Kiss Kiss

Like the director shouting ‘Cut’
and the cast and crew erupt
into applause and coffee orders
only your coffee has grown cold
and there never was a coffee
or even a director. Or the scene
of the climactic explosion
after the timer zeroes out,
and rather than negating you
into a million sticky pieces
the film ends before you gasp.
Like the objective constant
of the establishing shot only
you're not in the theatre
or in the bar, you haven't
dawdled outside for a cigarette
are not reflected in the glass
of the exterior, your shadows
will never lick the bland walls
of the new conference centre,
and never to spend a night
in the three star travel lodge,
or marry, forge copper coins
chase pigeons across motorways.
Or like being a passenger
on a stricken plane, washing up
alone on a desert island
to learn spearfishing, foraging,
the principles of tannery
and shelter building, reserving
one shotgun pellet for the orca
which keeps you penned in the bay.
Roaming pirates offer liberation
and after weeks of high adventure
you appear at your graveside,
to hugs, disbelief, muted horror
at this zombie version of yourself,
struggling with brain functions
and limited vocabulary, the stubborn
and atrophied muscles of the jaw.




The Archive

Rain had split the roof,
the way water will always
revel in its violence,
the accumulated drops
achieving disaster.
We dared each other
beyond the fire door,
trespassing into the heart
of rust and damage.
Graffiti beckoned us
beyond the whip towns
we kept at our backs,
and we were animated
by tropes of horror films,
their angles and wrack.
The concrete glimmered
with knives of water,
the crockery of damage.
Boxes lay split and bowed,
dirt-flecked in their collapse,
their contents offered up
to elements and pigeon shit.
Inside them we learned
of sticky tape applied
as a monastic code, the buff
of files blotted with memos,
incomprehensible marginalia.
Here were the remains
of lives lived through paper.
Copy film toughened up
crisp as carapace, ink
fading to spoiled blood,
a sense of ditched time.
We understood the power
of things left not deleted
and we edged back outside
through white wisteria,
scared to look back, in case
we had left a record of ourselves.




Sunday Evening 

Winter breaks, and a cruel-faced child
I once helped to read navigates
this first dry evening in weeks.
She is done with her interior life,
and no books or board games or even
the bright machinations of TV
will distract her. She is out
to scooter where the vans approach
bringing tools and aluminum
or sandbags to the stricken, she rides
the cambers of this street to the limits
of her sense of vertigo. This space
pulling her along into its inevitability
is the only plot she needs, and like her,
tonight, I am prepared to defend
even these most commonplace sights
against anyone's definition of excellence.
Beyond the flat roof of Delme Court
the sky is salmon and rose, and accurate with it,
a gently scudding cloud diffusing
over its magnificent definition. I keep
a kiss from my daughter with me, while
under the evening sun, river silt
lies exposed and molten. At the centre
of a playing field water glimmers
like corrupting silver, and this feeling
of rightness and balance seems
like it will never be defeated,
not by rain, or transport, or the inevitable
exigencies of work. Not by pure life
which ticks along beyond my ability
to influence it. Not even by the woman, who
later on the train, will look up
from a library copy of ‘Ball Pythons
In Captivity’ to chastise two children
who act out family values with naked dolls.



[Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have appeared in a variety of places, both in print and online, including The Stinging FlyThe Manchester Review, and Caught By The River. His first collection West South North, North South East, will be published this year. He’s also the author of the novel, All The Dogs. You can read more of his work online at: ]

Copyright © 2019 by Daniel Bennett, 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.