Vague

Behind the facemask of my mind there isn’t a lot happening. The dullness of disaster has arrested complex thoughts with its neutralising swarm, experienced as a blank mass descending over everything like snow, or asbestos over an old factory. Which isnt to say I’m having a particularly bad time. After all kids would play in it like snow, and were presumably happy for those moments, even as the traces of later pain knitted themselves into the depths of the lung. Although I do have chronic pain of a kind, it’s really not anything to send letters home about – I can still enjoy the bubbling steam of the coffee machine that cost me £4 in a charity shop. These cheap, or at least notionally cheap pleasures help us in the mornings as they grow darker, colder, here in the north. For the best skill in life is to hold on whilst letting go, and knowing when. The chances of death are still certain etc. etc.

Stranded on the immensity of the ocean, I am treading water. The giant fish-object silhouette hovers in the deep, just on the edge of the dysphotic zone. My eyes are sliding off its almost-imperceptibility as the water laps around my ears, as the waves pull me up and down. My stomach is turning and turning to try find a way out, but of course there is none. Dread is with me in the cold water, amongst the water, invisible. My eyes are wide, and cold and I am in constant tension waiting for the attack.

Then something changes. I relax, see the surface rise away from me in its liquid glass transformations of the grey clouds. I take a mouthful of water and taste its saltiness before I open my lungs and breathe it in. It is light and cool inside me and I now hover, buoyant as the water, breathing the ocean in the dark. And moods are like this, aren’t they? I suppose.

V.76

God will save you from this event
and here is how – she will give you
an soft egg, a beautiful egg.
Last one in the supermarket

cracked on the sun-baked shelf. And meat
reams and reams of gently rotting
meat in plastic packets. She wills
the whole toilet industry act,

to provide you with something clean
and needed to deck the cistern.
The power she weilds provides you
cans of sharp green beer, to last out.

And then, just in case, everyday
God in her grace provides to you
in the form of a pub, out there
in the garden, your salvation.

The pandemic will now return
all your neuroses in new forms,
stronger forms, forms like journalists,
videos of ventilators.

The fear of death will wipe you out
courtesy of God herself, show
you the emptiness of requests.
And then, silence. Your miracle.

V.74 Response to ‘Dreaming of a Butterfly’ by Sakutaro Hagiwara

Justo Judicio Dei
condemnatus sum. I dream that –
due to some sin I am sprawled out
on a sofa, weighed down by wings.

I have been turned into a large
butterfly, whose wings were not meant
to be so large, and now crumble,
leaving pearlescent blue-green shards.

Rain recedes against the window
or, more likely, just a grey sky.
“SHOULDN’T YOU BE AT WORK, MY GOD” –
the knocking on the door won’t stop –

The sigil daubed there has not helped.
I must drag myself leaving trails
of mother of pearl to and from
the porch. In my dreams trains crashing

roll across the fields, crumpling up
like a broken display case. See
the big pin through my insect heart?
Why do I feel it’s all my fault?

Then Enya’s voice, like a soft hand
is firm and raises my head up –
there is a council yet to hold,
a voice that all this strife can end