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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Roz Kaveney's LiveJournal:

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    Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
    1:11 am
    Slightly different
    POSTERITY

    Scratched free from palimpsest cocoon with shard
    a half-blind scholar-nun retrieves a line.
    Thinks book-dust breathless that it might be mine
    and smuggles her transcription past a guard

    wadded inside her cheek. Brand on her face
    they caught her once already. Lyric verse
    her weakness. In chapel vesper sisters will rehearse
    motets setting my words save they replace

    your name with god's. They've banned verse that's profane
    Burn it like Sappho. Bind with iron locks/
    Most scholars think that I was orthodox
    and talked of grace not lust. The nun has lain

    with secret sisters, dares to speculate
    my poems like her, godless, degenerate
    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
    12:16 pm
    Perhaps a piece of closure
    TINDER

    I also know my muse will go away
    to lovers, young and lithe, well-groomed and hot
    who want to fuck. Which really I do not,
    nor put my naked body on display,
    its creases and its sags, its whitened scars,
    my guts too near the surface and my bones
    too far beneath my fat. A knee that moans
    and clicks when I exert it. Sat in bars
    and being charming, I can hold their eyes
    upon my dancing lips and witty tongue.
    They're easily distracted because young
    and sometimes stroke my arms or upper thighs
    which is enough. My poems, wit and charm
    don't get me laid. But keep my passion warm.

    That otherwise would cool. My aching heart
    would stutter into age. I make my art
    from broken twigs of hope, and dried out flowers
    spring left on my chaste pillow, or between
    books' uncut pages. Half-thought lines I mean
    to use one day, but stare at for six hours.
    I stack these on my desk. Piles that grow higher
    More and more useless clutter in my head,
    dust, fluff and crumbled leaves, ochre and red.
    These never come to life except as fire.
    But sparks will come. Affection or disdain
    my muse will bring me. It all ends the same
    She brings my store of words the gift of flame.
    She strikes my heart to joy, or lust, or pain.
    Monday, July 28th, 2014
    11:29 pm
    I wasn't expecting this one
    DENTAL

    I feel the bite of my own tooth. I squeal
    waking from dreams in pain. The dream will fade;
    the tooth will throb inside my gum, degrade
    my thoughts of love and honour -which are real

    and what I want to write about – to this
    a constant gentle agony. I wake
    to dawn and piercing. When I fall and break
    actual bone it hurts less. I can't kiss

    or think of kissing which is just as well.
    Love is a trouble never goes away.
    This bruised sharp bud will go to sleep one day
    for some years more. An anaesthetic gel

    may calm its painful wisdom, which I've earned.
    It's not just my own fingers that I burned.
    Monday, July 21st, 2014
    12:24 am
    Somehow poems come for me in threes
    PUZZLE

    All lovers set us riddles, leave us clues,
    threads that we follow deep into a maze
    then strand us in their heart. Where letters blaze
    firescripts we cannot read. We always lose

    these contests. Sometimes we might lose our head.
    Old lovers watch from spikes, blind bird-pecked eyes.
    Perhaps they told wrong truths, perhaps weak lies.
    I'll never know just what it was I said.

    Her anger firing poison from red cheeks
    that stings and puzzles me, leaves me confused
    for moments later on my lips, left bruised,
    her kiss. I'd hoped intrigued for that nine weeks.

    Love ends in torment, then revives each day.
    The sweet pain's passed, and never goes away.
    12:01 am
    And a poem that isn't really about opera
    DUET

    Passion and sentiment. Up on the stage
    these rival queens contending for my heart
    voices swoop down at prey. They stop and start
    music has pauses, even when in rage

    it pierces dagger-like. It is control
    even when feigning frenzy. Both near mad
    one sulky virtue, one drawn close to bad.
    They weave around each other. As a foal

    will almost totter, learn its way, then stand
    up straight and tall. Music between the notes
    as beautiful as what comes from their throats
    the thing never quite heard we understand

    harmonious from rivalry. It seems
    a moment there, then lost, then heard in dreams
    Sunday, July 20th, 2014
    11:34 pm
    This came out of a conversation on Twitter
    MOONSTONE

    Hearts meet and part. Worn by the constant flow,
    waves friction, weakness shows up in the grain
    each bruise, each contact, momentary pain,
    lasting depressions that will slowly grow

    and tiny irritations lodge within
    and rub against each other in their turn.
    Tides rise and fall, ebb peak. A chinese burn
    twisting and turning, slowly leaving skin

    stinging with pleasure-pain. At last a hole
    so neatly circular as if a drill
    had made it. And the hurt will never kill
    but leave its mark forever in my soul

