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John had a horse,
Her name I can't recall.
She'd weave but nothing ailed,
something not right with her.
The whites of her eyes
flashing all the time.
Like those cd's strung out
to ward off the sparrows.
She'd take a mint from you
then drop it in the straw.
She knocked him down once
whilst he tacked her up.
Then turned back to her haynet
as if she'd just broken wind,
instead of Johns ribs.
She could only be shod
if the weather was fine.
Father said she needed
taking out behind barn.
He called her Chappie.
Flat backed and dead mouthed,
Tendency to *****.
You couldn't get her in a trailer
without a board and whip
and plenty of hands.
She wasn't afraid
just backward in her ways.
She'd stand for the farrier?
If the sun shined
like I say,
No trouble at all.
Ex race horse John claimed
but who knows.
Aren't they all?
Mother made him ring
up to the house
if he was tacking her out.
She feared she'd throw him
Leave the old **** for dead.
She was head shy and I think
John did it to her.
I never saw him raise a hand
but he knew the bottom
of plenty of bottles.
Hid 'em in a welly boot.
Imagine getting up on that beast
when your too drunk
to find your ****?
The pair of them.
She never gave me pause
but I was small then.
They know, don't they?
Work in progress
I won't look too long at the Hell fire tiles
(daguerrotype-ing candlelight, porcelain condensing)
Lest I go mad.

I ask the ball chain snaking down
"Where are you going now?"
No reply.

I conjur cat-fish whiskers
and the water amplifies the signal.
There you are elbows to knees.
Hellfire clinging to the cut glass you raise,
your hands just how I imagine them.
Just like the real thing.
You never look up

Lest I go mad.
The way women in visions draw baths
Perched with ball and claw feet.
Water running green.
A few twists with the left and straight down.
Then just how ferns render in 2D
the bottom left comes umber.
I never interupt her here but I should.
That green water rolling endlessly
making me anxious for it to be done.
I hum those first few bars for courage.
Her stare meets mine and I blush.
A circus tent pink red for more imodesty.
Inside a yellow woman and a green man.
I push around
Purple anther, white, brown, blue.
I can't tell you how,
Wooden like a dutch clog
but recogniseably
A tulip.
Fitting really,
The vision ends here I'm afraid.
They are never finished
those paintings hung in mind.
Can I hear diners through the wall?
Is that where you were taking me?
A buckle tinkles in free fall.
Denim moves against my cheek,
We Escher down and down
All of you in both places now.
The dark corners laminar noun
washing you into solid form.
I clamour to steer but it's false.
The first one comes around-
Biting and checking for pulse
Wet metallic flash and shame,
barrell roll and again, deeper
it is exquisite all the same.
The night falls out of you and back
into the corners different now.
You linger though you've never been
a field for want of distant plough.
Pied wagtails dance in pairs,
Never the same as it winds up
but as before when it's all done.
A cat basks in a sun spot to sleep,
Spring furloughed at the window
I imagine how flies die this way.
Trapped by the privacy nets
spying on the neighbours.
Herd animals fear separation
more than they fear death.

The shepherd calls for calm
because panic taints the flesh.
Waltzing through roped sections,
Fleurs de lis dancing in luxury Axminster.
I'm bare foot (no black shoes).
I can feel pearls warmed by my skin
the ***** barrel clasp already caught
my hair longer, the curtains drawn.

The heat of flood lights wafting door
Upstage left blinking open and closed.
An eye in this dark room regarding
Apron large enough to cater in parts,
or as a whole to Descartes, Luther, Walther
(I trip over the Latin, even in dreams
My tongue fat and regretfully English).
Who else has sat before your stage?
Me - up nights waiting for the lights to dim.
Your understudy tenderly exploring
High german, cheap shock value,
the God ****** quantity of it all.

The minutes on the wall wrong
as the aisle lights and fire exit signs
flash on but you never come onstage.

That door swings wide eyed.
I watch you bent at a table?
A light biting out your silhouettes.
A skull sits proscenium.

Your hands shucking oysters
Pearls slip the same way the knife slips.

The clock reads different again
Still we sit and watch you repeat
the task but you never bleed.
Too deft with that blade
(You know what they say about a death
in the first).
The stage lights distance you from me
My throat itches for liqueur.
I cannot seem to look away so I close my eyes
the lights go out.

I find myself alone in bed,  oddly sober.
Willing the dark to turn me over
so I can dream some more of
the Cartesian theatre.
I wait on that curtain the way lovers wait.
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