This body suits you as a sack of skin
should. Although you liquefy under pressure
at least you don’t go to water. In
hold you together like the sides of rock
pools keep the sea from claiming back its own.
Breakers wash, the sun dries you out, a flock
feasts upon these offerings you have grown.
But how long before the shoal forgets the sea?
In the cool shallows of isolation
only dreams of being swept from solitary
pools remain. A tidal undulation,
ebbing memory of the ocean’s salty clutch,
as the waves roll in and drown you in their touch.
(originally published in Mary 1)
Slash and Burn
* After Fiona Hall’s installation of the same name
Sylvester Stallone, muscles greased with machine oil,
swings with one arm from the landing strut of a UH-1 ‘Huey’
helicopter as it lifts off from the Vietnamese jungle;
in his other hand an M16 fires off its last clip, a final
burst at the Vietcong below and then mission accomplished.
Fade to black and cue credits with a cock-rock title track; out-
takes, canapés and a quick peek at the rushes down at the wrap-
party, peasants emerging from their dugouts to view the destruction.
It’ll take weeks to extinguish all that celluloid: the way
smouldering plastic clings to skin, burning acetate blue,
thick clouds spooling skywards. Two children, homeless/
newly-orphaned, lie in the mud on the edge of a paddy field
pointing out shapes within the filmy clouds:
a rabbit, a doll, a dismembered torso
and the crown of democracy’s mouseketeer.
a river keeps
its own secrets
city river cat,
point towards the sea