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m.

“True, I haven’t said I love you lately
..– some are struck blind, I mute and
..shipped away one night leaving only

..a hand and foot severed on the stoop
..of your monument; but the sentiment
..continues, you may say it endures as

..well; I pause to eat, reflect on the day
..being cold, before a spoon of breakfast
..I have a taste of your skin on my lips.”

:

Night’s slaughter, half the world dead
by gravity, stacked slaves, shelved to
raw dreams, wreckage, prone, prey; a
lone poet hunches, stealthing her lover
into verse, a desklamp sole against the
dark but nothing counters her madness;
she is fear of day, starting, reluctant to
the sun (such as it briefly is) who’ll no
more than squat till dark comes again.

:

Your mind’s a hoarder’s house – credit
that! – with only sidled ways angling the
junk; you curate; there is a sure order to

pattern the space and the fill, but to say
it is fraught, to isolate one hallmarked
item is a danger, the whole mnemonic;

the exterior gives no hint; tell us what is
cyan, what vermillion, what umber, what
ochre, momentary before they’re refaced.

__________

©Marie Marshall

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l.

“I was asked where I wandered when
..there’s no fair, and I indicated with a
..sweep of my hand and, re-indexing my

..wooden résumé, held it at such a level
..that they’d have to bow to read it; thus
..I forced a deference, saying the fool’s

..a king and the king’s a fool, but secretly,
..meanwhile mouthing today’s salutation:
..have pity on a poor, old, blind beggar!”

:

..Fair day or not, you await the insinuation
..of dawn, to pick out the shape of the obelisk,
..the chimney, the satellite dish, the roosting
..urban birds, to gauge the moment to visit
..the early-opening bar – that little, yellow
..sea of hope – where day and night are both
..equally guarded against; but the grey wash
..follows you (oh a day-dog it is that fawns
..and won’t leave you be!) to dim the lamps.

:

Our Cossack, our Kickapoo, neither falls
easily into stereotype, each wears a skinny
suit with an open-necked shirt, each checks

his device for texts, neither messages in any
lingo save the universal, each has shoes that
are shined but still speak dull, the wristwatch

they wear is the same brand but tells different
time; one, I see, has cufflinks, and they play a
music against his coffee cup, sip, sip of happy.

__________

jupiter@ Marie Marshall.

I have been a little quiet of late, at least as regards my poetry. But I have recently posted an atmospheric short story for you to read – please visit. Also, I reignited my weirdest blog, which you may also like to visit.

k.

“Where are you at? You’ve forsaken
..resistance for love, now you mawk
..and gowk and boak and make mouths

..like a gym slip teen clutching books
..below her bosom. Where’s your old
..dada découpage? You kick and kick

..and kick at a plastic cup till it busts
..but then you leave it lying for some
..other hapless wee bugger to stoop to.”

:

..We live in a box with a few random
..pencil-jags for air holes; every once
..in a time a random deity shines light
..– it could be yellow, it could be grey,
..it could be diffuse, it could generate
..little rainbows that keep up our slack
..attention for a few minutes – through
..the holes and persuades us to wake,
..so we all hail/hallelujah as if voiced.

:

I give emotions to skies, castles and
landscapes, weather, etc. with all the
lack of care of the jinky woman who

thought mulatto was a kind of coffee
[MEMO: ask for one and see where it
gets you!]; I’ve given over my pencil

for a usb stick; I’ll give time of day to
anyone who’ll read, let rot my letters,
litter the feus with my capital clerking.

__________

©Marie Marshall

j.

“The shape of things gauged by hand or
..lip or fingertip; the memory of musculus
..and nerve that tells me how to lift a piece

..of hot sausage (not a pebble or a button)
..to my mouth; the myths you have of my
..blindness; the beliefs of my beggary; all

..the ways and means of my meagre, old
..biography traced on this squared board;
..do you have a problem with falsehood?”

:

We call it The Great Snow, the far, fair,
few, deadening flakes that soundless make
us, that make our walking there a guessing
game and our walking back an enigma but
leave the night-time streets with enough
illumination to read by – a light of slick
tangerine! – less feared than The Little
Snow that’s too small to be hail, but that
sustains a pit-pit-pit to your hard cheek.

