the sweat of your palms on the panels
under the tyranny of polished metal
like a crab on a motorway
scratching on the seamless tarmac
the sun’s heat pressing into your flesh
I want to sleep in the weeds of a pond,
that cool green nebula behind my eyes,
sinking into the drifting mud,
translated into water.
To watch the dark hull of a boat drift above me,
and raise my face to its rippling wake.
Cupped between garden walls with
the scribble of twigs on a gossamer sky.
The globes of magnolia bulbs unfolding,
hanging indigo in the nightfall air.
all shudders down a drain
you can’t checkmate a flipped table
there’s no place to stand to speak to be clever anymore it’s all tilting
you’re in the guts of a clock now
and the whirring wheels are buzzsaw-sharp
I want it less if we agree.
My deep grass beside the broken wall,
my cracked pages tented in a winter forest,
my cylinder turning in orbit,
with moonlight lapping over its curve,
end over end in the pinwheeling stars.
Perhaps I can be happy enough to spite you.
I’ll come back sometime but for now
pull on the painter,
the rope will glide through the loosening knot,
flick off the rail, flop into the lazy lake.
Give me a kick to peel me off the pontoon.
The last echoes of a bell wind back towards its ring. I am staring out to the sea’s horizon before dawn, and waiting. Waves lap the ribbed sands. Water trembles in a fish’s gills.
The tense groan of pipes inside the walls. Radiator gargle. Static of electric signal, rain on a tin roof far inside my headphones. An engine idles, blood trembles in my ears outside a nightclub. The pressure builds as an aeroplane sinks down through the air.
Water slides off your fingers. You are filled with metal. You are holding a vibrating glass. The dial will turn back no further. There are pins in your skin. The rushes by the riverbank are galvanised in zinc.
Numbers blur across a Solari board, clattering black plates that find no position. 13:09 by east-north-east. Thirty-seven degrees. Your destination has been cancelled. The figures merge into a green flicker.
The outflung edges of a web, quivering. The lift is now one floor below. Dust motes float in an abandoned house about to explode.
I hold a window in my hands
the stringy shadow of a bird
a cutout circle of the sky
in seas of dusty backroom black.
It’s thumping up against the quay
and trailing sails of shredded gauze.
There’s sunrise painted on the bow.
I step aboard the Never Was.
Shivering silver gullets scream
a needle scratch on plated scales
the thinnest artery
tin slivers severed clean.
Drip down slickly decaying walls.
My nails blacken.
Thick with loam.
Cathedral quiet will follow rain.
They wade waters that swill in graves.
Until I lift from the slurping earth
to glide on tides of twilight air
momentum’s tug inside my gut
I tumble into feathered sky.
A pinpoint starscape, scattered at
the textures of convexity.
An axis piercing past its soul
enfolded in a rolling world.
Benedict Cross is a London-based writer. His poetry has been published by Nottingham Poetry Exchange and The 87 Press, and his short story writing by Fairlight Books. He would say what his poems are about, but that would take half the fun away.