hemisphere of shadows by Fran Lock

baby, doom’s slender evangelist, you came out of the night. out of my own
snaggletoothed imbalance, you came, when the black balloon was terror’s
chosen metaphor, and the black balloon was everywhere. no one knew
the world was ending. buttonholes predicted poppies; red kept getting on you,
with its shamefaced sensibility. history had carved a cruel act out of flesh. we
were taking refuge in a wound. it’s friday, with r.e.m. on the radio. dejected
data. clickbait, interpreted like entrails. money, our skinny green disease. i’m
typing pay me what you owe me, you mouldy posho fuck, but no, i know, he
never will. somewhere, over the rainbow’s phobic pouting spectrum, there is
a place for us. a french café in soho. free wi-fi, and my bandwidth is a parachute,
the signal sings a rainbow too. reading jeremy, his similes like sequins. screen
burn. the eye’s unsplendid choreography, black dots. my need to sleep is a flea
circus. baby, disaster approaches with its long tongue out like a dog. and you
came out of the night, out of the sky. white light  declares a ghost, debates a bird.
sky unset, rinsed of egotistical weather. walking through the square, a kid in chubby rubber boots beneath his numbered days. nobody knew the world was ending, not
the callow american youth, adrift in self-esteem, not the haircuts of the cold idea that puts you to sleep for a million years. they told me writing was greed by other means, a constant sucking up of everything that isn’t me. which is true: i read victorian
and incorporate the crossbones out of it. it’s what the mad do. sky, indiscriminate
sky, an indifferent equality and i am in the supermarket: meat’s dismembered
motley, glucose, a woman in a hairnet varnishing a star. baby, it’s all too much.
sweetness twists a tooth with pliers. embrace your broken body. all spokes.
impractical as bagpipes…


baby, daylight congeals a dress, bookshelves, blue bowl, sleeping dog. oh,
zopiclone, the tyrant eye won’t close. thought, then. inevitable nicotine, my
misfit tendency, black mud. i’m so strong. i’m ill-equipped for trembling.
see how the gilded fat slides from the candle. red and gold. seagulls. my shrill
decline. the morning doubly shrieked. my lust is a landfill. and in the dirty
sink, a spider. broken lotus. folded like a guru. how many eyes? a row
of them, a band, like gems in an engagement ring. spider, dark tent, guyed
and staked. drowsing, gouched. i run the water, rinse her velvet metrics to
extinction, half afraid. and still. her shimmer clings. the spooling vein runs
silver under dusty crocks of flesh. and we may not have much time.
atomically beleaguered world. oh, marry me. i’ll jump
your zombie bones. kiss me on my spreadlegged gender, on
my copy of the nationalist. we’re going to die. the comet
preaches impact, blows momentums kiss at russia, texas,
the shimmering phlegm of the serpentine…

baby, how to practice the ethics of forgetting. mechanic of anxiety,
1. how to tell him that it matters: his smile like a crack in a wine glass;
his body, asemic savour of small hairs. coupled. uncoupled. between
link and lack. poise a pen and threaten permanence;  blink and imply
disappear. burning a boy like a lean brown candle for years. we don’t
forget. we resurrect the dead, conjured out of coffins, white rabbits
leaping lucky-footed from a magic hat. he said you old corpse
whisperer, you. prickling increments of text i summon up grim nekyia,
calling forth in repetitious shifts the dead like nurses. i stretch event
until it snaps. modernity, her barbarous shebang. i imagine being mary.
and i imagine eating oranges, reclassifying planets: to lesser moon, to
fruit. i’m mary and i am on the stairs going oh! oh! oh! the reeling
lustre of spring. feeling fizzy. pithed the atom. iodined the sky.
let’s play! i want to know everything. my eye stoops to the keyhole,
my fingers conjure the brush. i’m biting. he is so big in his ozone
of fur i’m running. climbs the stair. he calls my name to no lumbering
avail. a bear is slow, with blood like soup. i’m a shark! i’m in my
swerving element. all teeth, my skin a yet more grievous mouth.
madness – unlike naming – is a truth you cannot step in twice…


baby, if i move i will explode. stiff. rigid with a nail’s ague, inwardly
screaming. drink milk, a blank page the body tolerates. not mine. what
day is this? what year? should make some art. should – crayons. a caught
and difficult world imprisoned in a tissue like a sneeze. keep it in.
that idiot is president and moaning overflows the mouth. an armoured boot,
parading on a windpipe for all time. i can’t get breath enough, open
the house like a swiss army knife, all doors and windows. i want to be
smooth as a sucked pebble. clean, if the world can’t be. you come out
of the night. harbinger, stag mask, irrational with antlers. love,
a remnant dread we suck like a knuckle. when there’s nothing else
left, when there’s nothing else left…


this sequence of poems grew out of letters sent as part of my “gentle reader” project: http://smithyofhersoul.wixsite.com/gentlereader

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