    You thread me where you hurt me, and will wear
    my heart and others round neck, in your hair.
    Monday, July 14th, 2014
    12:38 am
    DANCE
    We dance our little deaths. We press our lips
    to any flesh comes near. Our hair, our sweat,
    trailing like jewelled wire. Words we forget.
    Our language is the grinding of our hips

    against another's thighs. A smile, a glance,
    a wink, a tear, a lick, our common tongue.
    We'll change our partners before very long
    perhaps we have no lover save the dance

    it's gone past two, the moon the stars are high
    light dazzles and I blink. She disappears
    and I don't care, and dance. Perhaps it's years
    perhaps it's moments. Darling, you and I,

    dance lonely nights on this and other floors.
    You'll never be my true love, nor I yours.
    12:13 am
    SEMIRAMIS
    I wore no diadem except my hair
    no armour save my beauty. In my hand
    my husband's sword, no sceptre. In this land
    for forty years I ruled. Then gave my heir

    The Indus, the Euphrates and the Nile
    to the third cataract. Forged elephants
    from iron and from ivory. Great ants
    brought gold in tribute. Not a crocodile

    could eat a fish, nor kestrel take a mouse,
    without my knowledge. Built the water gates
    of Babylon. Stored corn, and oil, and dates
    in the great cellars underneath my house

    to feed my poor. I died and went to dust
    Queen's glory gone. Now symbol of mere lust.
    Sunday, July 13th, 2014
    11:49 pm
    FOR C
    Too moving picture perfect to be real
    after the screening's over. Kiss in rain
    under umbrella. Hug, then kiss again.
    Some passers-by applaud. We almost feel

    emotions to go with the dripping scene.
    Hold hands and giggle knowingly. Then take
    black coffee and a sticky chocolate cake
    with sprinkles. As if we are both sixteen.

    Remember.When reality asserts
    over the next few hours. Delight and charm
    were real. Her lips just slightly dry. Her arm
    firm on my waist. Hours later, parting hurts

    Not much. When next I see her, we are friends;
    Best romances are short and have clear ends.
    11:39 pm
    ARACHNE
    My wheel and loom are smashed. The goddess tore
    my tapestries to shreds and threads. My eyes
    kaleidoscopes. The room a different size.
    I cannot see the colours any more

    that once I wove. My webs are line and curve
    abstracted thoughts turned in that trap and seize.
    My love kissed mouth turned mandibles. With these
    I sting and rend. No more than I deserve

    Some poet said for boasting. Mile by mile
    from aching gut I spin a silken rope
    to trap not flies but gods. It is my hope
    to see them limed like little birds. I'll smile.

    Sated as when I fuck, then kill, a mate,
    then snip their heads off, neater than a Fate.
    Thursday, July 10th, 2014
    12:56 pm
    First for a while
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER SIX OF INDISCRETIONS

    I talk too much. And sometimes it annoys.
    I talk quite indiscreetly to a crowd
    of things said soft, in bed, not quite aloud.
    It was the same when I went out with boys

    I wanted to acknowledge, hold my hand
    in public. I rush love that should be slow
    and easy. Where there's nuance, want to know
    in crisp clear terms. The need to understand

    what's growing changing is this poet's flaw.
    To take each single moment that's occurred
    between us, try to find the perfect word
    for kiss or touch, the one that makes it more,

    eternal. Lovers, poets, share lust's greed.
    We shriek humiliatingly sheer need.
    Monday, June 16th, 2014
    9:53 am
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER FIVE OF DESIRE

    Some of us take love lightly: some do not.
    Kindness resolves this. Softens. In the head
    A kiss is as important as in bed
    To writhe and twine. Though maybe not as hot.

    Love is a yearning. Or an hour we share.
    Swift parting kiss on naked shoulder blade.
    It's not a guarantee that you'll get laid.
    Delight and torture. Often quite unfair.

    It is about them. Never about you.
    Their choices always. Never your desire.
    It is a pitch that tunes up higher and higher
    Your fingers turn it tight. The only screw

    You'll ever get. Exquisite pain her kiss.
    There is no evening with her that you'd miss.
    Thursday, June 12th, 2014
    12:29 am
    Another of this series
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER FOUR OF JOY

    Pain left. I noticed later. Moved my head
    and did not wince. The denim of my sleeve
    scratched pleasantly as I got up to leave
    the bus. The shade of very vivid red

    caught my attention like a major chord
    as it drove off. Warm air plucked at my skin
    tickled a bit. I couldn't help but grin.
    All colours grew so bright. Felt I had ignored

    this jewelled city. Everyone I saw
    was beautiful and chic, with well-groomed hair
    tossed in espresso-scented breeze. So fair
    evenings of early summer. When we soar

    up into warmth, float down, do not retain
    moments of spark, secretions in my brain.
    Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
    12:23 am
    And again
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER THREE OF SICKNESS

    You wake. Things hurt. You're dizzy. Twice you fall
    between the bedroom and the loo. You're sick.
    There's blood. Your throat feels acid-burned. The trick
    Is somehow to stay conscious as you crawl

    back into bed and try to use the phone
    and get a taxi or an ambulance. The ache
    is everywhere, like bone crack. Try to take
    some ibuprofen. You're not on your own.

