At first, a quivering. There is no ‘before time’.
There’s always a place to name.
Seemingly static, everything moves. Cosmic walls
bear witness. The dust speaks before we hear it and
grit grows in the head. (The women look).
They are the same women; it is only the slant
of the sun that casts their shadows.
The car pulls in. Men polish its curving lines.
Blue body. He cried, the mechanic, when
the Delage swanned into his eyes. Forgotten
in a fairy tale, he found it in his memory.
Brushing off the grime, three brothers
fought over that car. The mechanic
turned the page. Boom, boom.
Whilst shaving, Father O’Shea missed some bristle
in the crease of his nose. Now, every morning when he shaves,
the artist remembers the priest - the grammarian.
(The women look). Lift. Perhaps there is an answer behind the vapour.
Iridescent beetles roll dung balls in the artist’s brain – the shining car;
the cluster of bristles; a single golden hair. The wind winds up.
The men and women are on the mountainside.
There’s talk of group marriages.
Were the never-visited communes
of my younger days, imitating?
A choice – one man, many wives.
Or: nine women, nine men, one team, procreating.
Australia. (The women look).
Squinnying, the oracle guides a thought
down the wormhole of uncertainty, willing himself
to see round corners. He sees cul-de-sacs
encircled by rubber heads. (The women look).
A curtain twitches. “Don’t look; you will be punished”.
The penalty – two severed fingers.
Crescendo. A skeleton is born.
The cul-de-sac is quiet. Tall as men, the heads ruminate.
Further off, stone faces parade single file
on a path of blind approval. They must not look.
Slowly, rubber heads swivel on plinths, thoughts
snagging on the brambles of their minds.
“Don’t touch. Don’t touch”.
Gossips in the new town flex itchy fingers.
Winding down to Cromwell; his grandfather’s middle name.
Straw hair, matted across the writer’s crown, conceals
royal schemes below her skull. Gleaned from reality,
the sorcerer cannot stomach the tale. “Don’t write like that!
You will spend six years in the wilderness.”
So, the pen is on the throne, alone on a velvet cushion.
“Don’t tell me about your cousin or your best friend’s mother!”
We are in the rooms. The rooms house the
special ones. The mechanic brought the Delage
to the red room. It stood in the painting, wheels
at rest on a leopard skin. He cries for the bonnet - the long lines,
the smooth surface, the curving blue beauty.
He drops to his knees before the grille, lauding
the might of the car, his god.
She let him in. Crossing the Atlantic took her home. (The
women look). Cockroaches are the inevitable outcome
of bleeding eyes at Darlington station, its circular windows
inviting flux and the mastery of a drilling imagination.
The vacuum freezes, chisels its shoulders, finds its tongue.
Backbone. I have the whale’s vertebra. I know the story
and from where the bone was cleaved. I have it to worship.
No myth. The artist’s father cut out the vertebrae
on the beach. Three grey bones dwell in the houses
of his children and stand as riddles for visiting quizzers.
One bone got requisitioned for the ending of missionaries
when mongooses scented the sunsnakes. (The women look).
Still standing in water, the plane tree points to the book.
We have come to the gate and the wind is dead.
Fabian Peake. November 2013.