This heart is sick. It’s lost the knack
of skip, jump, swell and sing. It limps
back and forth, truckling, a cowed thing
seeking a chamber of stopped clocks,
the black of a full stop. It is crocked,
heavy with sorrows, the long doze
of evening, unaroused by the aromas
of skin, the urge to hunt and stalk.
Cut it out. Only the odd kink
or habit will be lost, an easy exchange –
young for old. Crack open the heart’s cage,
implant the new occupant, shocking it
into motion if it doesn’t take, then wait
for the build of passion, the soar, the race.
I will not care about the firing,
the mastery of materials, when I am grit
and grilled bone, a snow of particles
in a ceramic body, each pot
perched like a squat bird on the rungs
of a white ladder, a spreading estate.
Mourning is the stuff of their making –
they were born to hold death.
The vessel for my remains
will be those who carry part of me
in their histories. They will scatter
the ash of my absence over their hearts
as the world dies, and hear me ticking
in their veins. They will be my memorial.
(after the works of Willard Wigan)
In the slow of night
when the static charge
of objects bleeds away,
he sculpts figures
from a grain of sand,
shapes nylon shreds,
dust fibres, lashes,
webs, into families
for the eye of a needle.
With a diamond flake
tied to a pin, he carves
a girl, paints her red
with the hair of a fly,
points an insect claw
to steady her in place.
Such figures can’t exist
for the casual eye,
ill-equipped for detail
that comes alive
in the cavernous deep
of a full-stop. Here
they wait to be
magnified into life,
while he meditates
till his pulse
loiters and stalls,
his touch timed
to the lull
between each beat
and the next.
And isn’t it funny, like they say,
how much you want something
if your chances are reduced,
and you’re driving along the highway,
wrinkles squinting at the rear-view,
hands all knuckles and veins on the wheel,
when, as if to add insult, you’re told
by the DJ that the music pattering
under wheel thrum and wind noise
which, you realise only now, had got you
picturing girls in pink tutus with ribbon straps
over lark-boned shoulders, their bellies pouting,
the music you’d half been humming
was Frédéric Chopin’s Menopause.