brushed landscapes nettle in the draft
while holy ghost to crumbs
talk between cabinets
in the unwatered wilt
of a browning orchid
dead flies the sill.
it is a corner that we decorate
as too a ticker times
to home where a one cell hive
pipettes to statement
regarding quality of honey
dry leaf is
and scratched brand of the iron’s wedge
fanned quadrants of a shadow
to us the mosaic was an arctic desert.
bare walls were ice and the stippled ceiling
was a nursery of icicles cajoled into stunted nubs against their better judgement.
we commandeered canals of grouting,
wary of the doting crane flies dropped
as rumours, dancing jigs in mayday mayday rapture.
we never so much as spoke
to those giddy fugitives, slung wheeling from the ceiling. not from fear, superiority or any
calcifying principle, just a sad bass note
of indifference that made from scale an error
as the city draws itself anew
dog-eared letter snows christ in a kettle’s steam
mired where threaded reeds carry
under canopies swept
versatile all-purpose cloth
dust choirs in the weave measured
hunched tree wick without an upturned heart
and all the shimmering floorboards
fount of his unborn appearance the indoors
wishing into a plughole. our theology
was in miniature; but there, in that city, we were relative
to its buildings and so had no idea that our proudest monuments were playmobil
or that plinths were listerine
bottle caps on which we mounted
the scythes of clipped nails. our babbling
speculated, impeded by a regional lisp.
jostling each other long into the white expanse of unmarked calendars. we would recite family-planning pamphlets and receipts to scudding trails
of living hair. the great works of our time.
in august visitation
pine legs if caramel and hours
morning was only a leaden conservatory
the long walk
laughter warmed arc and scuttling
a prison-break for silverfish
hurdling matchsticks dart last biscuit
this alcove in the tiling.
meet me at the auditorium
where himalayan silver discus and the scroll
in empty fields of laundry
every incidental castaway
of refuse found itself subsumed into a mythology,
to sanctify milk teeth and the chance sighting of an earwig in a language of faith.
caryatids of cushion tassels
are sly reminders that our sky
has been all but sat on, and maybe
now, with woodlice in the canyons,
we might flush the planetarium. whose place is it, to pick up astral dandruff?
the crane fly keeps visiting the window, knowing
next time the glass will open up.
whose lungs net glow the windows
to course through
stained-glass squinting of wings
humble sanctum here in the wait
whole galleries of throwaway
benighted cinnamon shops
cockroaches rival broadway
bronze heads please
from the vine
journals of her gown in the attic
scarves aerial grain touching
whorls in belly
host to the shy embroidery of
nibble the last supper
hello, you don’t know me but ocean
the line grows baggy
spend hours just looking
but now rigging
dunes were forecast
the institution cautions us
against the coveting of buttons but we stay
true to our convictions and cast gnostic alphabets in snagged fabric.
sometimes our prayers are snuffed
by being too close to the dead
like seeing the crane fly after days
of faith finally crumpled in defeat,
the wrong side of the glass. limbs curled in like the inched beginnings
of a fist, drawn up in rictus signature and staged in exit
to no applause. a broken umbrella
but we are too small not to
and polish the stage
a clearing streets to fleece wake
second hand arms hatching
porcelain and behind glass
[David Spittle has recently completed a PhD on the poetry of John Ashbery in relation to Surrealism at Newcastle University. He has published reviews in Hix Eros and PN Review. His poetry has been published in 3am, Shadowtrain, Zone, Datableed, Zarf, and has been translated into French courtesy of Black Herald Press. In addition to poetry, David has written the libretti to three operas, performed at various venues around Cardiff and at Hammersmith Studios in London. In 2014 he was commissioned to write a song cycle for the Bergen National Opera, since performed internationally.]
Copyright © 2016 by David Spittle, 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.