Category Archives: poem

A Walk

An oily sun

turns on England, see

rolling icons:

the slick stuff of old photos in

 

a shade of green that still

seems somewhat unlikely.

Pylons lurch from groaning gaps

where rust and soil collide

 

blowing inwards a

childhood terror, egged on

by public service broadcasts –

a boy once died

 

alongside greasy signs, all

Danger Of Death

and yellowed reminders that

our trespasses will be prosecuted,

 

unforgiven.

Out here, no good mornings,

no forelocks tugged.

Just wet stones, slowly turning.

 

Yet still cars pass,

out for Sundays strapped in.

 

A corner was taken at speed.

Birds slice up the skies.


Stones

This light-dusted town, pocked with memories

drags these feet between old blocks. Patina shifts, and the

soils of years harden. I am swerved –

westward and that way, past new wives,

shivering children, bottle-green voices,

those who sell and those locked in

to hands scratching deep, having grappled at mornings –

the bakers have left, the workers are hid. Somewhere

.

the sun does its thing, defying the wash

of English temptations, of time spent downwards,

avoiding the days. A road appears – surprising

one who spent time abroad – yet it holds the usual

glittering discs, and tightly packed wraps

of chemical compounds all set for the night,

boxes for boxes, and watery tea

infused with the times of the river.

.

Fate cuts no hands, but my legs are compelled

to step down this path my tendons had lost. I’m struck

at a window, piled high with desires –

softly forced rocks, strung up on silver,

jaspers and jets, vivid value in earth,

selected for those who are pulled to pass on

slices of India, hacked out by a man

whose coalface was lamplit, decades ago.

.

My eye follows wands tipped sweetly with orbs

knocked out of amber, suspending old lives.

Passes through pages, tinted expressions

exclaiming small magics, ways to heal, odes to

even the lamest complaint –

I come to rest on the girl, caved in receipts, and

propped to the side of a pretty collection

of bangles and phone lines, old records, deceptions

.

reserved for those who know their base. A piece

of something catches my air, and movement

makes movement, we bend to the floor.

She knows the deals, chips me away,

shows me a stone that will change

my days. Time is eaten, and weeks petrify

in bed-shapes, hollows, ashtrays carbon-dating

various poses. We identify awhile

.

as one, yet something stops mouths,

even swollen and sore, I look at her stones

refusing her faith. Energy, auras, cosmic detritus

drop from rubbed lips; I harden and shift

such attrition occurs, as if this is

some type of natural process. Erosion erodes,

we are carried in rivers, washing up

somewhere, elsewhere in towns.

.

Now, walking, I notice the beaded masses

painted and plucked, and laden with stones.

New wives, shivering children,

bottle-green voices

gather at windows, gazing to wish

at millennia structured in glittering cuts –

a slice of India, something to pass

for those who can abide the noise.


a year of all

For every sound stays netted, always

turning handles, smearing names and

I can only tell what changes

by picking out the rise and fall

of nebulous shows of skyscapes held

 

tightly trapped in bell-jars, we

push lips against the glass to see

only what is ascertained

between the splits made out to us –

winter passes quickly so

 

flick the switches, change the name and

open your mouths again to call


do us part

the air around my heaving face clambers with

smashed terracotta, glass, the transition of hemispheres

hauling a sun from this end to that one.

Dust catches on my lip and words still fail but

 

“one foot falls behind the last, and

he’ll be all he can for you”

yet while we wait for rings on our fingers

and bells on our heels – voices cease to start


for an end again

my half-held breath will follow – it always seems

you cannot help but sack my words and

tie them down between our days to

 

find a moment in which to wish

you’d stayed behind, away from lungs

which forced a space into your home

 

a curled form pressed upon your bed, still

the presence left in air forced out

between antique chairs I re-position –

 

yet still you welcome, me, my being

here leaves an image inside your eyes

a memory: there was a moment, we danced


An Interjection

My barnacled hull has ported – for a moment – and I request a bending of your ears and a pricking of your interests…

Just a few updates. Firstly, thankyou all for your attention. It has been to my unwavering and fragrant delight that so many of you are taking the time to read my poems each day – when I started this blog to display my first tentative (and admittedly amateur, occasionally appalling) forays into poetry, I did not imagine that a) I would still be doing it nearly four years later and b) gather over 500 “followers” and several hundred viewers per day. I am flattered, and grateful.

