Friday, 2 April 2010

Skin Poems

Metal (my father)

Blood is like rust, crawling in crystalline

forms, unmaking geometry as benign

and calcareous kaleidoscopes

across the skin of human thought and hope.

Hopes are forged and riveted together,

children cast like coins or fathered

by a hammer swung in rhythmic comprehension;

a pattern to be copied through generations.

So I was made in the fire of my mother.

I am melted and reformed through ardour;

orange iron bones, ferrous flesh –

a conscious corrosion of all histories past.


Wood (my self)

Standing straight in bound fibres,

muscular trees are cut and dried like flowers,

roots and heads discarded. A stolid torso,

doughty arms sawn straight by metal jaws.

I marry wooden limbs, arrange assignations,

match-make, half-house, dove-tail for tension.

Un carpintero whose eye lifts and measures –

designing a fit for all parts with pleasure.

The passage of my saw through plank and rafter

marks the passage of its future and hereafter.

A creation through destruction, cutting to heal;

a shelter of roof and walls for life concealed.


Rope (that held me)

The beginning and the end are difficult,

but chiefly the end, whose strands, laid out,

are hard to unify because it is the nature

of fibres, once twisted, to unwind into the future so

this rope, by which my life hangs,

was made with the stalks of nettle and

each thread rolled between finger and thumb

to sustain a tension once begun

and every thread spiralled in will be

thicker as strands and strands, three on three,

together give the strength that hold me

clear of the earth


Paper(that holds me still)

An elegant summary, this sheet,

a temporary suspension of disbeliefs.

My life reduced to lines and flat,

sheaves of information caught, stacked.

A page is made from all the little pieces,

all the ends and scraps complete it.

Swollen with water; confused, adrift,

then squeezed and held until they stick.

My skin reproduce upon a skin,

pierced by points and cut thin;

a bold tattoo that beats the drum

of my life in words and pictures.

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