Internal Enemies

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7 WAKING POEMS  10

HAVING NOT…  12

ELEMENTAL (for Jacob EpstEIn) 17

BLACKOUTS  18

TORSO (for Jiri Kylian) 22

FAMINE  7

PRISONER OF WAR  9

WOUND  23

MIMIC  24

LOOK BUT  25

THE UNWELCOME RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON   26

PARTISAN   28

 

SMALL SUICIDES   29

GUILT  29

 

 

 

 

A DREAM   33

RED ON CRIMSON (for Mark Rothko) 34

A CHAIR  36

SONG OF THE MINERS TO THE LABOUR LEADERS (1983) 38

TWO EPITAPHS  40


 

7 WAKING POEMS

 

1)

 

I

am still

on the periphery

the grip

is still

weak

 

2)

 

To frac

ture sound

from stone

 

tone the bell

 

and down the day

go

 

3)

 

Rising

and falling

we are

rising and

falling

two

spent sock

eye Salmon

we are

waiting

and fighting

 

4)

                  

                                                                ...between lust and terror I cling to the bed sheets

                                                                wet with the night's sweat staring up goggle eyed at the

eyecrashing ceiling loving your complexion so early this morning...

 

5)

 

Where water leaks

an orange rime

a crusty border

'round

dirty grey

 

6)

 

Will the shadow follow me from sleep

to wake

 

will it ride

will it hide

will it come

will it spring

 

It will be in each and every object

 

It may

It will

 

 

7)

 

In this room full of books

underwear

 

and next door scratching up

to the walls

 

Archie Shepp bounces

 

from free daylight

*

 

BRIDGE THAT GAP

 

*

 

 

 

HAVING NOT…

 

                                                                                        Having not

                                                                                                        slept my mind

                                                                                                        wanders freely

 

                                                                                        though at low

                                                                                                        ebb lapping at

                                                                                                        the beach eroding

                                                                                        nothing

                                                                                                        depositing

                                                                                        silt   

                                                                                                        black oil

                                                                                        condoms   

                                                                                                        money

 

                                                                                        I can't get it

                                                                                        I can't

                                                                                                        make it

                                                                                        I think a lot

                                                                                        in all sorts

                                                                                                        of angles

                                                                                        down and out

                                                                                        wards but

                                                                                        nothing     

                                                                                        takes hold

                                       

                                                                                                but

                                                                                                        floating

                                                                                        in the wind

                                                                                                        Dandelion

                                                                                        parachutes

                                                                                                        some fall

                                                                                        on stony

                                                                                                        ground some

                                                                                        fall on

                                                                                                        plastic

                                                                                        some

                                                                                                        fall

over

                                       

                                                                                        the edge

                                                                                        is near

 

                                                                                        the edge

                                       

                                                                                        is

near

 

                                                                                        the edge

                                                                                        is

                                                                                        in some

                                                                                        in some ways

                                       

                                                                                                        insane

                                       

                                                                                        in some ways in

                                               

                                                                                                        sane

 

                                                                                        the black

                                                                                        oil on the edge

                                                                                        of the sand

                                                                                                        sticky

                                                                                                        smelly

                                                                                                        shitty

                                                                                        sand

 

                                                                                        and

                                                                                                        almost

                                                                                        but

                                                                                        not quite  

                                                                                        here I want

                                                                                        to

                                                                                        right

                                                                                                        at this point

                                                                                        in time

                                                                                                        I want     

                                                                                        to write    

                                                                                                        BEAUTIFUL

                                                                                        things

                                                                                                        I

 

want to wash away the nausea of the hours

to go out into the hushed morning       

air to breath cool emptiness after

the nightlong                     

       

                                                                                        grind

 

                                                                                        (is cynicism the

                                                                                        only response left

                                                                                        to me,      

                                                                                        the tired

                                                                                        tarnished

                                                                                        wit

                                                                                        of a

post punk

                                                                                        post life

                                                                                        poet?)

 

                                                                                        PRAT!

 

                                                                                        My nerves a

                                                                                        jar my hair un

                                                                                        kempt I try to

                                                                                        get a grip on

                                                                                        myself

                                                                                        I try

                                                                                        to straighten

                                                                                        loose ends to

                                                                                        tuck them

 in

                                                                                        to face

a day's

                                                                                        work to

 

                                                                                                        make

                                                                                                        money

 

                                                                                        Having no

                                                                                        Bacon I pour

                                                                                        milk and sugar

                                                                                        on

                                                                                        a host of golden

 

                                                                                        Corn

                                                                                        Flakes.

