Well, here we are in December, and not a very happy world right now.
Let’s hope we can draw a little strength from poetry.
Creation myths seem to come second to birds in popularity on Keep Poems Alive. This one is our third and they are all very different. Slightly creepy this one perhaps, which our Spider poem is not: it’s about intricacy in a piece of music.
The other three poems are about people in couples. Separate or together? You decide. This week’s poets are P. C. Vandall, Chris Jackson, Alice Major, Rachel Bentham and David J. Costello.
Hopefully you’ll keep sending your favourite previously published poems and keep sharing the posts, so that as many people as possible can continue to enjoy all these poems.
What’s Between Us
What’s between us is this space, dark
matter that makes up billions
of particles yet neither of us
can see it. You on the sofa,
me on the love seat, this expanse
that might as well be a savannah
of leaping gazelles and zebras,
a stampede of rhinos in a deep
rutted gorge. Behind us is the fire-
place which holds the frame of us–
a wedding picture with silver
bells and dust, inanimate
as the mantel we stand on.
We are statues on a mossy
ridge beneath a giant weeping
willow. You wear black and I wear
white. We are lovers drawn together
by an artist’s charcoal touch. We face
each other with vows in the air
but again this space between us,
this ever widening gap that grows
like ripples on water, rings inside
trees. You can’t always see them but know
they are there. You sit on the sofa
and gaze over at me on the love
seat. It might as well be an ocean,
prairie sky or the African
Serengeti plains between us..
First published in Silver Bow International Poetry Anthology III, New Westminister, BC, “Between Air and Sky” Print Issue, October 2012.
On hearing Dusapin’s String Quartet No. 6 (‘Hapax’)
I am, of course, a spider:
my obstinacy, a viola;
my gossamer back-and-forthing,
of a violin. Watch me,
busy always to continue
a spider’s life. All things
love the little kingdom
they inherit. This is home,
intricate with fetched
fidget, this scratchy bow-flight
is a busy cello urging
me to tracery,
all tossed about in
winds of orchestra.
And did you hear that bar
when everything united,
when an abseil’s pause
by a coalescence in the score?
It was as if the sun
saw our swaying,
and hurried to republish
First published on London Grip, and then in the author’s 2013 collection The Gallery from the University of Salzburg.
A creation myth: how men and women came to be
Old moon, rheumy and red-eyed, draggled
down alleyways, fished in dumpsters. Among
the cans and cast-off pamphlets, he found
a breast. Then in other trashcans found a thigh,
an arm (round as the turned glass of a vodka
bottle), tresses of cloud-hair. Thoughtfully
he tucked them in his dark old duffel bag,
then spread the pieces on the concrete
parking pad behind an office tower. They
shimmered and drew whole.
At the sight
of First Street Woman, her skin shining
luscious as the light from neon signs,
old derelict moon widened his eyes, swelled
to his fullest phase. But she saw the murky
patches on his face, the silver spittle
at his mouth. Turned a scornful, lovely
back on him.
“But I made you be,” he whimpered.
“So?” she asked. And drew
the shape of First Street Man in lipstick
on the poured concrete. He sprang up
all magazine-torso muscles and skin
like oiled polypropylene. They took hands, left
old moon to shrivel in humiliation.
He returns each month, checking
his trapline – the wire trashcans that hug
utility poles, the rusty blue dumpsters. Always
his crescent penis swells at the sight
of First Street Woman. Then remembers
and shrinks away.
From Tales for an Urban Sky, first published in 1999 by Broken Jaw Press
For Dennis O’Driscoll
In the supermarket
my hand reaches for the longest spaghetti
because the slim pack is elegant.
Conjured tasty meals float
through the aisles with me,
happy thought bubbles…
At home the lengths will coil lasciviously
in our bowls – a simple supper
between us to soothe and cheer.
All that I reach for is blessing;
a geography of delicious choices
awaits my roving hand.
Dennis waited for his wife in the wrong
supermarket, each moment filled
with his patient wit and kindness.
All that we need is offered, and
I’ve earned enough to pay;
gratitude moves in each step.
are glory itself
First published in Poetry Scotland, Winter 2013
David J. Costello
life clocked us
unwinding our futures together
scouring clumsy pirouettes
in the glass
of our eyes
‘till we blurred
into accidental worlds
with just enough gravity
for each other
but the sun curved you
a new orbit
while I spun on the spot
now I dance on the soles
our hemispherical separation
when the music stops
will it take longer
for the silence
to reach me
Envoi 160 (Cinnamon Press) published December 2011