Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Manual for Growing Poppies

Who would have thought mud
could be so heavy?
Every step an accretion,
a bracket fungus bracketing boot leather
in hollow homage to Mercury’s wings.
Every step a drag.

Poppies will grow here, they say.
Poppies will grow,
lovers of bones flaked clean of their skin.
Fertiliser, we become.

Icarus is in the skies, falling in flames.
Icarus and lead, kissing,
out of their elements both.
Icarus falling in flames,
bringing heat to the lowly,
seeding the ground with metal.

Poppies will grow in the churned up soil.
Poppies will grow,
strong in our decanted blood.
Poppies cleave to disturbed soil.

The almanac is open at the seventy-second page.
The seeds should be sprinkled on freshly dug soil.
This is an expensive excavation.
This should not be.

Ack-ack traces the constellations.
Ack-ack lights wires between the stars,
and Icarus plunges in shame,
shedding limbs like feathers to fertilise the earth,
the smell of earth and blood and kerosene to keep us alive,
the fires to dry the mud a little, the fires to cremate the dead.

Poppies will grow here.
The living six foot deep
the dead sprinkled like seeds on freshly dug soil.
Poppies will grow here, they say.
Poppies will grow.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Plate

Even peas were a deadly enemy.
How could that be?
You crushed them, one by one,
Bugs under your fingernail,
Threats to be obliterated,
One by one,
Like the counting of an abacus
Like the ticking off of boxes,
Like the annihilation of an enemy race.
A slow calorie count,
Of calories unconsumed.

Monday, 2 May 2011

At Heart, We Are Chemical

We spin,
each nucleotide a handshake,
an irresistible cohesion.

We are made of lovers, clinging tight.
Bindweed. Smaller than bindweed,
more close, more compact.

If you were a universe, he said,
Each of my planets would circle your stars.

If I were a universe, my heart would be bigger.
I would be able to encompass hate without a twitch.

If I were to dissect myself,
and lay out my soul in a periodic table,
each square tablet would be a letter from home.

Each square tablet would hold a solar system
of electrons waltzing about their nucleus,
like lovers unbearably held apart.
A Mormon love, perhaps.

If you were stardust, dull as sand (he said)
I would love you just the same.