Word Association

1. blade

i imagine being
seeped through, strewn
like a sapling beneath flame by
this blade’s arched
spine. i think of skating
shoes, skates, skating, of skaters
sawing through me over white, heels
flaking, fractals
of skin mingling
feverishly with ash like
paperweights, as i am caught
by fire, half-unawares


2. needle

sometimes, raked roar
by blaze of gale and reines
in rain, veins can be caught
rising, straining to shed
skin as though enamoured
with the sky, as dawn in her drowsiness shakes
away the moon, shelling herself
out from the sea’s sheets and flinging herself
over wheels and wakes. fingering
them now through autumn swelter, i long
to burrow with them, bare-back
through an eye, a pine’s eye, mining
rivers to cleave my soul out
of the air whose purple
tongue i have branded with a name
i feel screeching through hooves
and bleeding through this iris into grey…

yes. i will pollinate a pine.


3. spikes

perhaps a cellist, uprooting
music from the earth in reems
of ink, sandpaper, held
breath; the held breath
of a crowd unfurling, like old
flies lured by a red
typhoon; the break
of voices, searing silence
which falls in wisps
like thistle-down, gnawing
purple into bare ankles, bare, sun-wrinkled
gravel, concrete; like crows, these frantic
guardian angel feathers settle
around my ears, spurring on
a rain of parched medusas shattering
my back, chest, temples, stealing
blush from flag from pilgrim’s
bones; my horns
screech, unmoving. i am
bull, horns rammed
in earth, uprooting
a crowd’s howl, raked roar
by my own typhoon of scarlet
crows, fighter’s rain
of wrinkle’s blur and burn
on paving slabs; a porcelain
violet, scattered
over gravel


4. razor

i have never seen a razor
fish. but in the grey-toothed
sea of my mind, they detonate
themselves from beneath furred waves, cutting
their shadows out of growls
of spray, edging with them between seams till
the sore sea’s wails lie
threadbare; they emerge
drenched in snips of sea
for firewood.


5. scalpel

it’s not your fault.
a few years back, i felt them
wrenching out the claw of a bird
to forge you – i saw its shriek
sinking into a gape of parted
oceans, a blue throat stifling
throbs; and then my heart’s anvil blushed
blue beneath the grey gale
of their rash of braying; they tore through arms
of saplings to beat you out
of sparks and draw out a long trickle
of inky campfire-light, the kind
that conjurs a monsoon in sleep-strewn
eyes, from my own arched spine.
i’m sorry.

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