 

 


ELEMENTAL (for Jacob Epstein)

 

An Embryo

curled

like a new leaf

Fern

 

Tucked

tight as night

light-shiny

stone

 

A marble lamp

shade skin

stretched

knuckle-white

 

An ear

a shell

a half cone

note

 


BLACKOUTS

 

1)

 

1 step

2 step

3 step

4

 

no more

or pass

out

 

 

2)

ring a ring

ring a ring

ring a ring

 

fall over

 

 

3)

 

I am here

I am there

 

I am here

I am there

 

I can't touch

the

in

side

 

 

4)

 

                                                                                Lombardy Poplars

                                                                                lined                    

                                                                                the path               an anchor

   for memories

 

 

                                                                                Scot's

                                                                                Pine bark

                                                                                resinous

                                                                                wine red              searching for

                                                                                                          the North Star         

 

 

5)

 

Walk

to the border

 

You will miss it

 

Keep walking

 

Keep missing

 

 

6)

 

I couldn't say

I couldn't say

I couldn't say

 

any thing

 

my tongue

my tongue thick

 

with death

with death

                                       

with beauty

with beauty

 

with power

with power

 

with words

 

                

7)

 

talk quick

don't catch

your breath

catch....

 

don't

catch words

catch whispers

don't catch whispers

catch...

                  

don't catch

breath

 

 

8)

 

I touch

touch nothing

 

nothing to touch

but past

 

which isn't

 

I touch

touch the table

 

touch thigh

touch belly

touch nothing but

 

distance

 

look across it

breath it

smell it

cross it

 

nothing

will

fill it

 


TORSO (for Jiri Kylian)

 

                                                                                I have no arms  to hold you with

                                                                                no tongue          to speak

                                                                                no eyes               to see

 

                                                                                My life

                                                                                is cut in two

                                                                                by Railway lines

                                                                                one half

                                                                                held

                                                                                in a handful of photo's

                                                                                one half

                                                                                uprooted

 

                                                                                My feet           touch the earth

                                                                                but do not        take hold

                                                                                I am                going nowhere

                                                                                I am                simply going

 

                                                                                Truncated

                                                                                in motion

                                                                                wrenched

                                                                                from rich brown soil

                                                                                with both hands

 

                                                                                Playing                blind man's buff

                                                                                Here in               no man's land

 

 

 

 

FAMINE

 

Time

congeals

like

drying blood

 

sinking in

to the starved

swollen

mass

of my

self

 

the Black

hole

 

throttling

light

from

the sin

less

sky.

 

Heavy

with Famine

my bones

bend and snap

       

as my belly

pregnant

with nothing

heaves,

 

my mouth

opening to retch

bitter

senseless

words

 

that fall back

on themselves

 

flopping

fish

in a shrinking

pool.

 

Every

thing

sucked in

stays.

 

Flies

seduced

by the stench

of decaying dreams

dance and buzz

'round my eyes.

 

Empty circles.

 


PRISONER OF WAR

 

If I

if I wake

tomorrow

if

I can open

punchblind

eyes

and stretch twisted

limbs bent back

like fingers

 

(if I could stretch and not touch concrete)

 

if I wake tomorrow

if

I wake tomorrow

I will

not worry

about

whiptorn shoulders

I will not

worry

about cigarette burns

on my balls

 

I will not worry

about the present

 

 

 

 

WOUND

 

I want to be open to myself.

To open myself up

 

like an Aztec sacrifice

on a Man made mountain top

 

when I cut

I will cut deep

 

 enough to expose

the wound already within

 

to the smoking mirror.

 

 


MIMIC

 

I shouldn't have seen you again

I shouldn't have seen you

again

I shouldn't have

seen you again

 

My eyes said it all

and though I kept my tongue pressed

to the roof of my mouth

you heard me clearly

 

Why didn't you do anything?

You just

smiled

and talked

(as my eyes burned into you)

like a friend

(as I paraded in your clothes)

Couldn't you see that I wanted to be with you?

 

forever

to become you

to be

you

 

but you said goodbye

and I never saw you again

 

 


LOOK BUT

 

don't touch

I'll explode

I'm fragile as the glass inside a thermos

don't stand too close

you don't know

where I've been

or what I've done

 

Think of me

but don't keep me there

Don't look at me

in your radiance.

 


THE UNWELCOME RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON

 

They thought I was dead

so I became dead

for them

they thought I fell

into the sea

but no,

it was a leprosy

 

Oh, how I rotted for them.

My flesh grew numb at first

no feeling

no thirst

smelling putrid

obscene

pale

for want of blood.

Dis

coloured

sickly green

 

While I was dead

they dug a grave

and placed a heavy stone

on top.

To keep me safe.

Built high walls around.

To keep me

Safe.

Dogs sniffing and howling

around the grounds

 

It took me years to dig my way out,

fingernails chipped and dirty

my flesh falling from my bones

I came home

to be told

"you are something rotten and disgusting!"

 

and chased back to my grave

with the dogs at my heels.

