Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Recorded at 'Citizens of the Archive' at the National Poetry Library, July 2017
Image by Amaal Said
‘That woman deserves her revenge,’
Faced with a mouth slit to the chin by some Mexican pimp,
we were shocked, but you were undeflected.
Girl, you completely rocked when you slammed your way
out of that early grave and didn’t even smash your hand up.
We know guns and knives are not-good in the Real World;
nor are Japanese schoolgirls dandling wrecking balls,
monochrome execution scenes, kung-fu knife fights
in Pasadena or any of this dollar-bill-cool Americana.
So what? You killed us the way you killed the one you loved -
gently touching with your fingertips, exploding hearts.
Tonight the Salome moon
throws off her seven cloud veils -
small, full and high in the east,
she lights her half of the sky
with soft blue and softer grey,
while in the west
Darkness touches his toes,
bows down to me or the moon.
Down on the shore,
an egret, motionless, abiding,
suddenly opens his wide wings,
white as the fleece
from which Gideon wrung a bowl of dew,
white as the robe slipping
from the shoulders of Bathsheba.
Four a.m. Night is greasing the streets.
The breath of all the sleeping people
hangs over town and I wait on red
at deserted crossroads for nobody.
The moon is tangled in a net of clouds.
I will go back to bed, and you
will sleep on the plane.
I will wake up to the familiar
– the heating coming on,
creaking and stretching
like you when prodded awake,
muttering and grumbling
like you at the petty autocracy of a clock.
I will hear life in its arteries,
the audible thump of its heart,
feel how the wood under my bare feet
has the warmth of skin.