Tuesday, April 5

Four Prose Poems

by Ian Seed


Just one ritual. She cries in the morning when she wakes. We can benefit from the direction of the other, according to an unwritten law that exists solely for the sake of bursting into song. Just the burden of the thought that breathless work is possible, after all, at the end of a day of grey hours. Yet the anxiety is still there in her eyes that he will make fools of them both, waiting to make conversation with the stranger at the bar, less cunning than before. I stop to look through locked iron gates into the empty park at dusk. It turns out the bastard was right. We were free, but it was an empty freedom, like wandering in and out of abandoned houses at will.


Come to the trick of avoiding touch, wandering through Sunday afternoon crowds by the river Po, obliged to come to a sticky end. Sudden warmth under the sheets, skin against skin, afraid for a moment she would repulse him. Power could not reside all in one room, whatever their illusions. There is another circle, unseen, behind this one. A shirt takes the shape of the chair it hangs on, the time of vacancy where we worship winners. Granted, but what can replace the heat of your hands, playful at the crucial moment? Roles crumble, delve to a deeper set.


Let the bottom fall out of books placed one by one on your knee. A no from next door, and the sob of a child, reality in the power of others, not what we are. Who was the first to put out his hand? Not much to choose from. The land as we know it melts before our eyes. A man slaughters on a full stomach, wine on his breath, whispers into an ear sliced off. Letter by letter, you write down the unpronounceable name, wishing you were anywhere but here, the ditch by the road no one travels now .


All kinds of freedom. Two figures approach each other across a distance, then pass without a word or a nod of the head. We keep trying. Being poor, we are at the mercy of others. A final word, a last-ditch attempt to make us see sense. You'll be useless one day, too. Threats and obscenities buzz in our ears. Yet there is still a dream wondered by friends. Who will be the first to speak of rivulets of steam down white tiles? Silence is an unauthorised gift. All kinds of monsters are possible, and new births with them.

© Ian Seed, 2005

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