Monthly Archives: November 2011


from here behind these tattered sails

salt crystal forming on my lashes

I find it nothing but astonishing

that the moon still has a pull

to wake in

The anxious are rapt in chariot joints, buried

half formed in earth and bound in snapped bone

„we are sincere”, they said, „this is the real thing”


besides, I am the miner and you dig deep

my hair scrapes along your walls


there are struts holding up the stones

but one of us is not proclaiming the future is not riddled

with upwards hacking,

for one of us, the spear can’t help but pause the wheels

mit art

we are not actors anymore, we have no need

for hiding the shapes our birthing took us –

my ribcage juts today and lacings snap and


you built a framework on my skin – look

closely and your face is there, just between

the sketches that were my grounding but


photographs reveal my worst, a sepia flooding

the china slates of yesterday. You litter my floor

and a love hits me like a train – I am the sleepers


you are the rail


I lie on hollows of your shape, toying

your name exists and spills all secrets

a looping, a whorl and I’m still here


Today brings us back a set of slating skies

grappling for my sight amidst the taste of last year

at moments like this my mind makes me answer

a realisation: that you were pushed and didn’t slip –

we see the air keeps heading south and soon

another pair will find it too. I first notice blood on your tongue.


We’ve grown in split houses

and accustomed ourselves to corsetry that

teaches you and I how to run fingertips over

ribcages and lacings: how to grip a spoon so

some awful table-guest never realises

why we clasp our faces hidden: again, I see.


An end follows my voice: it appears you
balance thought with consequence and
space fills space between connections:

you sang another moment: you wish
to subtract yourself from photographs
until gaps are left in landscapes:

yet still years stream from tributaries:
an image left: there was a month before
when our lips throbbed and secrets came:


We are actors in this state – hiding our hands, changes

in our birthform, blame the numbers:

for my shape and breaking bones are a lot like yours and


mine were scaffolded, incised and exhumed – they

cast me up and split me like fruit, I know

if you’d have seen it, we would have talked awhile


for lying on my chest and eating hair results in

careful studies of ankles, specially shaped flooring

in which we haunt a stage, pouring into days

the other

She sang of turbaned and bearded men: it was said
she was good with words, leaving space:
to crumble old tales. Anew, an expansion, unorganic

tearing away through windscreens: girls
squatting outside the cinemas: assuming shapes of folded paper
and seed-pod splitting: there were moments

cracks appear, applied reds: afterthoughts to
corset us in: we remember that before we lost
surface: there were moments when we were not

a study in

the skins you keep stay constant, fractal,
static tied and rubbered in, all
down and moss-tiled, held by pins and

antiseptic colours come, I can only
ascertain who felt or watched by read-

-ing the dips in this sad but endless
display of softly angled lights

corridors, a breathing bowl:
this obese, mouth blown
vessel heaves and

old butterflies congregate
their genus labelled, curling.

A specimen samples itself,
a splitting of still air, some-
where, they lean over



These weeks see her walking your road, age pass
they bred mad cows and filled pits for change
“I was there too”, they said, “never isn’t difficult to see”

anyhow, walks barely end, up here
and the days don’t stop to shorten first

for one of us, the footprints we see stretch way ahead
some of us can’t help but slot our shoes right in. For others,
quite a difference occurs.


What, for which happened here
the blinds rolled out for you – just
a bit, splits and spits in sand

allowing different airs

a long-shore drifting

to penetrate and poke her way
the sticky mass, the throbbing, the
gagging with heat, a tongue lolls

so all rushup push and to the crack;
it manifests in leadlined glass –
we find, suddenly, the air

is fine for breathing

we fill a lungfull, bags swell and
though ziplock up again:
panic quickly looks like

panic: a panting, a hyper-ventilation
and gum forms underfeet and

soon it seems that summer comes
as it always does.

ten songs for children no. 8

Through acres of scratching
by streams of aching hands,
our gaslit footsteps stop and wait –
between all these trees
our lips part for a split fist.

We play our pairs
matching together this world to that
reeking of white heliotrope
and all our stiffnesses – this
place looks just like the last but

Yet we wake, as all
clasped in hides and crawling pelts –
this air, it seems familiar,
heavy with its novembers
coming from who? Sliding, soft
this crackling nylon
crosses my hairs
and pushes a sweetened mask
gaping onto our face

suddenly, we are old

Saga III

The nurse scratched at her worn knuckles. They carried the remainder of the coal dust she had been dabbing on the incisions she’d made on and inside her patient, and it coated her fingertips, leaving a black and irridescent stain over the backs of her hands which now swung crookedly at her sides. “There, there'”, she muttered. “There, there”. A deeply gutteral snarl was emitted from the misshapen form on the ground. Pregnancy within the royal household, way up here in the north, was never an attractive or miraculous process. The ceilings were slick and hanging with the condensation of burnt seal fat, the cadence of winter with its blood and sunless skies were an infection which couldn’t help but crawl its way between the cracks in the blubberlined window frames, and the pulsating belly which carried an heir seemed not so much a symbol of life but a reminder of the inevitability of the struggle to maintain it. Little did all three of them know that a story was approaching fast, pulled by dogs and heralded by a growing fervour amongst the people of the settlement. Still, within this room, a nightmare of its own was unfurling between clawmarked thighs and coalblackened knuckles. The room continued to grimly sweat and gag, and the fires which had burned for hours were reaching their sad zenith as they spat towards their end. The nurse clapped her hands above the hearth, and thousands upon thousands of carbon granules fell to join their source, or ignited for a moment in the heat which still hovered above the embers, falling away, or upwards, or nowhere. Exhausted and resigned, she released a rattling sigh as her knees crackled and rustled with her squatting.

