Morning sun scalds
tourists, flaying the
air with their selfie sticks and
accents, tones, hues unknown–
road heats, trembling with purpose,
progress, rumble rumble…
Click goes the stick.
Coffee done, the day begins.
22nd September 2016
My body is my soul.
Waves repeat, blurred edges,
Where’s the start, the end?
Ripples shine, fog truth, blur.
What is becomes what may
have been. Reflections. This
is all a mirage, isn’t it?
I saw clarity, you know.
Saw strength where there
was only wavering.
Soggy foggy reflections.
Now I lie in water, still movement
with patience, stoic skill.
Now I reflect.
You have wounded me.
Those jagged edges softly distort
caressing my skin, lapping gently
against my flesh, my soul.
This was all harmless, right?
Idle moments, idly expressed.
Harmless. Soft. Blurred.
Who would have thought?
I see only reflections.
Sandie Zand, 20th September 2016
We drank and talked, as friends do, about stuff… stuff that cannot be altered or fixed, from long ago in fact – pre-dating said friendship by decades (and continents) – yet stuff that somehow curiously needed to surface right now, be discussed, be shared, be exorcised.
A strange thing: the talking over of stuff long past – school, upbringing, Larkin’s theory of parental error – and how this arises from a slight comment, a passing memory, taking over all conversation as each recalls significant moments, a growing crescendo of them… until two hours later the world has shrunk completely into those memories, their clarity, the sensory resurrection of emotional impact.
And we are little girls again.
For some curious reason, as I walked home – and I guess analysis will come in a dream, on waking, whatever – it put me in mind of this song by Amelia Curran, Tiny Glass Houses:
There’s a crack in my memory,
As if something has gone
And split the foundation
Of shadow, of song
And rattled the windows,
And the tiny regrets
And the tiny glasses houses
That I tried to forget
Lullaby – by Jenny Joseph
Only when we are in each other’s arms
Babies or lovers or the very ill
Are we content not to reach over the side;
To lie still.
To stay in the time we’ve settled in, that we’ve
Like a gourd of its meat,
And not, like a sampling fly, as soon as landed
Start to our feet,
Pulling one box on another, Ossa on Pelion;
Getting the moment, only to strain away
And look each day for what each next day brings us:
Yet another day;
Pleased with the infant’s health and the strength of
For the child it will grow to,
The house perfected, ready and swept, for the new
Abode we go to,
The town in order and settled down for the night
The sooner for the next day to be over,
The affair pushed straight away to its limit, to leave
and notch up
Lie still, then, babies or lovers or the frail old who
In dreams we carry
Seeking a place of rest beyond the crowds
That claim and harry.
We are trying to reach that island for the festive
Where our love will stay –
Waylaid, prevented, we wake as that vivid country
Mists into day.
Stay on this side of the hill.
Sleep in my arms a bit longer.
This driving on will take you over the top
Beyond recall the sooner.
I wear the two, the mobile and the landline phones,
like guns, slung from the pockets on my hips. I’m all
alone. You ring, quickdraw, your voice a pellet
in my ear, and hear me groan.
You’ve wounded me.
Next time, you speak after the tone. I twirl the phone,
then squeeze the trigger of my tongue, wide of the mark.
You choose your spot, then blast me
through the heart.
And this is love, high noon, calamity, hard liquor
in the old Last Chance saloon. I show the mobile
to the Sheriff; in my boot, another one’s
concealed. You text them both at once. I reel.
Down on my knees, I fumble for the phone,
read the silver bullets of your kiss. Take this…
and this… and this… and this… and this…
~ Carol Ann Duffy, Quickdraw
Against Certainty (by Stanley Kunitz)
There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.
If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.
Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.
I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.
To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.
You were taller than i thought,
wearing a mustard jumper
which was odd – i’d
imagined this, why would
i choose that shade?
We sat in an over-themed pub
perched high on bar stools,
sharing the table with strangers
who pressed up close
and butted in.
You were animated,
your words expanding
blowsy like the decor, despite
my continuing to read
Yet it was you who ultimately
detached, without goodbye,
and i glanced up from the
small ads to see an
Sandie Zand – 11th November 2015