The Only Immortality You And I May Share

 
There came the time

I had

to retrieve my eyes from your eyes,

to check my tongue out of your throat,

untwine my fingers from your own

that fist-like fought the withdrawal

without breaking the nails, without breaking

a bone, without

– even –

slicing a nerve.
 
 
You

no longer owe me the destination

of your steps, the location of your

absence, the timetables of your thinking.
 
 
I

no longer awe you.
 
 
I cashed out my life from the bank of you

for no reason other than life,

it is long and it must be stood. I stand it

in my mini-might, I fight

it with my dwindled strength, my bare knuckles

and my patience, and I

stand it

– maybe? – just fine,
 
 
every other time.
 
 
I had some nerve and felt the nerves

of one who skipped the rehearsals, who

stumbled on stage bound and blind, mumbled

dark spells from a sad script

fished out of the slush pile.
 
 
I bore the brunt

of one who hates the plays she plays, who wants to hell

with theatre. The only way was to duck out, hang up my

wig on the top shelf, shed off my second

and third skins, make a new dress with the curtains. But I

was cast

in the longest period drama.
 
 
You no longer

tickle me out of my last breath,

summon the laughter out of me.
 
 
I no longer

coax out the cravings of your mind.
 
 
My god, I lie: I stand it half or nought,

most every other time, I under-

stand this life too right

for the good

of our kind, with-

stand it with the pieced-up remains of my corrupt mind,

my punctured blow-up heart, and my brain that I now

conserve

in brine.
 
 
I subtracted my shares of our futures

for no reason other than death,

it is harsh and potent in me. I tackle it

with my left kick, my mistakes on automatic, I handle it

with feeble defence on repeat, and haggle

with it for mercy.
 
 
There came the time to cut

the heartstrings shooting in-between.

I severed them with a rough knife,

one at a time, one at a time – sometimes

tying them back, until you begged for the butcher,

who doesn’t go round roundabouts, what with the

pigs the geese the cows

waiting their turn in the chamber.
 
 
 
Two years later I piece us back.
 
 
This is our hope and our collage.
 

Make Do

1

We are the clowns of the Wage Age,
the footsoldiers hopping along
the tracks, waiting for the next convoy
to mow us. We are
the casualties.
The sounds of cash machines
lullaby us, and the infinities
they are/we are building, for you,
for you,
for us,
the sound of the billions
injected here, injected there,
not in our veins or in our arteries:
in a network intangible as God,
loathable/lovable as God,
fickle as God, un-
necessary as God, un-
forgiving as God.

Life would be easier
had we been born
a bank.

2

Were we
a bank
we would be
rescued.

Were we
a bank
we would not
be let die.

3

In your embrace I thought
I saw a remedy. I know
I saw
a denial.

I want you as a screen.

And for this I would give
up
my home cinema.

4

In undergrounds
we stare.
There is a mass perspiring sweat.
Together we go through
the same tunnels, the same
darkness. Our shared experience
pushes us apart.

We share the newspapers we do not bin,
we share the trash, the doom. Perhaps
I could love you?

(But we have come
to the end
of the ride.

(And ALL CHANGE,
PLEASE
)).

5

Were we a bank, we would have ties
with a (foot)bridge, we would be felt up by
water.

Were we a bank, we would have a sibling,
a twin, always under our gaze.

6

I know the citizens of the polis,
of the accro, of the metro,
the mega and the megalo.

We use the poles
to dance and strip.

Billions of us, billions of us,
thirsty, thirsty, thirsty.

I don’t know
you
you
you
nor you.
I know
no one.

7

Morning headlines:

“MAN CHATS UP BARBIE DOLLS”
“WOMAN GIVES UP HOME CINEMA FOR AN EMBRACE”
“WOMEN OVULATE APRICOTS, MEN EJACULATE CAKE ICING”

PM headlines:

“MAN FONDLES MANNEQUINS”
“WOMAN GAVE UP HOME CINEMA FOR AN UNREQUITED EMBRACE”
“WOMEN OVULATE KINDER EGGS, MEN EJACULATE CUSTARD SAUCE”

Evening headlines:

“MAN COPULATES WITH HIS IPHONE”
“WOMAN GAVE UP”
“WOMEN OVULATE NUTS, MEN EJACULATE MUD”

(It could have been poison).

8

Soldiers of my boundless nation, you are
not an army, you have
no uniforms. You are a head, a head, a head, and
a face, and
a face, and
a face.

***

We are:
– raised by gimmicks.
– descended from punchlines.
– abandoned by posters.
– adopted by slogans.

This is
what we are worth.

We have:
– been moulded on a bench.
– grown up between school terms.
– repressed quite everything.
– decayed in offices.

The cleaning services came twice a week
to bin our strips of skin.

