When you were five
And I was six,
We would hold hands
Just like this.
When you were nine
And I was ten,
We made a pact
To never tell, and then:
You began to tell me every word
That escaped from your lips, with cold secret stares.
A look or a glance through long
Fingertips. Your beautiful face.
I see you sitting by the stair, your body
Tight in hot sun, a sad lamb
On stage. And when I have passed you
Flushed red raw, I want to remember
How young we were.
Splayed out across the pitch
Like baby starfish, pink and pinched
As tongue's blood.
Our father and mother are in silent reverie,
With knotted wrists and electric hair,
Nodding and clapping, as dumb waiters do
To our games. When we are together we are together.
Today we are family as the ill
Walk in lines, with shaken smiles that marry us.
Mother, to me you are a figure of fun.
Father, you are a child when you wake up each morning.
The poison drips steadily into my skull.
Lice are feeding. They are carnivorous.
She is biting away at my life.
I am merely a husk.
She watches me lie awake at night.
She lives in me, breathing,
Locking my heart away in a chamber
Where nothing moves.
Where the air freezes to ice.
I wait for a sound.
There is no end.
I remember the beginning: a death.
We are white with exhaustion at what this thing is.
It is the last night of our lives.
Tomorrow I’ll be gone.
She is alive. Look:
It is beginning to hatch.
But it is dark. So dark.
I can barely see my own reflection in the mirror.
There is just some stranger.
We try to catch the pieces of me
Before they shatter forever.
Misted snow drifts over the remains.
Madeline loves it
And sits as Mother would.
The priest is like her Father
Dressed all in grey,
Palms fluttering with
Legs and arms spinning anti-clockwise
Like the priest's eyes slide
From side to side.
We are his for an hour
But he cannot touch us,
For we are jewels to be watched,
And, one day taken.
Nobody has ever held his hand
But Grandmother, with rings like
Little girl's warnings.
This is my house of God,
Rain thundering as
Their faces are taught and chilled with frost.
He is the bee of androgyny
Thrusting candelabras as tusks.
This drone of activity,
It is all too much for me.
Faces dumb as naked dolls.
He strips them, licking them with stars
Like potential girlfriends
Or meats to be weighed.
Crow Hollow 19
The artist's space.
Murder Four, Spring 2017
About the poems: I usually work with pen and paper and write countless drafts before deciding upon a final version.Sylvia Plath’s poetry and life story have been a great source of inspiration to my writing process, particularly in my teenage years when I first discovered her work, whilst Louise Gluck is a more recent source of creativity for my writing.
‘The Murmurings’ intends to create a dangerous image of a threat living within the body, which the reader could determine as being a physical entity or even a psychiatric illness making the nameless character’s existence “dark. So dark.” I try to employ a lot of symbolic imagery in my poems, particularly ‘Sunday School’. In the poem, I compare the “paper clowns” with “legs and arms spinning anti-clockwise” to the Priest’s eyes which “slide from side to side” to give the Priest an air of suspicion in relation to his young “potential girlfriends” who are “his for an hour” in his Sunday School class.