No 17 - May 2002
In the bruise-coloured night
to the suffocating dark.
Its something like three.
If there are noises now, its usually
some kind of violence - the sex of cats or hedgehogs,
the hatred of humans, alarms. The time when those once in love
punch out their disappointments, rip at their frustrations,
grind away at their despair.
The hurting night.
A woman of sixty wakes weeping from dreams of
a dead mother. Mothers wake sweating from nightmares of
their children drowned. Children cry from the teeth of
the fairy-tale wolf, are sick in their beds, develop
alarming temperatures, have
Days blue counterpane,
embroidered with clouds and gold threads of sunshine,
is drawn back and there it is:
the naked body of hideous night.
The empty, cold and silent universe.
Those seeming points of light, the stars, laser the mind with their
Mind swabbed of the dazzling day by
that Quasimodo with a dirty mop you saw
once: a limping, eyes-to-the-floor life that still haunts
the dim corridors of your night-times -
those dingy passageways scabbed with sad old photos that
might have been bearable once.
Night. You know the dark spiders are out and about.
You fear them - yet feel for them and their life of dusty corners.
The older and bigger they grow, the harder to hide.
You wish you were a tiny one - with all its webs still to weave.
Or better, just a spider egg, pure white and
glossy with possibilities -
luminous as the moon
but not so mad-faced and cold.
On the edge of sleep you seem
to stand in an empty, mirror-lined room. In front and
behind, your repeated self stretches away in reflections of
infinite regress, diminishing into
past and future from
where you are now,
in the room -
though which is before? -
Turning to the wall and closing your eyes is
no escape: night churns up the grey silt at the bottom of memory -
your first dead cat at the side of the road;
the snake basking across your cliff-side path;
the sound of your grandfather’s heart attack . . .
A bench of clay men clasp their sides with stifled laughter at you - you
in the corner there, lust when you thought you were
invisible, in the dark.
Only a child thinks closing your eyes makes you invisible.
The great escape.
Only a child believes in dreamland and twinkle stars.
Others know the violent ways of the night.
The only comfort: the bruising tends to
Yes - when morning comes.
And it always does.
- 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