Saturday, 23 September 2023 10:48

How and when the body collapses

Written by
in Poetry
How and when the body collapses

How and when the body collapses

by Fran Lock

/ there's a breach in the breath.
/ in that which surrounds and circulates.
/ in the warm gulf between neighbourhood and nation.
/ in the weak procedurals of harm.
/ between sluggish cells and excited atoms.
/ we are nourished and sickened from the same source.
/ this era of machines, their overtures and operatics.
/ the fury that is broached inside a moan.
/ england, imposing its failed grace all over us.
/ the school-room sags, forlornly totalled.
/ money, in its hoarder's hood, its useless furl of numbers.
/ us stink-eye pillicocked violently.
/ or not-money. i sew the unspoken up in me. stupidity will be insufferable, itemised.
/ you can declare war on a country, but you do war on a people.
/ between the declaration and the doing, mouths will be abscessed with obedience. the palpitant vowel is buckled into tantrum.
/ going o! o! o! o!
/ much good will it do us.
/ eyes, averted and impeded. or turned toward the shaved blue of the atmosphere.
/ which itself is dying.
/ and still, these desperate bellows. bruisewort, soapwort, comfrey. their mantles of soft lather.
/ soak up the rosary words for such beauty, sealing the wound with a sweet green wax.
/ understand, us is the enemy. wash us neverbody out.
/ us words profaning the purpose of print. exhaustions they will screw us down inside of.
/ salaried carnivores, eating us kids into dutiful crew-cuts.
/ black crepe. black cap. wooton fucking bassett.
/ it is war.
/ inside of war. burning consensus of sinews.
/ breaks the arm in three places to improvise salute.
/ bend back on usselves in crude, circular obeisance.
/ rank and cavalry. infantries and troops. troupe of exorbitant woe. these minstrels of dull affray.
/ the kid in the advert is poor.
/ the kid in the advert is poor and bored.
/ the kid is going nowhere. on a scooter. in his circlet of downward potential.
/ the recruiter's crook. to bag him in the patent pocket of manhood.
/ the elastic and deodorizing pouch of manhood.
/ the rubberised, suction-sealed canopy of manhood.
/ the fifteen million plastic bags of manhood.
/ with lightweight webbing handles to facilitate lifting.
/ in a leaky wallet of waxed canvas where spills his manhood.
/ recruiters on the corner, and all my swearwords have deserted me.
/ this bailiff's gang. back-thumpers of bad faith. the mean and furtive eyes of funeral mutes.
/ who set the snare?
/ who tightened this town around his one way out?
/ there's a breach in the breath.
/ fanfare survivalists. toy fists bumping up and down.
/ my chest hurts. compassion's impossible monody.
/ they scoop up our children with both hands. like pebbles. like pellets of bread.

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Fran Lock

Fran Lock Ph.D. is a writer, activist, and the author of seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks. She is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.