:

A new feature of the tuppenny cirque is
the counter-clown, whose function is to
discourage laughter, imbue the audience

with a sense of the seriousness of life; let’s
leave the magnificent iridescent tag to the
white clown’s pantaloons, the sharp snap

of animal-stink to the acrobat, and see in
their stead the baroque gestures, the grey
suits, lapel pins naming common items.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

i.

“Blindness removes unwanted overtones
..from my life, concentrates my thoughts,
..and presents my stories with a purity that

..you people with jazzed phenomena would
..find hard to fathom; I know rhythms and
..rhymes and reasons set in sundry seasons,

..cut in an arcane template; poet, your words
..(sometimes the lack of them) augment my
..blindness – for that you have my gratitude.”

:

The big stone’s a cutout from the milk-ink
sky and the ink-milk sea, a nonsense that
won’t leave your eye alone, an uncanny
boathop, catching at the brave backscatter
as they do at the forescatter and false dawn;
eye up to the hill they (Vikings) named for
wind – the ferry takes us to a land of old-
fashioned cutlery and curtains and a black
cat that creeps through the open window.

:

..When they say ‘all the fun of the fair’ they
..have no idea of the terror, of how, for the
..fortnight or more after the taint of mud and

..trodden-grass is in the air, and the low girl
..remembers the showmen’s smirks as they
..make her try her hand or take a ride; she

..was bidden step up and see the camelopard
..and the Borneo man; she is as slow as she is
..low, the fair requires speed before anything.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

h.

“We are constantly doing things for
..the last time. The last thing I saw
..was the red of the field before I lay

..down in sleep and woke up in sleep
..– something my placard will never
..tell you in lieu of a barebones story.

..My eyes dying is a reminder to you
..all, that there will be a last time that
..you’ll toss a coin into my old cap.”

:

The painted bird glides, sure as a coat
of rust, down Simile Street, avoiding
the maw and teeth in the darkness of
Metaphor Alley; when we find a burned
-out car, we see if we can see a star from
where we found the car or, travelling on,
regard and remark the gutter-piling of
grey dust, bays and inlets, coastal hills
of an imagined nation, the land of loss.

:

She feels an unsung wife on an unsafe
wire, but moves through the fair taking
in the unfairness; she pauses, considers

buying a calendar, sees its squareness,
how each day’s a place for a chessman;
only then she knows to make a knight’s

move without taking a step, opposite in
a set of six! Only there she knows love,
how it stands in a flow and braves loss.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

Christmas in the Court of the King of the Manouche.

Poor Monkey, you stand in awe
at the birth of the Lamb of Tartary,
snow sticking to your horripilation
in adumbration of the inevitable sacrifice
that will follow his humble borning.

You have no gift, you stand because
you can’t kneel, you stand because
just as you are witnessing this birth
you know in yourself the births of Judas,
Barabbas, Ananias, Dathan, and Haman.

You’re even blind to the shimmer
of Japanese beetles motionless above
the earth bank that doubles as a manger,
though the shimmer draws inexorably
those who can kneel. Poor Monkey,
poor simian, will no one pity the Monkey?

Meanwhile…
in the Court of the King of the Manouche,
glasses clink; one who denies he is a fish
drinks like one, the Old-man-of-the-woods dances
(yes!) his hop-kick gopak, the elephant
celebrates motionless, and a huntsman spider
roasts flies on an open fire. All’s well,
all’s crackers and party hats;

the King spreads his arms and thinks, My children!

The wind begins to howl, three riders approach
seeking the Lamb. I’m no Herod,
says the King of the Manouche, spreads
his hand over the whole of his kingdom,
debatable though it is, and casts peace.
Even peace on the Monkey, although he
does not feel it as he creeps away in tears.

Ignore the shadow across the moon;
it’s due to the long, far-out ellipse of a visitor
who finds it hard to leave us, so much
does he love us.
A chorus, in Japanese –
Beetle in the highest,
beetle on earth,
beetle to all men
!

