Tag Archives: benjamin norris

The Hothouse Remains

Written for Zymbol Magazine, read by Benjamin Norris (and Anthoine).

First video.

 

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.


Ores II

it seems all things leave a powder trail

forced out behind and scattered down

all things showing where what was

from green eyed girls across the border, to

                             –

scrapings of metals across new skin and

I can only really tell what changes

by observing the flashes in this refracted

show of blinding living lights

                             –

and each flash keeps blowing sulphates to

shuffled feet attracting rusts

which in turn, get dragged and shown

all that slowly gums my eyes


Ores I

We bore holes in us, as if attrition comes naturally.

Water does what water does, slowly builds more layers

while time comes on and throws us under inch-

thick crusts of residue. Slapped on fast, this way and

that, varnish up our weakest points so we can’t see

despite being flush against the panes – we stay

sitting, smoking slowly, refining the crudeness

of our gestures until we pump ourselves outside

                                     –

even then, nothing can remind you of the day

when our selves glinted, shiny new:

hips crackle and spit, and something silver corrugates lips

with not quite words slagged out in heaps.

                                    –

We grow inside houses, this much is clear, yet

our hair stays flat, we count the days in single strands.

Reduced to a specimen, a set of samples:

hours kept stock in breathing bowls, broken bones

pile up with kisses, the taste of iron.

My memories clamber under skies,

fuming full of smashed clay pots and the days

when our mouths moved, and music came


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


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 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


XV

these days are best spent watching in

seated silence, benches placed, rows

angled outside of wards. From here

we can be, look –

-ing through, for the sick to be seen

 

there on their sides, evidence of the human:

footprints and hands by vials of god

while children sleep to ignore insides

 

a hospital, an aching room, these

dishes multiply themselves as walls

sweat slowly on christmas day with

 

lessons learned for all of us