Patterns of Decay

Vol LI, Patterns of Decay


Ctrl- Z

We cancelled the mountains
through an erosion of keys

Pell-mell angles, spewed cuttings,
tumbling balls of bloodied string,
melted ice cubes, jagged cliff
hangers (coats still attached)


into control Zzzz,
the two voiding each other out.




Tongue-ticket swiped in the locked-deck
don’t tempt the pickpockets with your lactating technology.

The corridors here are crammed with haemoglobins
and posters of screaming babies creaming off the walls.

Soft tissue reassembles itself around seats and metal rods
to fit into the envelope of tunnel-shaped skin.

My pulse is stuffed in my handbag, stuck to used kleenex,
I hear it vibrate, eight times, and then it stops.




Your H is a jarring
hip on the page.
You write with bones
unsheathed, bloodless,
muscles flicked off
the point into the carpet.
B’s like sockets, N’s like clashing teeth.
No ligaments or soft tissue:
it’s a pierced sheet,
sieving all that leaks
into a common pit.

No one will tell in fifty years,
which corpses are yours,
and which are mine.



Pass the Parcel

Untie the knot, the crossroad of conversations
that loops into babbling curls above the trees.
Shed the walls, its wires and pipes, the jolts of air
and electricity, the spiders that connect the rooms.
Strip them away, leave the blueprint, a time
capsule from 1991, flattened grass rising as it did before.
Carve this out, remove the earth, the worms,
until all is left is a steady granite heart.



Dead Art

In your room
dampness has bloomed;
it creeps up the walls in arabesques
and explodes over your desk.

We’ve been squinting at the nerves
etched in your sink -
a spotted potato peel winks,
water blushes around its curves.

You left a foot container on the floor
like some piece of Dada.

Dried urine has cracked into a mosaic:
the crowd puzzles at its formulaic
approach, and mutters about cocaine
as it paces to your desk and out again.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find your bed labelled
and a gaggle of schoolgirls ushered around.




The other half

You’ve been hoovering the spiders that gathered over
the doorways whilst I kept your stairs steady.
Later, you spooned me as I watched the nozzle.
I waited for claws to unfurl like parasols over our bed.

Homes built for decades, carefully laddered to trap
with old lady smiles the flies that lost
themselves in a sleepy room, their
concentration dulled by the illusion of time stood still.

I watched you shatter the webs, sniff out the crevices
of the beams for previous tenants.
I opened the curtains, plugged music in,
tried to forget the swallowing whole of tangled beings.



The Motions

Observe the elastic at rest:
a childish drawing of a fish
made out of gooseflesh.

No wonder it needs to be tensed
until one of its lines
grows worryingly thin.

These tightropes flirt with the snap.
fingertips contract and loosen the tension,
bucking bull to its funambulists.

I nearly broke it just by looking at you,
the band would have been disconnected
by the break. I wouldn’t have cared, not yet.

But I remembered the line just in time
and returned to playing its accordion.



Iona’s Network

Purrs run down the wires into the box
that blinks quick yellow eyes.

The transmitted leaps are undetectable,
but the sudden warmth on laps when the laptop
stretches open and wakes
are enough to remember
the way you connected us to each other.




The Ugly Sisters

We do not lie by the cinders
as she does
careful to keep the flames high,
but not so high as to spend all the wood;

burning is not something we know how to do:
the teasing of dying embers,
the strategic placement of crumpled words,
the right choice of dead wood;

we know how to enjoy it, compare its silhouette
to our flaccid waist,
                                    we turn our backs to it
but feel its eyes burning through the ash.




We looked everywhere except at the full stop that danced around the room.

It started with a stump
a stumble while ahead
bumblebees gossiped around
the neighbour’s petunias.
The postbox with its bracket open
- indecent, that laying open of zippers -
mail lying there, thinking of England,
while below you screamed letters
that made no words.

Your face never looked the same again,
the gravel letterpressed your cheek
mud stamped your skin, Braille eyes
glowed red for years.




Letting yourself go #327

Abandon punctuation

forget to squeeze words
into a tight pair of brackets

forget to let your sentences
under a limbo stick
and rise back up

forget to invert commas
around other peoples’

forget the full stop
and just let
without a curtain call