Man

If he’s husband, then he’s someone you don’t know.
Have you met another form, dark corner of a modern catastrophe.
His name and he’s Satan’s right hand,
Belial or Beelzibub,
a curse on all your crops
because there’s never been a more impersonal God.
If he’s forgotten the map
then he’s someone you can trust,
eyes like dusk,
and sometimes you want to burn yourself
and sometimes
he lets you,
provides the crawling fingers
that set you alight.

Sometimes he’s father,
King Nightmare and soft hands,
saviour of ruin with the key
in his fist. Cracked
fingernails- he’s hidden,
the blind spot of the common eye,
broken and dirty, cup for coins.
If he says love he’s planning something
dangerous,
and you’re running
towards it like a high tide,
like everything is right
with the way his words fall
on your skin.

When he’s mortal his utility expires.
A device of self-detonation, rice paper over Bristol glass.
Waiting for the bite, the scratch,
the fracture that’ll choke his heart.
Cream-coloured
wallpaper in the baby’s room
means he’s nowhere to be found,
and you’re a prisoner with the life
he cursed into you. Punch-
drunk, the works, salt in a busted mouth
and he’s a champion, sometimes.
Others they turn away the eyes
of their children. Fractured teeth, no
bedtime story.

Mostly, however,
mostly he’s just the electric voice,
human arms and wire-like veins.

Mostly, when he calls, you come to him.
Because he’s like you;
sinner, leader, silent.

When is a man truly real?

When he is afraid of dying.

To Someone Once In Love With Me

Have you ever felt guilt
over a lit fire, stoked
not by your hands,
but containing them.

I trembled
when you touched my spine.
Not because I wanted you,
But because I didn’t,
and I hated

how soft your fingers were.
The daylight, the bus,
the palm like a dying insect
between our hips.

You carved a city
in your mind, where we lived,
where my hair, gold,
splayed across the pillow,

where adultery and secrets
concluded with
our lips like prayers, release,
like hands in confession.

Instead; the war,
because self-torture
was the fashion, and you
wanted to hang.

Because I couldn’t stop
pressing my tongue, my fingers,
into air, smoke,
hurting

because you needed it to,
and I was childish;
wanted to be silver
but feared the shine.

I laugh, now ugly,
now whole, now apart,
seaworthy, precipice,
jade, jade, jade,

the butterfly of your name,
metamorphosed and distant,
escapes me, but
like a bruise

in my veins,
and the memory
of the city,
you remain.

–  To Someone Once In Love With Me, Eve A.

Say Our Name

Remember when this started?
There were others, more faces,
less faces, rounded in youth
and possibilities.
We were giddy-green and trembling
with starlight, free and easy,
and the rooms seemed huge.
Just children, sharing chocolate
in front of mirrors
that refracted the shine
of our eagerness back to us.

Then came the determination.
No longer sugar-coated, a novelty,
now becoming something more.
Fear; the underlying, ever-present
soul-shaking uncertainty that every
difficult day could be our last.
We got better,
we started to make something.
friends left, phantom pains
in muscles that now
remembered the steps so readily.

We ached together, cried.
When our feet fell wrong or
the tide of frustration
throbbed over our burning foreheads.
Someone screamed each night, or
broke quietly inside, and
giving up, shattering, felt so straightforward.
But we shouldered the burden of failure
across each of our broad backs,
solemn, a wolf-pack,
and trudged onwards through the trees.

Our voices rose.
A crescendo, something sweet and scorching,
we pushed through the critics
with gilded tongues, confident
at last that we could conquer,
we knew how. We would bring the
country to it’s feet;
force it to dance to the sound
of our forerunner rhythm,
visionary and dangerous.

We, with muscles blazing,
light spilling out from the center
of our flourishing, stood
united, confirmed by silver and ink,
tall before the faceless masses.
As we printed our bodies onto the stage
a collective thought
crashed in each of our consciences,
expanding, a stone thrown in water.

This year is our year.

– Say Our Name, Eve A. (Written in tribute to the band ‘Seventeen’)

Rebirth, Regeneration

I.
He’s trying to save you.
He’s trying to reach inside,
trembling fingers catching at the glass
in your heart. He’s trying
to open you up to the light,
to prise apart the cage of your ribs.
Desperate, wanting, he’s
yearning to drag you up
through the flood until you break
against the surface.

II.
There’s a car turned over,
burning, or a bike lying
abandoned and oxidizing in the daylight.
The cold slide of a blade
through skin, or the hangman’s
noose, appropriated for a field of blood.
Your sins burn in your throat
like poison, like something’s
wrong with the way your words taste
in your mouth.

