Dust Bath

brushed landscapes nettle in the draft
while holy ghost to crumbs
talk                      between cabinets                        
                                                                        west as
in the unwatered wilt
of a browning orchid
                         dead flies                 the sill.

it is a corner that we decorate
                                           organelles bustling
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

of ages            

weeping                             storm
               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
gently autumn


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              
drizzled through
                              unkempt thistle
seeing made
        the long walk
                             between           vacuoles
                stepped               motes
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              
house blinds                       
to course through           
                             stained-glass squinting of wings
humble sanctum here in the                          wait                       
               whole galleries of throwaway
benighted                        cinnamon shops
cockroaches rival broadway
                                           draping of
bronze heads   please                   
from the vine
                            wimpled and

               journals of         her gown in the attic
scarves                aerial grain        touching

                                           whorls in belly
damp quarters            
host to the shy embroidery of   
                            paint flakes
               nibble                               the last supper
                            always bodies
               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


                            matter  speak.





[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.]


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