Nobody starves in a garret any more. Not even poets.
The comfort of cliché removed, I sulked
against my real state of graceless poverty
and mourned all the beautiful perturbations of the spirit.
Moping around like a real teen, I kicked a gurning bedpost
scattered tumbleweeds of lint and spiders of hair
fluffed up unromantic clouds of dust.
Through my half-lidded hangover it seemed she flew
in past the flakes paint and rotting wood,
hovered like night air and curled kittenish
on my stale sheets. She'd told me that some day
all the women will have wings. Hers were folded,
prayerlike, trailing in the crumbling floorboards.
I reached for my sketchbook and took her in.
A long breast, a cream valley of waist and
my pencil caught the mountains in her.
The landscape is in the woman, her arms were trees
forking fingers in my pillows: whorled, finely divided.
Lateral sterile branches barked her shins against
the bed-end and I sped to catch her pebbled toes.
'Ten seconds, please God,' I whispered to the unlistening.
The air creaked, broke my gaze, she flew apart
and my bed sagged with the weight of no women.
Each mouldy skirting corner stretched a little further
into my peripheral; the landscape shrunk to foul objects.
Brown curling paperbacks; wet-dog washing;
the hardened pizza crusts; the rat taking a piss.
In my coffee mug: memories of pencil shavings and beer.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from seven people:
@ernmalleyscat: "whorled, finely divided lateral sterile branches" (Penny Watsford, Plants of the Forest Floor)
@timsterne: "Moping around like a real teen" (Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps)
@attentive: "all the beautiful perturbations of the spirit" (Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise)
@sushipyjamas: "All the women will have wings" (Nights at the Circus)
@SeanMElliott: "The rat taking a piss in my coffee mug" (Warren Ellis, Crooked Little Vein)
@pinknantucket: "'Ten seconds, please God,' I whispered" (Wilbur Smith, Eye of the Tiger)
@scooter_lass: "the landscape is in the woman" (De Kooning exhibition)
Always a joy to have to work a rat taking a piss into a poem. Thanks Sean.