No 14 - May 2001
the gentle art of war
The creaking, leathery angel at the foot of my bed
says it is time to move on. I say no
it, Michael, even though every time I have
looked at you lately
I have seen not my future but Joan of Arc in my arms.
My love, after all, has left you a virgin. La pucelle.
The shades of your skin picked out in hairs in the sunlight, mine a cream,
yours a white. The beat of your heart a skitter against my thump.
Your breathing a flight, mine a gale.
You took my piece of France time and time again. I grinned and
bore you on my back, on my stomach while I rained and sandstormed,
and I judged you war-fruit, you never were. My ineffectual fingers
sought your breath, and they never found it,
it was never there.
It was never a gasp.
Now it’s a note. A chime in the night, well oiled and wound.
A star of sound, ruffle of the blonde, and everything’s a scene.
A dream of a scene where
you are falling, angel, splitting, seventeen, again.
A certain serenity, in your sullen, girl. Sullen girl. Certain
bites of you are pitted, pious, apple. Certain swims of you are
a drowning ocean.
Are atriums. A cut throat full of foxgloves,
babbling, Babel tongues in
you, but never in words, never in a spoken form of language.
Certain tears of yours are a hollow cave. My hollow
throat. Andorra. Breathe in, the open, pure, it’s ice, it’s light, it’s stone.
Folk and stone, all, the way, down
to a gateway, to a gatekeeper, to that boy-Nineveh,
wants me to pass you through, I won’t. It won’t come to that.
You won’t turn from me to holy, won’t take quests from hands that
aren’t man, that aren’t mine.
Aren’t Megiddo. Armageddon. Aren’t maiden, Jeanne, marauding.
Won’t bite my offering, won’t like it if I tied your hands and beat you with
your bible. Stoned you. Made you scrape the face of Jesus Christ off mine
yours off every look you give me, he’s no rock.
I am as stone as you will gel and you won’t die on any other cross but
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The