Resolution: Stop reading novels

Over Christmas I re-read Jane Austen’s collection, which I have read far beyond ten times now I have it in the much more accessible form of Kindle. I have found reading on Kindle actually makes my reading pace slightly faster, because I am no longer wasting precious seconds turning the page, I am merely clicking a button. I may only be saving micro seconds, but when you are reading a 500 page novel it all adds up. So now I can read Austen at speedy speedy Kindle speed, and the whole collection is all together, so I can see which heroine I am in the mood for.

 

So having read all of Jane Austen, I realised that actually I need to stop, reading novels. All novels included, because I recently spent an amount of money on poetry books for my course (£70) and now I need to justify that by reading poetry.  

 

Although Sara is reading Miss Smilia’s feeling for Snow at the moment, and I don’t think reading it over her shoulder counts does it.

 

 

 

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Maps

(i)

 

*

My curious fingers probed

the smooth surface,  

spun the globe on its axel, a coloured blur

All blue yellow green

made the world a sleek oval

I could only graze over

Not knowing, not travelled,

Tongue heavy with English words

 

*

In bed we say where our ancestors are from,

Our quarter of foreign blood

pooled in each others arms

Not quite English, but nothing else.

 

*

As if we can share out our drops of blood

That led us here. Your eyes glaze over

They shine in the half light of this room

The earth a ball between us, I curve and make

A circle space within myself, cradle you

Spinning the room on its axel

 

*

(ii)

 

*

Sleek as a wave lapping

an island’s strange rough outline

On a map, on a globe,

gloss bright as a fresh two pence piece

our felt tip coloured country where we grew up

is the same size as that penny

I’ve made a map of you, cursory surveyed

What I know and made this map,

Pencil marked roads that diverge and split

Become more than themselves

Lead nowhere, lead to cul de sacs,

Lead to country which is conveyed

By a blunt forest green patch in the shape of a rectangle

There are many pigeons landing on statues

In public parks where we have been and sat

Infantile; I draw two stick figures holding hands

In the place where I’ve put your heart.

 

*

 

(iii)

*

 

I’ve mapped your insides, your brain’s

Giant grey web was a good start, I took

The lobe that accounts for instinct

Dissected and diagrammed it

Drew in ink the Latin name for your ear

The chew of your tongue displayed

For all to see, I used a red to follow your throat

Down to the cave of your stomach, its boiler room walls

The badminton net of your lungs covers a tennis court

Alveoli all stretched out,

bronchi ballooning in my hands

 

*

With your breath the pen flew into

Your diaphragm its weight tipping the scales

Its meat heavy as Shylock’s ounce

The muscles in your legs I’ve massaged

Took apart, become flaccid, bean bag soft

The bicep of your arm tightens, then relaxed

From length to length, from head to toe

Your body’s map.

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Light Travel

Random musings on how light might travel between people, or how two people might energise light, musings really…

*

We’ve been flying from star to star

Shunting between walls, light driven

Luminous, fragile, disintegrating

 *

You have outshone the room

We are contained by matter

Material, we are poor

With too much money

travel from limit to limit

shuttlecock between places

 *

bulbs leak from ceilings

drained, the carpet bubbles beneath us

ignites slick as a match’s rasp

struck hard as a breath, a lung’s gasp

we burnt this, it smoulders.

 *

All smoked out, the fumes get to you first

We bake in an oven hot as Madrid.

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Prague Haiku

Stag Party in Prague

 *

The one single man,

on principle, refused the strippers.

Sat; sketched water.

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Venice Sestina

Rhyming sestina for Venice!

*

I have never known you in this city; you are untouched in Venice

body unburied beneath my fingerprints, I’ve not mapped you through these maps,

canals and streets entwine in my minds vision.

Hotel Rialto, river side view of the cruises and cathedrals, chants

That deepen the air, city all quartered up like a cake into six slices

Motor boats the new taxis down theGreatCanal’s liquid road

*

Valentine’s Day the busiest of the year, gliding reflections sold

Boats balance; hieroglyphics form, your face flowers. The waiters all pensive

The wine bottles sweat, their buckets slender as arms, iced,

Dressed up to the nines, the city clothed in its brightest, a sapling

Grown to heady heights, its branches rivers, the sea a bank

Girding the city. You are I are somewhere kissing

*

Near a funnel of light that drips like a watercolour’s vision 

OfVenice. All bridges and couples, exchanging looks like a code

In their own personal language. Museums and artists plant

Portraits in our heads, I take your likeness, against a backdrop of menace

The poverty streets hint at, stray cats, pigeons amassed

Plentiful as gondolas, the lopsided S of your name slices

*

Through the map ofVenice, where boats prey on tourists- entices

Them to camera these scenes of soft light their transmission

Of evidence of romance beams through the laptop, trapped

Behind time and place and screen. We are weighed down, loaded

With whatVeniceis before we’ve seen it, serving penance

For who we said we were before we knew, our childish rants

*

Our adult banter.Venicesmells strange in summer, decant

The perfume of littered streets into bottles, retain, apply when ripe

To just below my ear lobe, your breath ghosts, slightly alcoholic

Then acqua alta come winter, the tide of our kissing

Rises on the sidewalks, beneath stone lions and eroded

Buildings, crumbling wings, lost flight, receding back.

*

‘must I hold a candle to my shames?’,  where Shakespeare sat,

ancient Renaissance running deep beneath reflections glib slants

our snapshots transporting us when we are home, water bus abode

and our feet still aching from the city streets, our weary slide

from water to land. The skyline a broken image hidden

somewhere in our thoughts of Venice, a resurrecting séance

*

where we chant our anecdotes, our high water maps, flooded

with visions of you and brick all green and gold, lost feet

down roads still pattering through our spliced up sunsets, the view from bridges.

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Lanzarote

The Never Visited Lanzarote

*

You want to take your camera,

your wide angle lens

shoot black sand in Lanzarote

I want to snorkel for the first time

burn into my retina the colours of fish,

The names of which I have no memory for:

grouper, barracuda, angelshark, rays;

flowers who retreat at the brush of a gloved finger

*

You want to explore Lanzarote mountains

A view finder for company, a camera

Knocking into your ribs gently with each step

Your footsteps on its lunar surface pausing

As you tilt your body to capture the rocky texture

Eerie, Martian, your stomach full of hot ash

As real as the taste of rough alcohol

*

You see light like it is a telescope,

All focus and beautiful, sending sight

To the sea, coral reef teeming, an octopus snaking

In the water like the lava flow snaked itself

into a tunnel, burnt the four miles long passage Atlantic

*

You see my face like it is a source of sun

Your skin is tanned as the people who sprawl  

On white Lanzarote beaches,

on golden sand, that we have never visited.

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Sonnet for France

 

We could catch the Eurostar, see the world glide past

Like a swallow of white wine, rose shadows,

Tipsy on travel, scenery sliding by in gulps

Tiredness merging the countries together

*

We can create a sign language of place and touch

A jig saw ofParis, views from la grande rou wheeling

Us up to the Eiffel tower, sketched by school children

Suddenly real. A man spun web catching the city

*

By its hands. The Notre Dam tolling the hours, deep noted Bourbon

Boat skating on theSeinewatching French men smoke

Pigeons in fountains and bad accents asking for coffee

La patisserie, la boulangerie and fromage foaming into one taste

*

We could catch the night line to Paris, cross the border

Rearrange sentences into the French order.

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