I was dancing on a small beach, white, Hebridean. Dancing through the sour
salt and sea of it, when I found you there.
Not in an acceptable boat on the water, but floating in your casket in the gothic layer cake of some Italian cathedral, a sweet swell of linen at your feet. I stroked your face, waiting for a feather of Old Spice to come to me, across the beeswax polish and faded frankincense. A touch hello is all it took, before I had you up waltzing, and held your hand, the hand of a marble statue. We Water Requiem moved to wretched violins up the wedding aisle, and I felt good. I hadn't been there to hold your hand when you went overboard. But it's not as if I haven't seen you since it happened. You came to me in my 1950's Vancouver apartment dream. Rang the doorbell. Walked right in. Flopped on my daybed with your hands behind your head, and demanded anchovies on toast. I hid my anger behind the open fridge door and wondered why it was always my job to tell you, you were dead. But now I think you know, as your leather brogues slide across the flagstones with the sound of tired bat wings. You know, don't you? That you're dead, and that you're only here, dancing with me, because of the water.
A shotgun in her parlour, Amazon says Enter.
A barefoot wedding. She gestures like treacle,
a guttering of purple in a dugout canoe on the dream banks of the living room carpet.
A diva she demands more body.
Her want is citrus scented.
She waits in silence, pulsating like a black widow's abdomen.
A calling. When you finally wade into the first-sex smell of nectarines,
she tells you a night-time scare story :
of alien autopsy, the power of the drum,
and the psychic potential of humankind.
Designed to send your blood into the web.
" Relinquish" she mouths into the spaces between your outstretched fingers.
Give way to the sinking vibration of a temple bell.
Let her drop you, head first into the green,
with nothing more to cling to than the ozone,
ivy and spider within.
The spiders are singing to their skull trophies, far up in the arms of the
She sits nearby and hears the bicycle bells of her childhood ice cream man.
Sometimes she sees a face she almost remembers from behind the jasmine curtain.
Her photograph has slipped inside its frame again.
It shows two girls surrounded by the pale tentacles of her love.
Like killing vines. All labels are dissolving.
Careful snakes watch the tea cool in her cup.
Her open mouth is a rain-crushed flower.
Words roll like marbles.
She is thinking of spiders again,
the way she thinks of the attic trunk and the time the lid came down and locked her in.
She believes it was the untuned forest of the ice cream man's bells that lifted the weight of the trunk lid.
She emerged into the raw light,
trailing an antique silk sari behind her like a broken moth's wing.
The spiders had been busy, had draped their own saris,
which vibrated like harp strings when she ran past them and down the stairs.
These spider memories still lay suspended,
between the notes of those liberating bells.
Between harp strings and the sanctuary of bells.
Move your lips silently skyward
The wide hips of a comet brush past us
like a flowered Italian woman
in the supermarket.
parting shopping carts
with a glance
not noticing a pyramid of oranges
that has begun to unfurl behind her.
You hold your breath,
embarrassed but childishly pleased
at the great rolling freedom of movement and naked colour.
Fall wild through these windows.
Be wrapped in their haunting scenes of rare sculpture.
scented hands held out for wafer communion,
the navel of a frost covered forest in Tunguska,
or a wall of blue veined moths
making love and icicles
and know that frozen rocks holding the burning diaries of planets
scattering their biographies across us.
I drag my hand along side the boat making scars in the water
like the ones you gave me with your razor tongue. I used to
expose them , bore holes in split granite. Before you left me.
Me , with my egg shaped porcelain dresses painted with the
names of all the men I'd slept with. You thought your name was
pressed into stone. Letters written by the weight of your shadow
upon my rib cage. You wanted to mark me. To prove that you
owned me, but I dug up the purple earth around the house and
planted locks of my hair to keep you away. I bleached the house
and ironed my skin , leaving nothing to show you had been there
except blank stone and a small price tag with your name on it.
When planting, consider the moon.
Trees : never place an oak and a walnut together.
wear blue velvet gloves to garden in,
Decorate your hope chest with origami birds,
Do the ecstatic hand dance.
Your roots go all the way down to zero.
plant horsehair in your bean trench to catch the cutworm.
Brush against the magnetic fields of purple sprouting broccoli.
To fulfil your desires ,weave a hazel chaplet and wear it in your hair.
A necklace of violets is your charm against deception.
Feel the waterplant tides , xylem, phloem,
through the ebony of your otter hands.
Fatal to mint , is the ash from the fire.
Cradle armfuls of vervain for power over locks.
Use tea leaves leftover from fortune telling as a mulch for poems.
Pour yourself into the space between breaths.
Make wearing your wellies a walking meditation.
When planting consider the moon.
I lie in the bathtub
my body magnified in cruel water
Listening to frog sound in a misty shell of self-pity.
My flesh is an alien landscape in the morning
no sacred geometry here.
Callipers of first light measuring my disappointment.
My hands obtuse compasses trailing lines around a globe.
I used to be something useful in the kitchen
until the great white monolith
cold and burning
and I was endlessly suspended
the between phosphorescent doors
wondering what to eat next.
Lately I've been sloughing old belief systems
across pathways of broken dolls
and whisky promises
In an attempt to soothe my inner child
but this dis-ease in my body
purple like the hollow of a disused jug
I breathe colour up from the good earth
and pour music into my chakras
from a fragrant teapot
while I wait for the image
of a crimson arc
crayoned across a white throat
My bathroom is your alter.Robigus-
god of mildew.
It's a surprise you're not a Scottish deity.
You feed well here. On the walls
thin layers of offerings, likened to gold dust
appear each week
behind the pictures of mermaids and mastadons.
I pay homage to you with half eaten drapes
and pillows stained with your black dot vomit.
You are already king here
with your court of grotesques;
hunchbacked shrews leaving teethmarks in the soap,
hydrocephalic mice keening Latin, in black robes,
and silverfish laying out your chainmail coat in the tub.
You rule this small kingdom with unrelenting zeal,
a festering penis your sceptre for sowing seed.
As I sit in this bathroom my makeup is rankled
and my skin is vibrating with that tight , pre-mildew sheen.
My negligee falls to join
the strands of your cloak that lie like broken feathers
on the floor.
This everyday death is too much for me.
I open my passport at Canadian customs
and notice that you took your time to say goodbye.
In the photo
on my left cheek
I am wearing your kiss.
He took a wrong turn at the water cooler, down
corridor seventeen and ended up in the forest, on the
ritual boar path. Hide, horn and hoof, the first
sowings of celebration. He saw hill women birthing
tribal memories. Their skirts whirring prayer wheels
in the wind. Found himself souring in tangible
realms of time-weeded plots, for somewhere to set
down his empty cup. Living mandalas- sycamore,
stems and branches loosened his beige, paisley tie,
and ran wild fingers through his pomaded hair. He
never knew why the music always made him feel
like running. Chewing on his gold-tipped pen, he
raced, breathing life into a dream cloak of fallen
leaves. A genuine act of heroism in a world long
safe from full moon bramble picking.