Categories
poetry

Doorways and Gateways #2

What came first:

the gate or the door?

To stand and to wait

at a door or a gate

is the perfect expression

of humanity’s progression:

closing and enclosing things

fencing things and rowing things

or even to take offence

at what is without or within

this gate or that door.

Categories
poetry

Doorways and Gateways

A silent ceiling of green,

the canopy curves over the

head of the hunched figure hurrying below.

Feet rustle over leaves

with careful tread

as darkness gathers

at the edges

and creeps inwards.

He licks his lips,

a nervous twitching at the corner of his eye

as he turns his head from side to side

and listens.

The door rears up;

the end of the tunnel glows dully.

Polished wood, each pane of glass a watchful eye

tapered to a point at the crest of the curve.

The figure stops, falters,

shifts from one ball to the other.

The door leads neither out nor in

only through,

only forwards,

behind it the tunnel of green has closed

like the mouth of a beast.

The bricks in the wall of the arch of the door lay sealed,

one on top of the other

like bodies in a mass grave.

To knock

or to wait?

It grasps the handle and

pushes with all of its weight

on the body of Time itself.

Our void,

the black that swallows,

the cage that encloses,

not beginning or ending

or feeling or willing.

The break

then the fall.

Categories
poetry

Streetcar

The gentle shudder of a street car

Pulling away,

Or of a woman

Rubbing sleep out of her face:

The promise of warm

In a rose-cream sky

As the sun

Pokes up its first rays.

Scraps of thought

Amongst a turning in my gut,

A pushing, pulling, churning,

Life-giving rawness.

Frida Kahlo

Her monobrowed sexual energy

Losing a tooth in a dream

What did that mean again?

The gaps between the towns are always fun:

The streetcar rattles along

Coiled up

I can only imagine the driver’s face

As she puts her foot down

Pedal to the floor

With an expression like cycling downhill.

Categories
poetry Uncategorized

Moving Day

It’s moving day, and of course the good laptop was on the blink yesterday, so we couldn’t print out the

532 bits of paper you need to travel anywhere in the Covid Era-

so someone else had to pick up the slack and print it all out at work

and the laptop’s at the shop

and I feel somehow responsible

although I didn’t do anything to speed up its meltdown

I was just there to witness its fall.

Anyway, It’s moving day and I’m having the usual crippling self-doubt and wondering whether this all may have been a mistake and wondering im voraus whether the decisions I’ve made will turn out to be the right ones even though there’s absolutely

no way

of knowing that until I start the course in September.

Categories
poetry Translations

Finding Voice: Eimear MacBride’s ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’

Another writing exercise to do with finding the voice in a text (and making it our own) came in two stages. The first was to copy out a section of the page with no punctuation at all. Then, we had to take ourselves away from the original text completely and read it to ourselves, looking for the natural breaks and patterns our mind would reorganise the text into. Then, we rewrote the text in free verse with our own punctuation and line breaks. I’ve added or taken away a few words and phrases in the process to streamline my poem.

The original, taken from the first page of MacBride’s highly experimental novel:

I wrote out the first two paragraphs completely without punctuation:

For you you’ll soon you’ll give her name in the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say mammy me yes you bounce the bed I’d say I’d say that’s what you did then lay you down they cut you round wait hour and day walking up corridors and stairs are you alright will you sit he says no I want she says I want to see my son smell from Dettol through her skin mops diamond floor tiles all as strong all the burn your eyes out if you had some her heart going pat going dum dum dum don’t mind me she’s going to your room see the Jesus what have they done Jesus bile for tidals burn shhhh all over mother she cries oh no oh no no no

And turned it into a free verse poem:

For you,

you’ll soon,

soon give her name in the stitches

and folds of her skin.

She’ll wear them,

and you’ll say:

“Mammy, me?”

and I’ll say:

“Yes, you.”

“Bounce the bed,” I’d say.

I’d say that’s what you did

when you laid down

and they cut you round.

I waited hour and day,

walking up corridors and stairs.

“Are you alright? Will you sit?,” he says.

“No, I want,” she says,

“I want to see my son.”

The smell from the Dettol leaking through her skin

mops diamond floor tiles,

as strong as the burning in your eyes.

If you had some-

her heart going

pat

going

dum dum dum.

“Don’t mind me.”

She’s going into your room

she sees the Jesus.

“What have they done?”

Jesus, bile

for the tidal’s burn

which creeps softly

like Dettol down the throat-

shhhhh.

“It’s all over, Mother,” she cries,

“Oh, no. Oh no no no…”