Wednesday, 22 December 2010
The smoke curls round my fingers
Out of time with the ticks
And the gargles of the baby swans -
The intestines of their dead mother
Their only source of survival.
Once I saw three children
The eldest, a girl, fourteen,
She was holding a paper umbrella
It disintegrated in the rain and her hair got wet
Her brother was three
and his white hair reflected the sunlight into my eyes
so I had to turn away
and when I turned back they were gone
I never noticed the other child
So I’ve painted a picture of them
It’s black and smudged
And I call it something like ‘failure’.
I don’t like the title but it’s the only word I remember the meaning of.
It’s like that sensation you get when you stare at a bright light for the countdown to a power cut.
Like sun spots in your vision then absolute darkness.
It’s like shaking the clammy hand of the guy who’s sleeping with your ex girlfriend.
Or maybe I remember it wrong?
The child was grey.
Either his hair or his eyes were brown
But his skin was entirely grey.
I’m guessing hyperthermia or the Chernobyl.
I could count his strands of hair on one hand.
His pulse came less frequently than... (insert metaphor)
His skin so taught, you could make out the marble of his bones.
For some reason I said yes when he asked to sleep with me.
I was half aware he was HIV positive
But the other half of me didn’t care.
The other third was indifferent.
And the remaining quarter felt too much guilt to turn down the body of a child who would most likely be dead within the next seventy-two hours.
It’s been a week of horrible nights and hangovers.
£180 worth of education wasted.
Perfect days spent for free.
Lifeless bodies. Bloodless limbs.
Watching clocks from 5.25 to 5.26
Then just wishing you were alive to see 5.24.
But your head was somewhere in that lamp
Or in the fireplace.
Or your eyes were lost someplace in that mirror –
The one that shows you the reflection of a cancer ridden widow.
An empty entity of hollow timber and deflated helium balloons.
If I put a wooden spoon between my teeth now,
By 5.36 I’d be left holding a wooden handle
And stood above a pile of blood, ivory and sawdust.
It’s because I’m nervous, and when I’m nervous I grind my teeth.
The acupuncturist asked me to stop.
I should have listened.
It’s constantly taking my jaw out of line.