Listening to my body

My body is talking again. My lungs
are whispering secrets. My heart
says “what? what? what?”
but my lungs have each other.
They keep on whispering.
My feet want to tell the story
of the day. They are always working,
they grumble. My thighs
just roll their eyes. They know.
My stomach is quiet,
he’s listening. Sometimes he
grumbles like a toddler,
sometimes he snores
like an old man, but tonight
he’s quiet. All the long,
slithery length of guts
is neatly packed away, sleeping
like a drawer of underwear,
and my lungs keep whispering.
My bones know something,
they feel it, but they don’t say
anything, they can’t quite name it.
They keep straight backs,
stiff upper lips. They keep
their gaze ahead, but my lungs,
ah, my lungs keep whispering
their secrets.

A body poem for Grace at dVerse

laundry 2: how to wash the moon

handwash only

gently gently

wring out a cloud –
a white one –
and warm the water
gently

add a handful of may,
or blackthorn,
or lilies
a pinch of starlight

lay the moon gently
gently in the bowl

let it soak
let it sink
let it rest
in the warm water

hold it up to the window
gently gently
use your fingertips
rub away

fear
pain
despair
grief

rinse the moon
in clear, cool water –
water from a running stream
a holy well
a tumbling rainbowing waterfall

hang it in the sky
to dry

A second laundry poem for Whimsygizmo at dVerse.

A poem about cancer, or anything really

4am and I’m filled with it
the taste in my mouth
like I’m stuffed with coins
each finger filled with it
no
4am and it’s here in the room
with me I’ve been swallowed
by cancer I’m a nodule
floating in a sea of cancer
I breathe it in I float in it
I’m drowning

6am and it’s getting light
time to pack it away
time to squash it down
into my lungs my bones
time to swallow it down

it’s in me don’t let me scream

I started blogging at fantasticmetastaticme.wordpress.com. I write poems at fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com. You can follow either, or both – or neither, obviously! – depending on your interest.

This being human

This being human is all about telling stories,
it’s travelling in a twisting caravan
across the desert, depending
on each other for flour,
for water, for a soft red blanket,
for bandages and apricots.

What currency do we have,
but stories? The story of “Good morning”
“How’s this for weather?”. The story of
“I love you”, the story of childhood,
the story of how to stay safe,
how to be eat well, how to survive
being lost, how to hold tight
to someone’s hand.

It’s whispering
our stories at night, the stories
of stars — of men, and beasts
and gods, and flaming suns.
It’s singing our stories as we wash our plates,
as we wait for tea to brew,
as we clean our shoes.

It’s shouting our stories in anger,
It’s crooning them in love. It’s sitting, silent,
round the campfire, listening.
We are stories, wrapped and tangled,
offered with love or fear or laughter.

This telling stories is all about being human.

For Kim at dVerse – a poem that begins “This being human is…”

The god kings don’t believe in death

The god kings gather their grave goods

a spearhead
a bronze arm ring
seven arrow heads

as if they can build a wall

a jade figurine
a clay jar containing herbs
a gold disc

between themselves and death

a pot of spelt
a terracotta figure of a horse
a silver leaf

as if they need to feed

a sheaf of flax
a woven blanket
a twisted torc

as if they need to serve

a leather purse
a bunch of keys
a jewelled pin

their souls on that long journey

a jet brooch
a bundle of poems
a lock of hair

but we look at their bones

a MacBook
a mountain bike
a paddle board
a Starbucks cup
an inflatable mattress
a Samsung Galaxy
a pair of trainers
a Big Mac and fries

and know that their souls starved.

For Brendan at earthweal.

Love is a bit like tea and tea is a bit like love

Love should be made afresh each day, like tea.
Does that sound too mundane? Consider now
the cup I bring up every morning, free
from thoughts about repayment, and then how
you put a cup beside me when I’m at
my desk and working hard, because you see
that I might need it. Let’s extend it out:
our teapot holds enough for the whole family,
and when our friends drop by we offer tea
to say “we love you, and we’re glad you’re here”.
We offer tea as comfort, sympathy,
as a small warmth, protection against fear.
Love’s measured not in words, but in our deeds –
I say “I love you” when I make you tea.

Ingrid over at Experiments in fiction has asked us to write a sonnet for St Valentine’s Day. Wierdly, she has given us the theme of “love”.

Tiger

Death is my sister
beside me, slipping
silent through
the jungle. She
sharpens my teeth,
polishes my claws,
and I lead her
to the red scent
of life, and
together we eat.

But now, I feel
her cold hands
measuring the
space between

my ribs, and soon
I will turn to her
and offer her
my throat.

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to think about the world of big cats.