We are scared of:
– the hairy animals.
– living alone.
– living with company.
– living full stop.

(Notwithstanding dying).

We lala it away,
we lala it away,

while dreaming like crazy.

9

And now down the main road:

Look at the whore, the whore of the Wage Age,
the whore who fucks
not for money – who fucks for love.

The whore who gives out her body
for free, who shoves it up
all hands, maniac, hoping
someone holds on to it,
hoping to hit
a jealous claw.

She leads the life of the lost souls,
the plight of the lone souls.

Her birth was cursed by CEOs,
by the cosmos.

They cursed her with
lackings.
Looking closely,
beyond the breasts and the marrow,
underneath the lid of sorrow,
you see –
you see that she
has one hole too many –
and really too narrow.

It is the hole through which
what could make her complete
evaporates.

10

Little whorie, I also see
what no one sees:
I see your humbleness,
and your degrees,
and your fire at my parties.

The violence of your dance
in this blurry kitchen
is your hymn to chaos,
challenge to decadence. You know
the laws and the morals, they have shaped your
disgust, and curbed
nobody’s soul. You brush
them off, panting. Your realm
is of freedom, and you drink more
venom.

This bloodbath is
your scene: in vino veritas
and in wino a mass, heretic priest preaching
for the good of the good, urging you on to try
the cure of Epicure, whose wisdom teeth were long,
always stained by liquors. Ravenous fangs!
You too
must eat, must beat and cheat
and sin, and bitterly regret
the neglected mornings, the troubled afternoons,
the skins that were unscarred, the juicy fruits unsucked,
the many unlicked lids and uncharted bodies
where your hooky fingers
could have planted
your flag.

You must
betray, beguile, delight in your treasons – revelries! revelries!
bathe in the pools of doubts – the rejuvenating ponds – and regret
the regrets. Stand in the rainforest while the grilling rain rains,
the tornado threatens. In those heavy jungles, your aim is
survival, your ideal
existence, and your conscience the yellow fork-tongued snake
with the mortal sting
curled around the palm tree.
You juggle with your guilt, three firelit torches
circling around your head, coming
to no standstill.

Those ballons are your lungs,
those little sticks
your bones, and this great pump
your heart
that can never
be stopped.

And when you spin,
inflamed, on top of this table, you summon
an excess, invoke adrenaline
to smother your pathos. You seek
a mouth to kiss, and a spine
to caress, with a full set of ribs
that will be used to sculp
temporary husbands.

Little whorie, what an addict!
This thing in your liver
is called a crave.

And so all day
she’ll rave, sprinting across
the streets, throwing herself
at knees. Tall men pat her
bare chest and drag her on
for miles, her belly cut open. On train platforms
they shake her off, and she has left
a trace
on their raincoats.

(Sometimes
she even slips
a note.)

11

Inside page 3:

‘When he was found
grabbing the loins of his iPhone,
strocking the buttons as buttocks,
he was singing it a lovesong,
the only one
he knew by heart, the only one
one needs to know.
He had his tongue
between two limbs, and the song goes
I love you I love you I love you
for three minutes fifty (longer would be
too long). In crescendo.
His eyes had popped
out of his head, his skull was touching the ceiling,
his trousers lay flat on the floor, and he rocked
to and fro, sometimes
hitting the wall.’

12

Oh my Mummy,
you have grown old,
you have gone deaf,
and the world has bled me.

I am your young
who climbed the trees
to build my nest.

We were always
so late.

13

I sleep with you, holding your hand
pale as my hand.
I CANNOT
sleep alone.

Camera obscura

 
We withdrew
underground.

The sun molested us,
horror dressed up in gold.

We have been
subjected to rays,
hard-watted searchlight-beams
probing our prolix eyes
whose ceaseless script is not for crowds, is for
the private crew
we whisper to
in eyelash tongue.

Us we’re not meant for warmth,
we’ll take no
aureoles.

We orchestrate
shows in
tenebrae.

But night and day
the light stalked us,
trying to infiltrate,
tracking our thoughts,
profiling our faces that only begged
to move and grin unseen,
unrecognised.

We only wished to morph at will,
exempted by photons.

Daylight slapped us
heavy-handed,
bred bathos from blinding brightness,
exposed

too much.
 
 
We fled
to the dark room

for the wicked and the trembling,
the best of our vintage. The world
we want it dim, we’ll ignite it
ourselves
from our recoin, with our fossils.

Sparks in black box rise like
great fireworks.
 
 
 
My bats,
we’ll always be
of the darkness, claustrophobia
and of the confined space. We’ll always eat
meats from our laps, discuss science and ends, heart stops,
in the narrow antechambers we used to know as home,

watch all happen
on a small screen

from the confines

of a gnawing obscurity.