Thursday, 27 December 2012

Fingers by the Eye of a Needle

I never see myself as Pan or Wendy,
more the symmetry of darning in the dark.
A prick of new needle through shadow,
unsure fingers foraging forward on ladders.
Sewing thoughts wonky with meek stitches.

Life is not a nursery floor littered
by memories flying reckless through
half-open and waiting windows though.

It is fingertips curled around the cusp
of a still-to-be-lit cigarette.
It is hands in worship to matchstick fire
poised in prayer in a dark corner.

It is extremes -
a sucking of thumbs-turned-terrorists
in the back of unexpected taxis cosy as wombs.
A hot, heavy pushing onto the cushion of palms.
A nettle reek radiance of still-to-come fucks.
A shiver of soft and fluid fingernails
deciphering the braille language of necks.

It is hands hovering in a quiet café.
Twinned dragonflies flittering on the lull of a day.
Tethered wings floating between turbulence and dreams
among columns of ghosts in unravelling coffee steam.
It is fingers haloing a favourite book tipped on their sides,
the sanctuary of surprise as tips brush crushed petals
between translated lines of Neruda and Lorca.

It is patchwork stitched from strands of clippy mats.
Bits of un-matching quilt darned together until it fits.

It is Peter sitting next to Wendy as she sews -
as a needle pierces highlights onto shadows.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Phases of the Moon

It was just a piece of paper with words scribbled over it, and a doodle.  She didn’t even see the letters ‘o o n   &   L i t t le   F r i e d a’.  Or the blurry scrawl of a wonky tree with a balloon of sky tied on with a shaky piece of pink crayon tethering the two together like an umbilical cord.  All she saw was the name.  His name, with the top of the T smudged into the biro trunk of the messy tree.  Ted.

He’d been such a strange thing, heart anchored to jam jar dreams and a head full of scientific theories he couldn’t pronounce or explain properly without loosening the birds of his hands up into the spaces separating them to flutter and peck until she was exhausted just watching him.  His sister joked he was from the land of Peter Pan.  But she knew different, he was from the moon.

“Mar, it’s not about glass really, or how it’s made, it’s about tides and things always turning, don’t you see?”

She remembered his gestures, the agitation puppeteering his face as well as his arms.  When something grabbed him, some observation he couldn’t fathom into words that made sense to her, his face danced.  And her heart soared.  Up it would go, higher than the greedy gulls haloing their heads waiting impatiently for bits of leftover crusts and jump-away thoughts.

“Look, if I stick a ray of light here,” she remembered him pointing with his left pinky finger to the piece of clear sea glass he held in the same hand halfway between her face and his, “and you stand there…”  He went to touch her with the other, but stopped before the distance could be breached.  “And you look.  But I mean really look, you’ll see a rainbow shoot out the other side!”

Everything was always multihued when he was around, even the dull drudge of the shadows that stalked the strands of peculiar that bound them turned traitor to their others and pooled like shards of labradorite when they were together.

But like all rainbows, what inevitably accompanied that phenomena was rain.  And as time tipped glass back into sand, the tide of their connection turned.

“I didn’t mean it, oh god, I didn’t!”

Blood, drops of red mocking like abandoned breadcrumbs in a fairy tale forest.  But this time diluted in the womb of a too hot bath.  What she remembered wasn’t the slaps or the punching, not even the words turned murderer that stuttered from his mouth like machine gun fire, but the condensation obscuring the window, distorting the waning gibbous moon looking forlornly in.

“It doesn’t matter, right?  We can have another one, right?  You know I love you, right?”

His face, obscene and terrified in the darkness as she rose from the bath and pulled out the plug.  Then the water swirled, taking her trust and the death of a future too delicate to cling itself inside until it was ready to thrive.  It gargled as it left, the last of the bathwater.  And still the moon wobbled and wavered, this time reflected in the bathroom mirror.

Her lips pursed together for a second as she let her gaze leave the scribbled T on the bit of paper.  Nestled between a few of the branches there was a squiggled on full moon.  The lines were wrong though, and had been shaded in.  She imagined being behind the paper, seeing from the other side of the solar system, being able to witness the darkness always there on its other side, its hidden side.  More letters knitted together on the page, ‘o w s   a r e   g o i n g   h o m e   i n   t h e   l a n e’.  A little further down, next to where the branches of the tree began, ‘'B a l a n c i n g   u n s p i l l e d   m i l k'.  Near the bottom, but still above his name, ‘'y o u   c r y   s u d d e n l y'.

She crumpled up the paper, threw it in the bin by her feet.  Rose from the chair and turned towards the class.  She took a deep breath, stole a cursory glance out the window, barely registered the bright fingernail sliver of the waxing crescent moon low on the eastern horizon.  Then turned to the board and picked up the red marker and started to scribble letters on it that matched the ones on the page she’d just discarded.  After a moment she turned back to her new pupils.

“Hello class, I am Ms Lura.  We’ll begin this module by studying the folklore of werewolves, with particular reference to the subliminal traditions of hiding monsters in our fairy tales…’