The Night Bacchus Let Us Down

So you’re a ‘No’ to our Nonsense Night, Bacchus?
What’s wrong with our community? The ballroom pool
is one degree above perfection? But we’ve shared
an apple with the woman who leaves those freesheets
at the gates – she doesn’t know the code
to open them, she’s no guest – yet as surely
as she is nameless and her russet dust
hanging in our mouths isn’t drinkable,
so all our imperfections are invisible
to her. Yes, she has only a button to show
she’s a god. Rain mark on silk this morning, now
she pulls sky down and we’ve crowned her low lights.
No dawn could ever be as bright as this
board of night she’s chalked.
We’re flying,
ocean birds from bough to coral bough.
Watch our wings fin through this airy salt.


Legend of Grey

After a smogbound pregnancy
her mother said her birth opened
a door locked in concrete.

Her colour was ashy plural,
cashmere black of storm, the silver
of heat. Suppose you’ve not

seen an eye – her intense line of
grey around the iris, inside
colour’s gazing circle,

glows from that flat unnamed mix of
wavelengths. Streets give way when she walks
but don’t think they’re water.

Not only black, not only white,
they’re metal melting, brightness saved
heron-sharp from squalor.



No badge
for any habit
is so fabled
as Appeaser:
Weigher, Fear-
soother, Time-
buyer, Over-
looker, Back-
bender, Be-
trayer. Nor
any label
so garbled.


The Candidate Goes Home

Is it there it is relief relief more red.
Cars stolen than any other shade buggared.

If I’ll change colour for idiots minutes.
Into the boot my contacts book oh jesus.

Tuesday what time OK OK OK OK lots.
Of time all this carry in out every sod.

That Elder cat another dove she gets dove-.
Cote he gets car old joke I get power has.

To be me they’re definitely going to.
Do it call one lose let me in why don't cats.

Eat the sodding lock the back door oh oh oh.
Get fresh parsley my health experiment men.

And health they get the worst and do they care could.
Those two facts be connected doc July rain.

Best kind he is as good as any orange.
Blossom don’t chain it he’s got to get in hell.

More white feathers starving silk thing very short.
Too good not the yellow bra the blue skinny.

Off with thirteen nights out bit of cream what is.
That strangulated flesh I never starving wine.



[Claire Crowther has published three pamphlets, from Flarestack and Nine Arches, and two full poetry collections from Shearsman. Her first collection, Stretch of Closures, was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Best First Collection prize]

Copyright © 2011 by Claire Crowther, 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.