III.
One day of pain and your world seems to crumble,
where everything you knew,
all the gold-armoured thoughts are old tape rewound
       and rewound
                            and rewound
until you remember how you received them and now
they don’t have the platinum-gilded shine, or the
same heart-wrenching certainty as before.

IV.
You’re not drowning, hanging,
you’re not all cracked-bones,
shattered, unintelligible and bleeding
in the windscreen. But still
he continues his despairing,
last-gasp hope of pinning the loose things
inside you back together,
Like salvation can be
reached through the sharp thread he’s
using to suture your spine.

V.
But is it really light he wants,
       or purpose?
                     or reward?
                                   or relief?
the flood trickles through the stitches
in your flesh; you’ll always be wild.
knife-edge and gunmetal,
while his phoenix hands
continue to set themselves on fire.

– Rebirth, Regeneration, Eve A.

Exposition

There’s a black scarf obscuring his mouth.
The smell of petrol
and the haze on the asphalt
and the broken shards of gravel in your palms melt
into a hot-summer second.
And you can’t feel the blood in your head
but you know it’s there. It’s in
the way he looks at you.
Like everything about you is broken
open, and your body is pouring secrets
two decades old

Decades old; you’re a king, fuck
anomie and inferiority.
The new country smells of history
and fear and something rich; nectar or promise.
Road for miles, space, grey constantly remembered
to be forgotten a few yards down
there’s a secret.
A moving body with black hands.
The boy with the wolf
around his eyes. Teeth
too tight, too broken

to break against your skin.
But that comes later, months away. For now,
there’s just a black scarf, a promise
in his eyes, I’ll get inside you.
Hurtle through your entity
like a hurricane, I’m sorry.
But that’s months away.
He’s speaking a language you don’t yet know,
vowels long as the road, long
as the beats of your pulse.
The contrast to the crash.

The crash.
                  In the middle of the day
no one can hear you scream.

The backdrop to the scene, burnt black, sun
in the sky.
                  The perfect setting for him
to come, all warped metal feet away

crossing the white line.
White for distance, white
for impact, white for skin
before it is torn open.

His bike catches at yours like a child
grasping for sweets,
hungry.
                Rocks in your palms. Biting
sugar and tar.

He’ll catch up to you some day,
but now he has you on the floor.
Oil. Blood. Water. The thickest
is the one on your hands
signalling ties short-severed,
burning with loss.
Someday the pain will come.
Someday we’ll get over the initial shock of it,
but for now, stepping out of
the black won’t do much
good.

But for now, stepping into time
won’t put your bike back together.

– Exposition, Eve A.

memoria

a cultured blonde,
barely twenty years of age.
the kitchen door is open, c’est la vie,
late summer, pears growing black on the ground
outside, sun-stripped fence bare as the walls
inside.

the stem of the wine-glass is bone,
is the top-most branches of the old oak,
is fragile as a hope, a memory. a waltz
in the next room,
à la slow halcyon days, the blue eye
of the wild storm.

an early evening in a late summer,
a foreign blonde with his hand on gold,
liquid gold, or the gold of a coin,
or the burnished gold of the achillea
outside. sings,
a chanson, je regrette

if only you could speak,
he serenades to the honey-dipped
pools on the grass outside, the inside
bloom and frost of steam on the dirt-flecked window.
loss becomes an entity itself,
when the lonely grieve

– memoria, Eve A.

Caroline Divines

carolinedivines

After a recommendation from my personal tutor, who has somehow become my Theology mentor, I spent a few hours researching the Caroline Divines. I was instantly fascinated with what I discovered.

Anything, or anyone, who attempts to combine faith and reason is immensely interesting, in my opinion (which is possibly why I have such a strong love for Kierkegaard). The Caroline Divines took Scripture as authoritative on important matters concerning things such as salvation, but also employed the use of reason through deductive logic and tradition through a particular focus on early Christianity and the Church Fathers.

However, what struck me most was not their beliefs, but their writings. I was recommended ‘Holy Living and Holy Dying’ by Jeremy Taylor, and after discovering a copy of ‘The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying’ online, I skimmed the first few pages to see if it really was as ‘beautiful’ as my tutor had said. I wasn’t disappointed. From the very first page the address to the Earl or Carbury dives into poetic metaphor, and I found myself re-reading it many times. The phrase that captivated me the most was, arguable, this:

But I know that, without pointing, your first thoughts will remember the change of a greater beauty, who is now dressing for the brightest immortality, and from her bed of darkness calls to you to dress your soul for the change which shall mingle your bones with that beloved dust, and carry your soul to the same choir, where you may both sit and sing forever.”

The whole concept of preparing ones soul for death is also rather intriguing, and I shall endeavour to acquire a physical copy of this text in order to read further. For now, however, I have a tower of other books I need to get through.