 

 


PARTISAN

 

The point is not to describe the world

but change it

A poem does not reflect the world

but shapes it

becoming more real

than a mirror

image

 

Meaning is not found

but forged

in the struggle

to make bread

from earth

houses

from silence

 

When the world falls

words fail.

To re-forge meaning

means

to re-create

the world

 

To take the world as given

is to take a position

to take the word as given

is to take sides against us

All that makes

sense

is

revolution

 

 

 

SMALL SUICIDES

 

1)

 

Suicide

is a small child

I take

to my bed

to hold

 

 

2)

 

In my

tummy

is a

not

 

3)

 

This knife

is the friend

I can’t

push away

 

 

 

GUILT

 

You

you

made me

pregnant.

Occupying

my womb

with this tight

knot

of flesh,

tight

as a knife

twisting and turning

squirming

in my belly

pit.

 

And I'm full

and I'm empty

and I'm full

and I'm empty.

Empty of me

full of you.

 

Stronger

she

she

swells

stronger.

Nourished

by black blood

and semen,

each breath

torn

from my

poor pink

lungs

screaming

no room

no room

in this house.

 

Will you break

down

my ribwalls

to claw

your way

out

or will

a volcano

of bruised flesh

erupt

between

my legs

 

my meat locker

 

my larder

 

*

 

here you come

my Cannibal kid.

 

head first

mouth first

open wide

I won't bite

the cord

we'll never

part

but

you've your own life

 

it's mine

 

and I hold

and I hold

you

you have my eyes

my mother's

eyes.

 

 


A DREAM

 

This is a dream.

 

The sky is black

The trees are silhouettes

There is no shade other than constant grey.

Something is coming down from the sky.

There is something menacing up there.

Up there

 

 

This is a dream.

 

I look out of my window,

then I'm out in the open,

out on the ground.

I'm staring up at the sky, trying to look away

but drawn to the dark shapes.

Dark shapes.

 

 

This is a dream.

 

I'm trapped by what I see.

I feel caught up in hands, panicky,

unable to fight back.

WHY WON'T SOMEBODY HELP ME?

I try to run but I just break things.

Just destroy.

 


RED ON CRIMSON (for Mark Rothko)

 

I sat

at the Tate

in your room

in the centre.

 

Face to face.

With your birth

the gateway

the rythmn

pulsating in

one red scream

pulled through and

slapped out

of the dream.

 

Face to face

with your life

your struggle

to paint the

counterpoint

of colour the

jagged edges

of existence

the raw torn

red eyed Am

erican sublime

 

Face to face

with your lust

the blood heat of

fucking the

burst of

orgasm

the head

long forever

finding selfhood

in self lost.

 

Face to face.

Depression

set in the

death of friends

loss of hope

and the horror

of containment

the stubbed out

aspirations

the bludgeoning

crimson.

 

Face to face

with your death.

Suicide

the day these

paintings arrived

your blood

staining sheets

of canvas

that intensity of red

your life's work

darkening

in rough edged

rectangles.

 


A CHAIR

 

Frayed edges of leather

spill over

the front

 

Slicing into creamy cotton fluff

A cushion with

a gash in it

 

A blue Cardigan casually

draped over

 

Slats between the legs

 

Smells of warm and brown and

paint

splashes

on

 

Twice knotted string tied

to a leg

 

Cramped and squared

in a rush of wood

 

Pushing downwards...

 

*

 

...in angles

the stout sweep of back

pressing against

the flat plateau of seat

breaking

momentum

while

it

rallies mass

and continues

with renewed force

to insist upon its necessity

as legs concentrate weight

into four thin pressure points

digging into the rug.

 


SONG OF THE MINERS TO THE LABOUR LEADERS (1983)

 

When our villages were occupied by Police

and we were held under

curfew

you said we must obey the law

while our doors were smashed

down with crow bars

and our families

terrorised

you said we must obey

 

the law while our pickets were held

in scorn by Scabs

herded

through the pit gates

you said we must

"obey the majority"

as they demolished our houses.

 

And when we fought back

you accused US of violence

while our friends were

murdered

by Police

and Scabs

you said we should

"use peaceful persuasion"

while our livelihoods were

 

destroyed to save the bosses profits

 

YOU STOOD WITH THEM - NOT WITH US

 

By THIS you will be remembered.

 

 


TWO EPITAPHS

 

1)

 

They said that

they were

our friends.

 

But they spoke

only

with our enemies.

 

 

2)

 

They offered you peace

when you were in crisis.

They asked for your help

when they should have asked us.

 

When you were troubled

they ran to your side - not to ours.

When you tried to crush us

they accused US of violence.

 

In life you always lay together.

Rest in peace

together

 

 

 

 

 Stephen Wey

Copyright Stephen Wey 2005 - Posting excerpts strictly forbidden without permission of the author

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