Poetry: Pillow Book ii

This is the second piece I’ve written inspired by The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. In this case it’s actually more inspired by the Peter Greenaway movie of the same name.


You lie there

silent, blank canvas

just the hiss of air escaping

the difference between

present and past

I turn pages

of your once-favourite books

softly, almost reverent

coupland, kesey, conrad

they decorate this

impersonal space

with adjective sketches

they let us float above

in the world as it was

I place the pillow book down

its hard cover eases into the plush chair

settles in as a bird to its nest


the brush waltzes over skin


strokes in stone ground ink

so very black against you

nearly lifeless pale

it traces words like the

meaning of a garden

the ink runs meaningless

in your geometry

now your vacant body

is covered with meaning

I embrace the staccato

the faded strokes

this last dance we share

this final chapter

played out in flesh and pigment


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