqueous touch,

The trickle over my skin of

Their eyes, pouring over me,

Rivulets of choice. Their choices now, too.

 

Why did you hide my beautiful skin?

Why do you fear my beautiful skin? For you do.

 

You know, I don’t think this gown will quite do.

I’m hanging up the frock you threw over me.

I will wear an undecided colour,

Mother. Or I will drown

In blue.

 

 

This poem is a response to David Puck’s “Gendered Colours” works, as illustrated above: his copyright. We are collaborating on combining his visual stimuli with my writing, and I anticipate – and greatly look forward to – further work in the near future. 

I have noticeably been influenced by a number of themes and writers here, consciously or otherwise: Sylvia Plath weighs heavily in the rhythm and rhyme, which only struck me after publication. It explores a number of current topics, and truly does benefit from reading aloud: please, read this out loud to yourself. It paints the picture exquisitely. 

David Puck is a Berlin-based artist. You can follow his Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/davidpuckartist/ 

Imago

 

death's head moth.jpg

 

In return for my eternal wait,

You would feed me honey; and lovingly, nightshade,

Grow my comforts; keep me safe, and warm,

And place my chrysalis as the final song

Of your last victim. A flutter in the throat.

 

When at last, they look back on us both,

And all that we achieved, where will it tingle?

Which piece will I miss the most, once it’s removed?

Will you offer a kiss goodbye? Before

I emerge: a flutter in the heart, imago.

 

 

 

Inspired by Silence of the Lambs. Dedicated to Blair.