Night Poem VIII

The night is a stained basin,
and a hot bulb that grins over me
like a hitman.

Down the drain come voices
of lead centuries,
of sexual hurt,
of girls in love with their eyes.

The pipes are clogged with
hair and bad love.

And the night holds me to the mirror
like another failed experiment,
the third this week,
like a cautionary tale for earnest youth.

Because the girl has left me,
because the night is terrifying and young,
I seek the medicine that brings the
heaviest lids,

I seek a way to become
new on the cold ceramic tiles.

The hours drip from me now,
the deepening acceptance
that nothing is waiting on either side of the divide
of night and mountain.

Shivering,
I rest my forehead on the
stained basin,
with a childlike desolation,
I wait for her,
I wait for exhaustion.

Black Currant

I wouldn’t say I am at a loss,
for speech, for words, for flowers.

It’s just that, in the mouth
there is something,
dark, growing, blooming,
death.

I call it death,
but really it is the birth
of an exquisite black currant.

Where am I going?
I’m going to the middle,
the middle,
to the heart of the black currant.
At each bite, through the skin,

itself a galaxy, a life, a cold and deserted song,
I’m wading into the flesh,
blue, female.

It is a breast, a fullness between my teeth.
I know what I will find there
at the centre.

It is not a final nipple, not
completion, lust, perfection, fleeing guitar.
At each bite, the currant diminishes,

at each bite, the lungs full,
so gorged with the juice of fear and sleep.

Animals sleep in huddles of sand.
My palm is a vast plain in the night.

A single tree shelters the
black currant,
the current of my death in the desert.

A wind like a woman strips the dripping canyons.
What is it I find at the centre of my currant?

All fruit falls in the mouth of death,
my voice blooms in the mouth of death,

an ejaculation of stars,
smeared over the parallel skin of her waist.

Young Couple

Already in their eyes
a secret knowledge of smiles,
of new sweetness,
of the not yet completed.

And their voices,
which speak of mundane things,
of mornings, of childhood,
of the disappointment of rain,
conceal a tremor of bursting stars,
and tomorrows lost in endless sheets.

This precarious dance,
about the stamen of breathless youth,
could yet fail,
could burn in a conflagration
of jinxed guitars.

But, from body to body,
the night is the unspoken,
the necessary ache
that already spreads its roots
to open their brief mouths.

Feast

The streets go on expanding into holes in the night,
the waists of women become horizons of ruin,
and a mouth with a soured tongue
that fingers a land burning with the scent of animals,
consumes the innocent roots.

A tongue that invades the quiet thighs of lovers and dead storms,
that smothers deserts wounded with oil,
and dwells in vineyards of dry teeth.
A tongue that drips globs of lime in black seas where rain forests die,
where flowers, afflicted with flame, crawl from the trees,
to bury their faces in the soil forever.

Tongue, like a parallel sky, sleeps with a catatonic girl,
whose belly is a globe of burning ants,
whose eyes are sockets of broken rain.
Beyond the wreckage of my feast, a cicada, dark, like a warship, abides.
In its eye is a mouth with a flavour of ashes that outlives me.
And I taste, in the sweetest orange, in the ripened dawn,
a bitter pip, a murdered branch.

Spring Day

A warm wind of copulation
disrobes itself in the trees.
Days of the frenzied sun
show me a shadow of guitars.

A silent blood
courses through the streets,
filling the flanks of the men
and the breasts of the dead,
with a scent of watermelons.
To taste this overflow of flesh,
reminds me of the death of insects.

A cloud of copulation parts the valley,
where a wounded town lies,
soaked in a music of vagrants.
The pines there are an unreachable breath,
a loosening of spring,
a sadness in our necessary seed.

Midday strokes the thighs
of all the girls,
and brings a memory of thirst.

I

Making your way through the blossoms,
the world is in love with you.

Bright and unapproachable ones
repeat for us the play of the bittersweet branch.

Who doesn’t hurt in their outstretched blood,
in the presence of these sleepwalkers?

We would have you in our sleep too,
the way the spring has you now,

the way it wraps longing around your shadow,
and holds you in its jaws of wind.

Flow

The pool was humid and clinging

and you were all for

going for a dip with those boys.

And when I held back

perhaps you saw in me then

the hesitation that I’m built of,

how I only ever dip my toes first

into the mad and dangerous

flow of life.

But you were all for it,

stripping down to your

bikini top and short shorts,

leaping in, laughing, teasing,

seducing them,

riding on their high, powerful shoulders,

even though you couldn’t swim.

And I was suddenly aware

of your sexual flow,

and how you held yourself

taut like a bow in its stream,

that could enter men with pain or joy

and the slipstream of infinite sorrow.

And I was burning and shivering,

dragged by my toes

into that fragrant torrent,

a winnow, a flying fish.

 

Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014