No 17 - Spring 2008
I. EXT: The Mouth of Hell
A garden, as a child might build it,
Garden of bricks and blocky shrubbery:
By the fantastic urns and aristocratic hedges
Two figures: he and she.
(Intertitle: “How did you come here?”)
He wears a bedsheet-toga and sandals,
Plywood lyre propped on one arm.
This is the high pornography of 1907—
She is naked, her hair undone.
(“Come with me, come back home.”)
The garden is poppies and thistles—
Would be grey in Technicolor.
She wants to offer her hand,
As he reaches for it, she withdraws.
(“Do not look back. I will follow.”)
His whiteface strains at sorrow, turns away
Back on the path he had taken.
What horrors have grown here?
The backcloth is painted shade and fingers.
(“I do not hear you. I must turn! I must!”)
And we do not see him turn,
Just a single shot of her in the garden.
A naked ghost, her dark eyes closed
And then, with a Méliès twist, she is gone.
II. INT: Her Flat
Two hundred seconds of ancient celluloid
Threaded into the machine and thrown
In a square of light on their bedroom wall.
He winds the reel back, Eurydice
Doomed always to try again.
She wears the willow-pattern dressing gown
And her high copper hair drawn up.
Her legs across his lap, and his hand
Rests on them, at the top of the thigh.
The skin feels smooth—blue of the gown,
And the rain’s blue light at the window.
(“You can hear me, you can touch me.”)
Surreptitiously, other people cut themselves
Into the film, and soon he is seeing them
As they shall be when they are the past.
Sweat sticks the hair to her forehead,
For one second he grasps her arm
And both recoil, for she has no skin
Just a ghost of flesh on a smooth white bone.
I will not go through with this, she says
And she was not there any more.
An unattained wife. He passes on
Through easily soluble mazes, old as core-ice,
Calls hopelessly Comrade to those he sees.
(“I am not a shadow. I am not one of you.”)
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The