I just want to direct your eyes to a few developments which have occurred these last two months, and to promote a few who have decided to promote me. It seems only proper, after all.

The last few weeks have seen my work published on the frankly lovely Poetry Breakfast website – almost ironic seeing as I am far from a morning person, as many people would attest to, seeing me stumble around searching for my shoes and complaining loudly whilst others are going about their business, like real people. I genuinely pity any students who have me bang on about old Indian buildings before midday, I really do. Anyway, you can find me here: http://poetrybreakfast.wordpress.com/category/poets/benjamin-norris/ and I would encourage you to check many more of the pieces included.

Also, in the next few weeks, my work will be included on http://vscorpiozine.wordpress.com/ – another poetry/cultural dispatch website I must strongly endorse.

On a slightly different note, I am delighted to announce that my personal favourite work “The Hothouse” has found a fine and fitting home in the dry valleys of California, and will be featured in the next issue of the fantastic poetry journal “A Few Lines” alongside some truly far-out writers. I am greatly pleased about this. If any of you come from the New World, and wear flowers in your hair, I would urge you to get yourself a copy. http://www.afewlinesmagazine.com/

Also, the very dedicated Bonnie McClellan runs International Poetry Month’s flash poetry section through a series of readings online – this year, there is to be one reading per day on the subject of ‘Gesture’. She has kindly requested to read my poem ‘Gesture IV’ at some point over the next two weeks. More information can be found on her blog at http://bonniemcclellan.wordpress.com/

Finally (for now, I’m still waiting for confirmation from two other journals), one of my recent poems will be featured on the popular ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’ poetry site http://ink-sweat-and-tears.com/  in the next couple of weeks. So be sure to keep checking and enjoying the work on that website.

I wish to say thankyou kindly to all of these publishers for giving me the opportunity to share more of my work with a kind and appreciative audience. And thankyou very much to all of you for your comments, critiques and feedback – it means more to me than any of you realise. I can only apologise when I slip into a level of surrealism and arseyness which is uncomfortable for all. I apologise, but by no means intend to stop.

Love from an icy strait

Benjamin Norris


for the child

The early hours saw footfalls fill, seconds slide and

hit your walls. Lips hung heavy, loose for change but

„We saw it all”, they say, „we were there too”

 

whether screaming hulls or aching towers

or pebble-dashed from here to home

 

all things move and clocks do such things

we can’t believe. Such things can happen, first

 

we stretch to change, and heels slot in from time to

time the time gets eaten, a force occurs and

we become you – piece by shattered air-blown piece

 

whilst crouching in corners, tearing a slice

these are hours for weary, glass-faced men

 

we all march in, our heads hang hard

as the days grow longer

 

suddenly, a striking, and

suddenly, we are old.


for sight

We stay locked in gratitudes, forever

exhaling the ridiculous, as our used

glances done out in oils crack away, for

 

we know they’re scented as we wake

but kick up clouds by sleep again

 

I can only keep things constant, and some –

where inside an old key rattles

 

and reminds us – change is still to come


a night outside

A scoring of bucket-dreams, ticked off to each

point of light reflected, refracted

in skein-thin slicks sitting some kind of greasing

 

splitting to scores of sores therein, a spectrum

of what might be hope, what may be shovelled –

in gassing, or shocking, or simply talking

 

behind backs turned and inebriated – my head

remains in hands I am no longer certain

are my own – the glass swells nonetheless to you


the manners of the urbane II

the headsets ache their way through a split-

screen vision of homes for sale, perfection

in creases lost, wrappings of plastics hide their

hours when cloth was torn – toothmarks

somehow still visible though lips not sore

 