    She wakes up and takes charge. Opens the door,
    gets you downstairs. You pass out. On the ward,
    a morphine drip; without the pain, you're bored
    And drift, She holds your hand. There's not much more

    This time you live, it happens. Later, not.
    Remember, life is short, your lover's hot.
    Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
    12:18 am
    Another
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER TWO - OF MANNERS

    We fucked, and now I quite forget her name;
    she bit my cheek, her hands upon my throat,
    until I stopped her. She put on her coat
    next morning, looked expectant. Didn't blame

    her pout and sigh but wouldn't kiss her cheek.
    I don't encourage women who persist,
    with things I've asked them not to. Slap their wrist
    quite gently first time. If my face goes bleak

    as winter morning, you have gone too far.
    I'm not unreasonable, but have my rules.
    Have sex with strangers once, but not with fools
    a second time. I blew him in a car

    that pig. Swore any dumb thing I do once
    I don't do twice, however sweet their cunts.
    Friday, June 6th, 2014
    12:30 am
    A new sequence?
    DIDACTIC POEM NUMBER ONE

    Be mindful of your friends, for life is short.
    When people die, things will remain unsaid
    and even what you meant to say will fade
    unless you wrote it down. When it is caught

    in words your love is real. Love all your friends
    You might not have them long. They'll move away
    or marry someone awful, start to pray.
    Value each day you spend – for friendship ends

    in death or quarrel, distance or distaste
    - that tuneless whistle when they're trying to think.
    And some will fall off walls or die of drink.
    Forgive them all. Those hours were not a waste

    It is your friends that weave you, hold the thread
    of memory, and keep you when you're dead.
    Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
    12:57 am
    Another
    DIVERSION

    So many, tall and blonde, who are not her.
    Cheekbones as sharp, legs longer, lips as full.
    Who never find my conversation dull
    Amazingly. Wise women might prefer

    These pleasant evenings, not involving pain,
    these light flirtations going nowhere slow
    to games of chess whose rules I do not know
    save she might move to hug me once again

    or stroke my hand. Tall blondes might do as much.
    Mean little less. They're not part of the game.
    One day she'll pause and smile, hearing my name.
    I sometimes think I'll die feeling her touch.

    The nights I see her – well, they're as they are.
    Safe evenings with tall blondes will leave no scar
    Friday, May 30th, 2014
    12:47 am
    It's been a while
    DRY

    It should not matter. I have chosen this.
    Ask nothing that I may not be refused.
    Never feel pain, but rather be amused
    to see love pass in moments, kiss to kiss,

    lover to lover. I sit, watch her dance
    She touches me in passing on the cheek
    Inside was dry but floods, for half a week
    eyes, feet half recall steps of past romance,

    tears grow this seed. I see heart surface crack
    along the lines of age. These verses flower
    in bronze. Love's the bright paper of an hour
    that tears and blows away will not come back

    except as echo. I would lose her young.
    Old I can hold and touch her with my song.
    Monday, April 28th, 2014
    2:56 pm
    Not nice, but what I meant to say
    UNLOVELY

    Lust claws me hollow. Hunger is desire
    is need for bite scratch kiss. My skin stretched sore
    with unborn things unuttered. Cunt's a door
    rage batters from inside. I never tire

    though ache in every limb so unfulfilled.
    I like to think I love, believe I do.
    Yet yearn for touch that fits as foot in shoe
    with toes that wiggle. When my heart is stilled

    then ends sweet torment but for now the rack
    I wind and suffer, bone creak sinews torn
    pain is my last best fuck. The skin is worn
    to tatters where I writhe upon my back

    Crone out of nightmare, pants and sweats for hours.
    Unsatisfied unlovely fierce. Devours.
    9:49 am
    Sabrina Chap asked how theatre is like life
    THEATRE

    Each day we think ourselves into a part
    remember lines we know we'll say again
    but get the reading better. We are vain
    looking in mirrors, painting on our heart

    the lines that make us lovelier than true.
    Eyes are the heart's outlying viceroys
    painted they talk in shadows that are noise.
    And we add lashes, stick them on with glue.

    The mirrors magnify. We grow in size
    in our own minds and go out on a stage
    love becomes Lover, anger becomes Rage.
    A different rule of consequence applies

    and then we hear applause. Smooth on cold cream
    wipe wake. Is life or theatre the dream?
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