The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.
Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made
is star-stuff too?
– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –
dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.
Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
prose poems from guest contributors: 6 Lesley Quayle
I love the contrasts in these two prose poems – the heartbreaking tenderness, then the wryness.
'October will be what it will,' you said. Trees turning red and gold, dead leaves piled on the grass, cold winds – the dark come early. 'I don’t mind rain.' Later, asleep before the crackling fire, nightcapped with pain, you seem little more than a whisper, each vein mapped from your heart to mine. A stain of blood moving, cumulonimbus beneath your eyes and, in the tender crook of an arm, a slender pulse. So thin the very bones of you inhabit skin like brass rubbings. One frail, white hand, quill fingers spanned across your chest, exquisite as frost.
The 7.25 to Leeds
The bus-stop 7.25 – two women, two young men, three suits, one shopping bag, four cigarettes, a headscarf, one shaved head, a hat.
The bus-stop 7.30 – a tattooed girl, panting, out of breath. 'I thought I’d missed it.' Shaved-Head lights another fag, breathes smoke and curses. 'Fookin bussis always fookin late.' A nervous, shiny soft shoe shuffle from the suits. Headscarf, pussyfooting round her disapproval with a huff, lips pursed, tight as a cat’s arse.
The bus-stop 7.39 - lickspittle breeze with sleet on its tongue, sky like wet concrete, a mile of tarmac and car after car after car after car.
The bus-stop 7.42 – queue re-united, annoyed-r-us. Early morning indifference, normally so well-rehearsed, shelved like a Victorian spinster. Shaved-Head offers Tattooed-Girl his Sun to keep her dry, Suits, Hat and Headscarf discuss the weather, tardy buses, local politicians with agendas. Cigarettes are proffered, offered, shared along with smiles and 'thank you very much, have one of mine.' Sleet desiccates on withering gusts to specks of snow. Feet stamp, lips turn blue, perms frizz, cheeks pinch.
The bus-stop 7.45 – two buses.
(First published in Obsessed with Pipework)
© Lesley Quayle
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- notes, and a February prose poem from me
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