Kvenna ráð

Call off your dogs. Let's talk.

two hundred and seven words. 6

atime to recognise the sin of rhythm in herself, the desire to talk in threes, to rise with “Up, up, up,” and to lament with “Gone, gone, gone;” also to recognise, for the first time, the other and the bitter scent in her hair, the other who asked “Can you swear?” thus thrusting dialogue into the girl’s life while at the same time drawing a finger back and forward across her teeth – the girl, at home, hid behind a curtain, imitated the metre of the movement, convinced that was what the question signified – and who led in a whole parcel more, including the one who was like (like, because nothing ever is exact, all is simulacra at best) a basket of warm fruit settled in sunshine, there for the girl to drag her lips across; now there was the matter of the otherness of her own heartbeat, the thing that had, she realised, always had a dance of its own, apart from her, that kept running when she had brought herself to a stop, that quickened at a sudden thought and brought a fire to her ears, the subtle tick-tick-tick of a watch to her throat; more and more she listened to this little monster in herself

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

Advertisements

two hundred and seven words. 5

2075Changes may come, may already have come, may be on the way as she breathes in: such are her thoughts as she melts wax crayons on the hot hood of an electric fire, allowing pools of blood, blackcurrant, and blue to run, abut, vie, and harden as she switches off and cools their platform; she tests one with her finger, raises a peak, waits, tries another, leaves a print, waits, touches another and finds only a smooth shape – she does not know the word ‘meniscus’ so has nothing to compare it with, it is something all of its own – prizes it away with a fingernail and gasps as it breaks, looks long at the last roundel of her favourite colour, thinks of flavours, again draws the nail under it to lift off perfection, to bring it to her lip, to feel the contradiction of stillness and (yet) texture, this child who walks to school deep in the melt of her own mind has learned the way she will, being spared the perils of infancy, one day smithy her poetry; of such small heating and cooling are words, of such little hammering and shaping, of such experimental lifting, sometimes breaking apart, but now to be annealed, shaped, sharpened

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 4

There came a time when she didn’t look at abandoned buildings as dereliction, but as reflections of confidence and hope. No one had put in those windows expecting them to reflect a hole in the sky or a day there wouldn’t be someone to look out of them; no one had made the roof’s lamellar armour intending it would slip to be the ingress of crows and pigeons; no one had told the bricks to become clay again. So she pondered on a forgotten row with the sense of ces jours sont pour toujours, the knowledge of men, wives, children, ticking clocks, wakefulness and sleep, the cheer and banality of the radio, the battening down against wind and rain and the coolness of shade against sun. If she narrowed her eyes she could see a merging with a mountainside, the street twisting and becoming a difficult track above a precipitous drop, and it was her first dream of unity. Maybe it was this that made her look for and explore anywhere she could find that ought to be wild – looking for a dropped glove, a lost button, a page torn from a magazine somewhere among the trees or by the run of the little river between the

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 3

abandonment and bereavement, her ears burned with elation at the independence and shame for the same thing. Cheated of the vague presence of a precise woman in white, with softly accented speech, the girl looked for traces of her in others: her mother calling the malted spoonful offered up by its French alternative; the yes/no interlude; the way milk is pink when dashed with blackcurrant; the exact balancing of milk to cereal that retains crisp, replaces dry with moist, fails mush; the rough game played with a stuffed toy, and the instant regret that flash-floods when it’s flung to the ground. That freedom and shame will come back later with the loss of a lover, it will seem familiar, it will bring that gallery, that theatre of shadow puppets; the refusal of children to play; what follows, the sharp “I am alone” that won’t leave, and that consequently lies; being Pocahontas with a band of primary feathers, each of which may be taken out, stroked with and against its natural lie, held against her lips, dimmed in the shadow of a toy teepee, “I can tell differences by the smell.” Why did she sin and tell her first lie? On a window seat, by a Christmas tree

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 2

Sucks her fingers when they freeze, wet with snowballs, wee woolen gloves tightening and loosening. The catch of a summer dress, long onto the tops of wellies that bite the back of her legs, that kick up the smell of wet grass and mud underfoot. This is the sin of experiencing other, still your basic ignorance, still warring with knowledge – those fingers ache, then numb, then warm, no matter that the duffle coat’s worn as a cape, a play costume, doesn’t she know that to pretend other puts her in danger for ever? And yet she strides across that field, that trapped green by houses, to the red/yellow flaked swing set and the slide, wipes wet from the seat and the chute with her sleeve, sets her tongue to a chain and tangs iron, sits in the baby-swing, skirt/dress tucked once, twice, the same way she attempts handstands against a wall, and she kicks, kicks, kicks into the small sky! The chain’s alive in her hands, repeats its torque with every kick, with every arc it tightens, but she still doesn’t ken her name, only – they are different – what she’s called, better to know what to say clouds and the scent of first rain on flagstones, the