forearms stretch to repetition, a death outside but

forgotten in ends: there are bones there regardless

 

kitchens sink away, concretes creep and open plan

displays her best intentions, spread wide beneath

a bespoke desk heavy with distraction – a calendar

 

scored with once-promised days. Scripts appear,

voices rise anew: we remind ourselves of breathing


the manners of the urbane

draughting keys cut strips of days

we hack their way through locks of air

on days like these, wonder why we stay

inside for hope of a change of season

which came regardless, a wish or a space –

in which to wish, and wish but still

 

She’ll find her end, stuck away

found in a car somewhere and

 

carbon monoxide replaces us

piece by wind-struck piece


The Hothouses – Final Edit

It is incredibly rare that  I revisit or rewrite poetry. However, this poem has some real significance to me and I am hoping to get it picked up by a decent publisher. So, here we have it, rewritten and re-edited a third time – a little leaner, a little cleaner. The Hothouse is our gendered microcosm, a sweating, heaving mass of glass and foliage where we are grown into male and female specimens, blooming unnaturally early, our stems bending towards some muted light. Feedback extremely welcome.

The Hothouses

a poem in five parts by Benjamin Norris

1.

The heat in here stays constant, netted

kept unmoving, billowed down.

Down all, all the leaves to

lethargic rubbered limbs – I can only

ascertain who comes or goes by read-

-ing the peaks in this dim but varied

show of slanting white-wet lights

2.

wrought iron corridors
this swelling, lead crystal-
-ised sweat rises and
congregates in old fields

obese lungs, panting.
A stamen paralyzes the

hacking of mists. Some-
where, damp leaves
a shattering.

3.

We grow inside houses.

It may be easier
to find us – look inside
there’s a space where you can see
a battle with the urge
to simply orbit one another
swinging around a larger mass
we haven’t found a word for
yet. The days drop off,
we spend one moment
seeking ways to wound,
the next lost in grasses with
blades splitting skies, and these
useless links are what birth us
to ensure we never really move

4.

You spoke of long-gloved hands: you claim to not
see where the climbers stretch to, only spaces:
the leaves are powder. Distance swells, unorganic

a beating through the lead-lined frames: afterthoughts
assume your shape: you remember that before we burst
husks, there was a minute when we were not

5.

What happened here?
the window lining pulled away – just
an inch, a curve allowing
different airs

to penetrate
the sticky mass, the bulb
heaving with humidity

so all clamour to the splitting
shock grows out from the glass –
the vapour’s fit for breathing

the vapour’s fit for breathing
though fast closed up again:

enthusiasm soon resembles
panic: grassy hysteria gums
and tramples underfoot while

spring passes by outside
as we knew it would.


to tread

our traffic follows wakes: it would seem you

weigh out your steps with afterthoughts and

the spaces left fill nonetheless

 

the turning of snow shows: we wish

to walk without leaving tracks behind

until the days we were are not

 

yet still we don’t erase regardless:

clues are scattered, the paving bends before

memories of spring arise unbidden


Janus

the morning brought sheets of grazing snows
fighting for feet amidst memory of spring
at times like these the promise of hope is a
seasonal shift, an answering mind
brought on winds which whip themselves east and
cough over tracks. I see bones under skin and

remember that I am a long way from there
where I learnt to breathe bottles and teachers
would leer through jars holding artifice made
to mimic the plants that push through the paving
and remind us why – so hard to leave
but the hard ground will split in the summer


three years

They tell you: keep your birthplace in mind

and wrap yourself in family ties,

each birch branch

leaves raised tracks on skin but

 

Idle parentage makes for particular genes

a realisation: we go back as far as

roots will allow

wrapped up in themselves below

 

two hundred million, six hundred and a

thousand thousand footfalls brought

me far away for

old walled cities keep me kept

 

Yet I struggle – shake the taste from

a tongue tied in etiquettes

England follows

and drags flags at my heels