Morning Person.

I wake up to three full seconds of bliss –

My dream not quite shaken off,

The world still has a pinkish warm tinge

I’m always younger when I sleep.

Back home and some adventure happening,

Self-assured and safe.

 

Then a switch is flicked

I can feel a prickling in my scalp

And the colour and heat is drained upwards sickly fast

Leaving my stomach until last, and twisting as it goes

While my heart betrays me with big clunking bumps

And won’t slow down.

 

My body that I have lived in,

Loved with,

The same one I laughed with just the day before,

Cuddled my dad with when I was a little girl,

Ran in the playground –

Jumped in the deliciously cold sea on a hot day

This body I have kissed and made love with

Embraced friends and shrugged off hurts,

Has turned against me

Has become possessed.

 

I am trapped.

 

Edvward Munch has painted me and I am gripped

In garish swirls

By a corrosive, twisting hand

That rubs like sandpaper against my diaphragm

And leaves me bent double and retching

Like a futile exorcism.

 

Nothing comes up but water

The allergy is only to myself

This cruel irony that my nightmares happen when I’m awake.

 

Wet Soap

I try to write about you and the words just

Slip off

They

drip

they slip

off

 

My palms go slick

And the pen just slips

And my forearm –

It’s gone numb,

And I just

The words they just

 

I try again and write about you

After a while I think

Maybe if I just

After a while maybe I can just

 

But they slip off

Like wet soap I can’t quite

Like the slither at the end I just can’t

Just like soup and chopsticks it just

I just

 

Haiku inspired by Denis Thériault

First few attempts, after reading The peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman more and better to follow I hope.

Sweetly hot, tonight
My fingers conduct your back –
A steep rolling hill.

It’s no longer safe.
By the wave of your top lip,
My boat will be sunk.

For all time, sick need –
He’ll rinse the salt from my skin,
My eyes opening.

Tell-tale furrowed brow
– the Hare stubborn as the bull
Still the way is closed.

He accuses me
I wear my mistakes,
The seagull and I lock eyes.

False Ribs

There’s a skeleton in my bed again, these days.

 

It doesn’t move until I put the lamp off and then



at first

it would grip me with its brittle arms when I turned over, but now it just lies next to me

and quivers.
Which is somehow

worse.


Three times it has stayed with me all day.
Or in the sickly glare of sunshine I have gone and
leaned into the bathroom mirror and seen it’s grimace reflected, shining,
in my eyeball.

One cool night it stroked me with an accusing finger, leaving a painful splinter on my right arm
which stayed for three days until I got it out,
With the serrated scissors.

Sometimes in the seconds when I first wake there is
No skeleton in bed with me

but then I stretch an inch too far and the spaces I feel between my fingers

are the cold spaces between ribs.

My New Skin



My new skin was chapped and sore. It swelled, and burned, and encased me in a hard shell.
A tumescent boiler suit.

I used to have long and sweet smelling hair, but my new skin sealed it over. With scabrous flesh.

Growing my new skin took about eight months.
Although it began with a rash on my ankle
that broke out when I was a small child.

The skin on my left foot
peeled off
to reveal fresh, pink, fleshy growths which…

spreadtomyneck.
The outermost layer formed a painful crust.

Finally it swallowed my head and face.

Friends recoiled once the new skin had gloved my hands with
a pungent, meaty,
husk.

Steeped with
dread –
I tried scraping it off.


But my new skin was tough.


At airy dusk – in the lap of sleepy countryside
I would end it;
I heaved my poor body
into the path of a speeding train.


The skin split down the centre of my skull tearing a fault line to the groin


and in
two great halves
four inches thick
it fell off,
as the train fled.


The wheels caught the toes of my new skin, pulling away two revolting socks.


As I crouched in the gravel on trembling hands and knees,
two corp-
corpulent mittens
thudded to the ground.

I crawled to the bank and lay breathing in the sweet damp grass, hugging soft skin
– naked knees –
long tendrils of fair hair blowing in the breeze.

Soil

SOIL

When I was a child I saw the garden at waist height (I’m tall).


And on one occasion the boy from next door with ADHD,
(who was called Blade),


picked up a handful of soil from the flower bed on the patio and put his hand on the back of my head and pushed the soil into my mouth.


The handful had bits of grass sticking out which felt shiny and fibrous on my tongue and tasted foul, and I thought about how the cat eats grass when it wants to be sick.


There were small stones in the soil and my eyes welled with tears
because my brother was there, and he laughed into his sleeve when I looked at him with wide searching eyes.


I was five.


I don’t know why I didn’t tell anyone, but just spat the soil out, and stood round the side of the house for a while next to that red plastic car that you drive with your feet, rubbing my tongue on the sleeve of my coat, and pulling the heavy latch on the gate in and out, and in and out, hearing it clang.


Now suddenly I feel much, much older. You’re looking at me across the table where all the words seem to be spread out between us, in a strange place where the air is always hot at night, and I can taste soil and nothing else.


I can taste rough stones and fragrant black compost in my mouth. There is no blood in my veins, there is damp black earth. And where there should be clean breath in my throat there is just dry gravel.


And when I cry, I cry rivers of mud.