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 1

The girl came into the sin of knowing at the age of three; this must be, as she recalled, always recalls, her fourth birthday, and the fact that there was never rain. There was certainly a fall, a pigeon on the kitchen window sill, but her dreams and nightmares were recalled, always are: her mother waking her, just as she did on her birthday, but in that silence that can only be dreamt; a monster in the garden, sitting, eating an apple, somehow, a big man with no head; a monster, a draped man with no head, black cloak tattered, walking wicked quick along a lit tunnel, round walls, tiled; each monster musicked by the pulse in her ears, catch her if they can. The taste of wet earth tried out because of its likeness to potatoes and gravy, an experiment into the nature of similar things, showing her early grasp of philosophy in an antic school. Her own smell of yeast. There was never cold, there was never heat, there was only the confusion of knowing without the understanding that came with smiles and caresses. That sin she came into entered with the brilliance of a made-up word, her first gluttony on the fast-feast of language

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

By the way, the Summer 2018 Showcase at the zen space is now published. Go here to learn more.

z.

“Bartholomew Fair’s by,
..and I’m loan home, at
..touch and tap and a bit

..of thumb too, gone back
..to fish hatchery and the
..history of grocery stores,

..my legend tucked in my
..oxter, my whole tale yet
..untold, sun still upskied.”

:

..The same day-eye shock
..brims the overhead and
..hazes out the stars; old
..geezer moon’s one pale
..reminder, noticed by side-
..looks and a double-take,
..bully clouds washed up,
..treason to the night, our
..true country, our safety.

:

If the fair’s by, then so’s
all else, Jumbo’s packed
and Colonel Billy Blood

gone down the Bedouin
road to hell-knows-what;
only your mind takes the

six sides you’ve squatted,
you being a snail, so you
always carry your prison.

__________

jupiterWhere now, the alphabet series being over?

©Marie Marshall

y.

“The sea, the fear and longing
..for it, its kitchen-rattle, all the
..waves folding over, each blow

..a new word, each word a new
..weapon, each weapon used to
..write my story on this board,

..no longer a simple tale but a
..mighty argument for revolt –
..word never does surrender.”

:

..A tower turns, keeping a cold
..back to the sun, hankering for
..night, always hiding one facet,
..a rooted moon bot a man-face,
..its comers and goers get from
..day to shade by clock-dial not
..by the hairs on their neck and
..the emptiness in their bellies;
..nothing/everything into orbit.

:

If we can’t get the pachyderm
out of the room, then move the
room, or the whole house – cat

could give a damn and the girl
give sweet cigarette K I S S E S,
turning one-eighty degrees, or

three-sixty, to see the place at
a different view, like in a cross
-stitch, fabric, needle-hole way.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

x.

“You stay and settle me,
..determine my heart, its
..hours, how the lie of my

..land belies the rhythm
..of the tappity-tap made
..by the chalk against my

..board, I word B R E A
..T H L E S S plain there
..for all the world to see.”

:

..Rogue mist that robs a
..city of its law, the grey
..bridge’s pylons, more
..lands across half-river
..– when the sun burns
..you back, then the raw
..prestige will show, a
..false town, coloured,
..your harlequin deceit.

:

Bill Blood, your room
-to-room range (ah!) a
couthie nuik to secure,

Grandiloquent sound of
your content, p-piano to
the burthen of the huff

from Mr Unmentioned
by the TV-chair; try as
we may, not remoting!

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

w.

“The moons and the
..seas and skies of a
..blind man’s dream,

..the music made by
..rasping a calloused
..nail against a lover’s

..cool side, fleet cars’
..livery, shapes made
..by bold-bare letters.”

:

..Morning, pale plague
..strikes carse and old
..concrete waste alike,
..makes the flank and
..lake pipes of the road-
..tanker anthem its way;
..what right does this
..glory have to pick and
..choose its own slaves?

:

Cat rolls in the dust
and the breeze-blown
blossom of the fruit

trees that heave the
tarmac, she bids us
ask what’s in her eye,

we speculate, she’s
silent in the way of
her kind, till killing.

__________

jupiter@Marie Marshall