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

i-am-not-a-fish-cover-extractI pause from my current series of poems to present this seasonal(?) piece. The Lamb of Tartary, the Monkey, the Old-man-of-the-woods, the Elephant, the Huntsman spider, and the King of the Manouche are all characters who appeared first of all in my collection I am not a fish, along with other characters such as Beatrice the rat and Mr. Coelacanth (the actual fish-in-denial). The collection was nominated for the 2013 T.S. Eliot Prize. It is still available, though I don’t get any royalties from sales (due to a peculiarity of the publishing contract I won’t bore you with). I would very much like you to read it; in fact, any show of interest might persuade the publisher to increase the print run. Click the pic of the cover to see more. Thank you. M.

g.

“The vigour of my dreams, colours the sighted
..can’t know and dionysiac geometries in awed
..tumble; I should write them on my placard but

..who would read the glyphs of that old, mystic,
..inner city, who would toss a penny into my hat
..for black (I’m told) worms that dance? Organs

..of salvation, or so our imaginations are called;
..do you wish for my true story? I’ll tell tales of
..the weird cities of time and space; so, so be it!”

:

Twice a day the sky’s a smithy and an anvil
and the man who hammers it and the blood-
splashes on the buildings; then
Schuldberg
(that high mountain of guilt that she has to
climb) is the gnomon that points to each
door in turn, oblate segment and an unholy
finger, accusation of the lintels, recorder of
our keystrokes, limner of our sins, numbered
in (nameless) ones and (unrecognised) zeros.

:

It’s a ‘My hat!’ moment. There’s a roomful of
people praying to flayed, drowned Bartholomew
for a miracle – an emotional response always

trumps a theological one; we move from room
to room as from chapel to chapel, in each we fill
a vase with flowers, decorate the space as a tomb;

outside is a chorus of crows, and we realise their
racket’s not mockery but praise! Good journeyman
crow, the cleaner-up of other people’s accidents!

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

f.

“We were coupled, you and I, not a period,
..not a moment, but this state continuous, a
..hold, a resonance, where a life is made or

..‘leaf’ and ‘branch’ become ‘tree’; I cannot
..shorten my tongue to speak it, low diction
..thieves from it, not religion, not art, poetry

..begs it, makes beggary of it, but our mouths
..were single, singular, we became I despite
..friction, a whole pond mill-calm in worlds.”

:

Trees are a growth on the world’s body, not
clinging to the surface but wounding, deep,
long-seeking, long-sapping, unseen tearing,
drinking; parasite birds feed and void here,
in forest rashes; symbiont flowers spring up
and die away, and in lean, long nights these
woods are scars, woodlice raw the cicatrice
and root to make-up the taints, the tangs, the
vapours to draw creeping things home, here.

:

Oak logs went to make not just ships but the
trestles for Bartholomew Fair, to hold all the
bolts and blues, the indigoes and lengths, the

serges and the piss-soaked tweeds; love and
drunkenness, joy and vice, all the trades we
think we know from night-clubs and twitter

trolls, all the Indians and dwarves, these rude
boys, these girls, midnite-pastors, pedlars on
scooters, all are kids of the one wilder wood.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

e.

“You often ask how would
I change the world? The end
of patriarchy? The collapse

of capitalism? Peace? Save
the vivliothiki of Alexandria?
I couldn’t destroy choice like

that; but every one of us to
take a step towards the light
would put things to rolling.”

:

. The coarse times of a day,
. those when that image is
. full of noise and begging
. to be cropped and be made
. sharper; a mist-devil, who
. gives words we all believe,
. deceives, steals half our eye,
. challenges the notion that
. there is bloodstained dawn.

:

To him, every woman was
someone’s Mary, looking
beyond what was close-to

and praying; to him, nine
out of every ten Messiahs
was a fraud and the 10th a

failure, nine out of every
ten gods a graven image,
and the 10th a crow tyrant.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

Please feel free to read my most recent short story, ‘Grandfather’. It’s not an easy read, I have to warn you, as it contains violence, adult themes, and characters that use racist vernacular.