The £1000 Bend

 

The following poem was originally published in September earlier this year in Verge 2017: Chimera and is available at Readings and online.

 

The £1000 Bend

is scraping thin

between two things

that will not ever meet.

it’s holding onto handrails just out of reach;

the brightly painted bars

running overhead but not ahead

to hold you steady

as the faint electric whistle

cultivates a home

against the rhythm of your dreams.

 

Sometimes it lives in scared strewn things

screaming Shakespeare in reverse

too afraid to sit amongst the people

gambling on their £1000 bends.

It breaks the bones

of suburban homes

struggling to find a foothold in a crowd

as the tunnel closes in

at six o’clock

and the rails are beaten to a bend.

 

It’s warping iron tracks

and making glitter from graffiti,

pretending to be Michelangelo

praying in ¾ time

along a soundscape uninvented

and unparalleled.

You break facades

and paint them fresh,

tattoo the underground with compositions

and listen to the echoes

that beat like broken metronomes

skipping inside bars untimed

to the direction leading home.

 

You breathe the £1000 bend

like it’s the thing with feathers

and dare to waltz into skies of grey

as the weather stains in untimed droplets

to cries of engines and of people

who all start to look and feel the same.

 

Route maps and itineraries line your pockets

wearing along well folded lines,

as they leave unappreciated

little scabs of secondhand existence

in a notebook of apologies.

 

But before the steamrolled tracks

grind to a stop

you cannot drop

your fearless gaze.

Having lived, and breathed, and gambled,

and lost

you continue to bend

a thousand pounds to search your soul.

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An Expert Deposition

The most recent expert in existence I interviewed nodded as their shoulders shrugged,

A non-linguistic interlocutory cue signalling the exact disposition we share,

I shrug my coat on

And nod to acquaintances

I shrug my coat off

And nod in acknowledgement;

I concur with the expert — it is impossible to know.

My Hopes for You, my Love

I hope that life,

like a grand circus finale,

catches you,

at the moment you waver off kilter, teetering on the edge of

certainty

as the wind picks up momentum

and the distance to the

ground

grows brave.

I hope you find a foothold.

I hope your limbs are sure and strong and lively enough to stopper falls too deep.

I hope your soul accommodates caverns

vast enough for thoughts like these.

I hope you adopt a stomach for the edges

and learn that digestion of adrenaline is an artful skill to have,

but I hope that nonetheless,

the wind does less

than force imperviousness,

and more to free

the looser ends of yours,

your hair,

your eyelashes,

and your smile.

And I hope,

that I will be there,

awaiting with applause.

Pause

My life is smeared around me in books unshelved, clothes unfolded, bed unmade,

My life is etherised.

I float in atemporal headspace

and daren’t pierce through the filmy layer of rarefied air enclosing me.

I am enveloped, messily

Imperfectly sealed and threatening to spread, out

Amongst my possessions.

I make myself smaller.

I am not equipped to touch those things.