It had been a long night, the reeking miasma of burning skin and heather was aching her lungs and her joints were dull and throbbing rhythmically with her old heart. She needed to lie down and continue her efforts in a few hours, of this there was little question, and the stool which numbed her hind quarters groaned in agreement. The patient continued to lie on the piled and matted pelts, a huge, bloated specimen of a woman, belly creaking and undulating on the ground, the imprints of tiny hands and feet within clearly visible, punching and stretching beneath the taut drumskin of a vast stomach. The woman was barely human in this state; she barked and groaned and flopped vastly across the floor, amniotic fluids and blood coagulating on her thighs. A child was coming, and all the nurse could do now was watch as a portent began to spill across the floor.


The last person who watched her feet crunch and snip their way through the compacted snow behind the fjords was a young man, no more than sixteen years old. He sat as he did every day, cross legged and turning the pages of his old books as his goats ignored the ice floes crumbling into the boot-black water. She had stumbled past him, not three days ago, after something had come to an end. He was barely aware of the happenings in the settlement.

They asked much, of course they did. Their questioning was vile and insistent, and overwhelming for a boy of solitary life. He was the last witness, the last contact. He had influence, and the mothers and the sisters of the disappeared hung above him, their insignia waved in front of his face and pockmarked staffs striking the floor at his feet. He told her family, as he told everyone else, that they had shared a glance and pocketful of pleasantries, that he had offered her a cigarette, a end of dry bread, a chance to rest her legs. Her family, as everyone else did, eyed him with a suspectful gaze, willing him to trip on his words, to betray a mundane truth, to confess. They hauled him before the oldest members of the community, a triad of weary eyes set deep and uncomfortably in weary faces, casked in social formalydehyde and horsehair, and these aged matriarchs of the town asked him again. What had he revealed? Why did the girl walk beyond the edges of what she knew and into the plains, to be taken by the cold?

A search party was sent out, with their lamps and what remained of the dogs of the previous year. They stood at the borders and called her name into the horizons. Up there, you could barely see the treeline, if there was one at all. Up there, men had lost their sight, and much more. The gathering of the strongest couldn’t bring themselves the cross the lines in the snow, not even now, after all this time.

He told them again, and again. He had tried to converse, to be joined in his thoughts, and he himself knew little about what lay beyond the harsh uplights of the whitened flatlands, only the stories of the times before, those which they all knew. At the mention of this, more than a few glances were thrown towards the longhouse, where it was known a birthing was taking place. At the mention of this, more than a few eyes were cast down to feet.

He was a simple boy, a keeper of emaciated livestock and a broken sled. His book, which was tied to his wrists by a long leather cord, was something passed down from forefathers, a relic of a forgotten time. He couldn’t read the myriad symbols, the writing, any more than anyone else could. The book was irrelevant, he said. She didn’t even see it, or ask about it. She just kept walking north. He mentioned this over and over again, until it became certain they would take the bound piles of foxmarked papers from him. It had happened before, and in his father’s time, he was told, but he held it to his rackety chest and passed his thumbs between the pages. He took some comfort in their uniformity. Nothing else here was constant – each autumn the land and all in it was carved into a form of icy stasis, and each spring it was moulded through watery attrition into new shapes, for a few short months of glaring, unending daylight. Glacially, the landscape never stopped creeping south.

A decision was quickly made, and the girl was not yet found. In the distance, a moan erupted from behind a door, and someone thought they heard a baby cry.

They say he pleaded his innocence throughout the excruciating length of the ordeals, and they say he looked into the windtorn faces of the mothers without even flinching. They say he would have passed all the trials an innocent man, were it not for the fact he confessed to being the last man to see her. They say he stopped speaking, just before the end, and sat cross legged in the snow as they fell on him, a tribe of people seeking an angry omen. They say they couldn’t prize the book from his frozen fingers, even long after most of the congregation had forgotten why they were there. They say that when it was over, there was nothing left of him. They say it soon became obvious that this was the third portent, with no doubt in anyones mind. They say it had all already begun.

The nurse patted the remaining coaldust from her hands, sighed, and began to dig into the snow. She dug for quite some time. Spring was on its way.

10 songs for children no. 7 – ‘sermon’

You gathered all the ecstasies beneath your ragged nails

Suddenly, we are old


the crooked timber of oars
screams with aching hulls
as I drag through glacial straits