Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Guitar Man

Trees pool in floods of colour, prickle against sight, cluster together beneath the wind. The guitar maker narrows his eyes, a fugitive from the business of creativity. He has come to this big-bellied forest to pick his beloved, a tree that will bear his image. A tree that will build the finest guitar that jazz has ever met. The taste of orange oil floods his mouth with pleasure, reflexive, certain, unattainable. Cedar shapes begin to emerge in his mind. He sees curves. The wind is a wet loop. He is caught in a dream of music. In this forest is the key to impossible living. He alone must find the right note, unlock it, uncover its delicate one-ness, its splendid identity,. How he loves this moment. This time before time runs out, when all is possible, before he makes the first cut.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Downfall of Icarus

Icarus is busy making plans in an effort to offset his fear of becoming invisible. He believes, these days, that transparency is furtive, unworthy. He is melding high thoughts with hopes of eternity gilding his veins. In short, because nothing is ever the shape it suggests, he has persuaded his father into building them some wings.
Daedalus writes down the formulas for flight in a secret script of broken mathematics. He sends Icarus out to rob the bees nests for honey and wax. Under a teal sky at evening time, Icarus returns home, following the cold scent of melon on the air, to find his father constructing the vast angelic wings. They grin which gives them both the understanding that there is no business between them but the grave business of living. It is so because they believe it is so. But Daedalus is uneasy. He knows his son, extracts from him the promise not to go too high. These structions of wax and keratin cannot hold for long, he says, and Icarus nods, greedy to get on with it. He'd be patient if he had more time.
The morning dawns with a soft light. At last Icarus stands framed in the doorway and hooks his arms through his bright wings. He moves out, launches himself into the fabric of the air. Balloons of nectar billow beneath his wings. He is moving through a miraculously perfumed light in sweet cold disobedience. The sun calls him into the scarred sky. Tiny cracks, hairlines, barely visible, begin to appear in his wings. The day is pitched too high and the dials in his glass heart are flickering chaotically as he begins his spiralling fall, and suddenly Daedalus is alone, knee deep in shivered feather and the broken body of his boy and the whole world vibrating with grief.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Message in a Bottle

Make it all your own, then share it out. Velvet Blake carved the words into the piece of driftwood she had found that morning and pinned them above the door to the tiny room with its big bed. She was living the good life, a born-again pig farmer in the commune of good-lifers in the sleepy village of little Winchendon. Mostly she was glad. She liked the pigs. She especially liked the the large white sow called Violet, who would lay her vast bulk down before her in every inconvenient place and wait to be tickled.
She also liked the boy who bottled mineral water, called Martin, though it made her laugh to think of anyone mad-fool enough to think of paying for water. Still, she was thinking that moment of inviting him to sleep with her in the very high featherbed. It was cool. Whatever he decided, it would be cool.
She followed the staircase of horseshoes up to the room. The door was open and the fire was burning in the grate. Baby Hoof was in his crib, his blue face dark as a wet stone beneath her gaze. Velvet Blake feeds him hoof jelly, boiling up the hooves of lame fairies to pacify his colic. Which is nice of her, she thinks, and a mark of how far she has come in the way of communal living.
She only notices the bottle when she straightens the Jilly Cooper novels on the windowsill, squares them up against Dick Francis and The Hobbit. It is one of Martin's, corked with a single message  inside it written on a rizla paper. Tenderly she unrolls it. Baby Hoof is utterly still, quiet as the dead. The message reads: Can I warm my hands by your fire?
And she turns, whips round before the fist sized scar above her heart has time to ache and sees him, Martin, a half-smile on his face, waiting for her response. She closes his eyes with her one hand and leads him under her new sign: Make it your own, then share it out.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Purposes of Spoon

I belong to you, Beloved. In the darkened After Noah time of forever I give you my burnished heart. I come to your lips like a fish rising in scales of pewter and gold. I scroll to you like a peppershake of birds, iron filings in a magnetic sky. The air about me is like mica, ancient with bitter flecks, the slenderest of separations.
I belong in the drawer of twisted maple, with the filigree knives and all things capable of drawing or catching blood. I am loved especially, as surprising to the palate as silverfoil in jam. My purposes are symmetrical, smooth and pleasing. I will not serve lemons or lychees or any delicate thing. Unburden me of practicality, no childhood medicinal doses. I will pour divine syrups into their mouths, sumptuous magic will slide in from me to them and they will lap it up.
When I am full of maverick light I glow like a celestial bowl. I lay upon the table, baring my fullness to your gaze. I reflect all your desires, invert them, console them with silver lustre. You hope to see the birds fly back at dawn. I offer you the lace pattern of sunlight through leaves and the chill shadow of twilight.  Fullness becomes me. It makes me alive to what is and what might be. I am full of moving reflections, as stark as a hospital room, as chastely miraculous as a win on the lottery. When I am full, chagrin and dismay fall away and I brim with pleasure and plenitude.