Claire Gaskin

Writers Abroad I

Five Poems

untitled #1

cliffs of fall
can see snow on the mountain
cannot read haiku on the computer
the god Apollo

can see snow on the mountain
jelly on his stone head
the god Apollo
his nose vandalised

jelly on his stone head
man with hair dye in his hair
his nose vandalised
stands outside smoking

man with hair dye in his hair
moon on top of cylindrical tower
stands outside smoking
red ladders on all sides

moon on top of cylindrical tower
rape and rafters
red ladders on all sides
pigeons and priests

rape and rafters
cannot read haiku on the computer
pigeons and priests
cliffs of fall

untitled #2

I am wine aging in old wood that no-one will drink
Not even myself
I am not the old wood
I am not an ancient swamp with green log bridges that no-one will cross
I am cold purple mist behind glass
I am birds in her hair, her mouth, her eye sockets
I am not an empty hotel room
I am a fox on the run, a rolling hill
I am not cut off from myself, from reality by torn curtains made from moths’ wings
I am a blue porcelain cup with no handle
I am cat’s fur on a jumper, on car seat covers
I am split hair, spilt tea, dirty sheets
I am freshly cut grass walked into clean houses on the bottom of boots
I am not an endless road of road houses through mountains and flat lands with no rest
I am a night of waking in fright
I am not thirst that won’t let me sit and finish a book
I am the window framing the sky of patchwork clouds
I am a daisy chain from twenty-two years ago
I am the thickness of one hair

Revelation

Dali crashing through plate-glass while struggling
to position a fur-lined bath tub

revelation: this morning is butter between the sheets

real: using a fishing rod to fly a kite
in a carpark, on a cold spring say

balance: black swan with red beak
pecks black book with red corners

continuance: a fine rain raising dust
they cough and carry scaffolding

oppression: a blind mouth burns with butterflies

truth: somewhere in my body
the story slows over the rise of my hips

1

Awake in the sleep of the camellias
that stain my window
with the seeing and unseeing
of held falling.

Every leaf memorises the light
each sound interprets.

2

The page is naked
and new born,
its lips full and parted.

I don’t know where I am
but I am the center.
Swimming towards the light.

Near death
near sex.

the buddha smiles by the water feature regardless

the buddha smiles by the water feature regardless
staring into the fire forgetting the future
the sand of forgiven
and fingers slip apart

staring into the fire forgetting the future
the hands on the horizon
and fingers slip apart
lifting stones on the first day of spring

the hands on the horizon
every leaf an open palm
lifting stones on the first day of spring
absence exhales and an umbrella is opened

every leaf an open palm
the sand of forgiven
absence exhales and an umbrella is opened
the budhha smiles by the water feature regardless

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