Marsyas @ Twenty Five
I am a self-marked Cain
& I say I
am no longer a man of anybody's dreams.
She strung him between two tall stories
& flayed him as tenderly as
is possible. She rubbed salt
& amphetamine into his skin-suit
& sat perched on a rock,
patiently awaiting her answer.
That skin thing.
If "release" then some vague
mnemonic agile as Homeric simile;
"This is no spot to dread growing old."
"Who the fuck wants to be a river god?"
Resonant wind of her singing
minces my words -- Fingered. Memos
of the good, the done, the whole-
some rotted on the spike.
"I am a man & I want
what I am capable of
"You are a man
years past your satirical peak.
What is more you have no skin."
piped less beautifully.
motions less fluently.
postures more decadent.
rage of the futile.
Keep Burglar Bill from the door
lest he get in & strip the place bare,
force the folk to consider them
naked, keep him out
it is hardly a scandal.
A pulse, then a spurt,
wearing his heart in his chest,
from the eloquent wound,
glisly end translated
Minerva being cunning
Why has this crisis come early?
Why are you taking me from me?
Why are you making me sell myself?
the snick snick of the knife,
the class "A" word,
"They were so hard
they kicked in each other's fantasies,
playing a pipe is not worth this."
Kerry Sowerby is from Leeds. He edits the literary journal 'Ramraid Extraordinaire' and has collections due out from Odyssey and Headlock.
The air is full of pictures:
Clouds festooned in shapes of goddesses,
Of feathers, serpents, ferns and chalices,
And every weather front brings miracles.
He watches the clouds move over, mirrored
on the brows of the shoppers, all their power within,
those humming atoms in their bags.
He's blinded by those liveries:
The cream and cobalt of the Western Nationals,
The infernal sunrise scarlet of the City Buses.
Over a Fifties reconstructed skyline
Dartmoor curves, is veiled and sober.
Sudden glances blast him sideways;
Young women tear him open, eyes like tigers
Clawing at his flesh picked clean from bone;
The body parts spread out across the suburbs,
Buried under sandstone knolls, in the limestone quarries.
Then, at dawn, the workers pick them up;
Packed neatly in their pockets, he returns to town.
Sometimes, rain sets in for weeks
And the pubs are full of wearied faces
With the flapping gobs of hake or sea-bass.
He swirls the Plymouth Gin around his mouth,
Imagines all the other sacred foods;
The fish and wine are there. The meat and grain in Tescos;
He can score the bhang in one of several clubs.
On a summer Sunday, buses run
To Princetown, with its TV mast and prison.
He traipses over granite plateaux,
Counting kills, the lambflesh scrapyards
As the buzzards mewl. At dusk,
He clambers from the depot to his flat
And the tramps avoid him, of the Butcher Caste,
Who has moved through death towards a Light
As brilliant as the barrel of a gun...
But the next day, he is in the office
With his cream cake spurting over pens and staplers.
At Argyle, he is oddly distant.
Stared into his paper cup as cross winds foil
The passing moves of either side.
He thinks how green the grass,
How green the home team's kit,
How long the first half-kalpa.
A goal's a dunghill cock's idea of sex
He sniffs at scornfully. But still, he watches.
She leaves him faltering for speech,
Not at all his usual eloquent self
Because she enters him, his air and water shakti,
Ten years between them, just two masks, two skins.
He does not understand her hold,
It stuns him for an hour, but then rain falls
And he lets its fingers twist his matted hair
Until he sees an old man in the window of a shop
That's closed, and ten years feel like forty.
He lights a legal cannabis jossstick,
Sips ground coffee, struggles for
An image of his anima. Alone, in time,
External models vanish.
Gets nowhere; out the door; and goes
Towards the Hoe, to trace her in the waters
On a moonlit summer's evening.
There is something in his eye, his gait
That repels all muggers; truth, or foolishness.
He treads the graveyard path
Past Bull Point, Swilly, Pembroke Street;
The smoulder from a fuel-tank
Is a pyre to Kali that reminds his nostrils
Of the distant ghat-slopes, elements divested,
Births to come in ceaseless Lila. Nonetheless,
He sees some strutting lads
And moves off rapidly.
Tracing heron tracks
From shore to watershed,
From tower blocks north, towards the tors,
He seeks his moorings.
The space is that between two scales
As Shakti rides on Shiva like a moor on his horizon.
He sails the Tamar, slowing down
As the oxbow river bends near Calstock.
No life is long enough to name this magic
He intones, breathing, losing count of breath.
A mini-tannoy booms "The bar is open".
At home projects a stranger's mask.
Takes days off work to walk the streets
And look, and learn, and total what he sees.
The life teems from Prakriti;
Waving gunas tangled like his world-lines,
Smiling on his lips as he returns past stucco,
Dreaming in his place as seagulls test their language
Then his lover visits;
Holding her body in the dark,
He moves across her with his fingers
As his legs have moved across the city.
Where does dwelling end, and love begin
[Back to Brink]
Norman Jope is from Swindon/Brighton/Plymouth. He edited the highly acclaimed small press magazine Memes. He has collections due out from Phlebas and Stride.