A shape ache in plain shadow
is brewing flowers for cordials.
To be so out of time is itself a story,
of running slackly loose,
day warm air drifts in from the side
bites on heels, sweat in wires.
To want something enough is enough
to spare a thought to grow: the head spins
bluntly again and levels a view
nothing but frame for matted grass.
To walk or to run? The scent under the foot.
Yet grainy attention now spikes blood in the ear,
loud flows scald the waxen cone and
echo-swells in eyelids screwed tight.
Dreamt pressure in this climate pursues
pattern to strangeness to earth.
September 12th 2006 - Between Gaiman and Dolavon, Patagonia
Walking along a gravel – ripio – road.
It is straight for the next five miles.
The floodplains of the Afon Camwy
are on either side, the first signs of spring
in the reddish tint to the willows
and the green buds on the poplars.
Disbelief of seasons in the mind of a prisoner: a cheap novel. The road is wide and bordered by irrigation ditches, beyond them ramshackle farms, each still in the squared plots of land that were distributed in the 1870s.
Measurement and more measurement.
Slaughtered Indian heads.
Occasional barns and shearing sheds, abandoned Renault 4s, howls of dogs tethered on long chains. The electricity is carried beside this road on poles made from white and ghostly trees.
These have had their top branches left jutting out and the wires casually looped over them.
There is nothing like this.
There is a fizzing hiss at a crossroads where one road leads up, out of the valley and onto the escarpement.
Dead maps to sound
scales sliding, layers bite:
fog is nectared stuff gone grainy
a spilt imagined place
was so cold that it skates into
all those who charted
a quill rash, a crest of skilled
navigators, a swallowed pendulum
all exchange disenchantments
or news of a time that is no time,
in this colour plumage fading
is every glassy colour cooling
seen as lost directions then forgiven
to waxy burn of decay and crease.
for Trevor Joyce
and slowing to low light striking
a bed of restlessness a little bit apart
taking gaunt likeness head silhouetted
like a rope trick fat with clay
pearl light bulb shards a flash of something
crystalline or implausible bonding fine with foul
water burns the ice in a lost window
ice scalds the water enough of a gasp
a frame disfigures the pump stutters
on a pattern cultivated rusty upswings
to make a firm fist in dampened dust
a pose of a voice pieces of river driftwood
through the intensity a calyx of teeth
spits curdled sleep in key and code
leaf print heart print October street
out along these long roads the dark itself is singing
[Leo Mellor is a fellow and college lecturer in English at New Hall, University of Cambridge. His prose poem sequence ‘Things Settle’ was published by Landfill Press]
Copyright © 2008 by Leo Mellor, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.