Deathmask

Perhaps unsurprisingly given that this piece was sort of inspired by the movie ‘Mishima’, the line ‘this decaying angel’ is based on the title of one of Yukio Mishima’s books as its usually translated into English ‘The Decay of the Angel’.

 

When Egypt buried kings
,Pharaohs, they called them,
(dwellers in the great house
of the body
)
they crafted death masks
unearthly beauty
they could wear over the fabric
and decay
:to show the Gods how perfectly
to craft replacements
like Mishima
I will try to carve my body
from the death mask
this decaying angel
mould brass muscle
over disobedient flesh
burn and file
the excess of years
the failure on failure built
recast pose and sweat
in supple forge
i will polish the skin with whetstones
smooth as the mask
smooth as marble
bleak and lifeless
lead painted face

Olivia

Something old, refined.

When one lives in a city brimming with one’s past, there is always the risk of bumping into it on the street, or on the bus. This was such an incident. Mellow gold is the title of a Beck song, and the new life mentioned is in fact a textbook on Dante’s Vita Nuova.

 

You burst through the past
A thrown flint, sharp, colliding
It smells like burning rubber when
You screech to a halt
From eighty-eight miles per hour
The flower blooms in the windscreen
I wonder why the
Crowd that edges the frame
Of the photograph [you are foreground and I background]
Why do they not see me in shining shards
In such fragment of the time
Between stop light and pedal

The reflections glitter on falling petals of glass, rebound photons
At random
Project old times
We skipped school on that last day
Kicked a ball over the sunless May beach
Each stop or miss punctuated with a quip
The pages of our movie script
Pinned down by textbooks
Trapped beneath A New Life, beneath Morphology
That first scene followed a bird
As it became litter
Became a lovers’ quarrel
Became your phone
Ringing searching echo
For you up the narrow stairs
Once you returned the favour
We sat on guard for thirteen seconds of silence
The closest I came to that mellow gold
All summer
Seemed to drag on in hard dirt and furious glare forever
Once I thought it was you at the door
I tripped down plastic-covered steps
A Coen tumbleweed
Not fast enough
Outside the bitter pollen rained and choked
Dry summer storms
The footprint on that old rent cheque
Turned out to be my own

I realize I held my breath through the brief sting of memory
The music fades in
But I cannot turn around
Put up my hood and walk away
What is lost
Must stay lost

 

Libretto

I wrote this after seeing Leonard Cohen in concert, which was sometime in 2011 I think. His voice seemed so frail, it made me rather sad. The reference to the golden voice is from his song ‘Tower of Song’

 

Sit with me and my sweet libretto
I will tell you
Under columns of light
In my golden voice
One by one
These are all the girls I have lost
Their names on scraps of paper
I snared them with music
And broke them with words
Like barbs
Like arrows
And how I hated them
For being beautiful
I never shouted
(Except in Greek)
For fear that I might ruin
That golden voice
Is
Now all stone
The girls are all gone
Only the words are left
Like barbs
Like arrows
Pointing nowhere