- Vol. 01
- Chapter 04
Come closer. I know you see me.
Look upon me, last of Y Gwragedd Annwn, fey maidens of the mountain lakes. Wonder at my strange beauty, ever-changing, never-changing; clouds to water, water to cloud; ebb and flow, ebb and flow. I was newborn with this morning’s rainfall … but am older too than the great salmon of knowledge, lurking in the depths of Llyn Llifon, secret as murderous thoughts. I was formed from snowmelt cascading from the peaks at noon … yet I am more ancient than the owl of Cwm Cowlyd, and have seen more summers fall back into winter than even the sharp-eyed eagle of Gwern Abwy.
Come closer, if you will.
Look around. These slopes were once covered in trees whose flowers scented the valley. Laughing shepherd-boys pressed their faces against the water’s skin to catch a glimpse of my breasts. I opened my arms and loved each one to death.
A race of men came and uprooted the trees.
Another forest grew, sacred trees – oak, ash and thorn – where poets wandered, wrapping their thoughts in riddles, rhyming their hearts’ mournful longings. I embraced them, one by one, and let the wind blow away their words.
More men came with their axes.Read more >
[prickling at the seamed lids] [hair quite weightless interference singing]
[where all is touch its wrecks] [my tongue sinks enamelled edge]
[how time gripes the lung] [this makeshift light shadowless ]
[how long listening clamours sense] [you guess my mantra its thrill]
[for breath unmet ] [agitation of waters to fail is sweet]
[muzzle the surface rising] [ toward you desperate bells]
Inaudible priestess: I found you in the scrap-yard's darg mangled beneath bundles of razor-wire, stretching open your mouth in an attempt to scream.Your lips: pale-veined, bruised and crisp from exhaustion of miming the disc-saw’s deafening wail. Your eyes: bleared with cataracts of wincing to the mallet’s strike.
Founder of the darkest religion, creation's cut of itself through self-torture, I dragged you out through reams of oil and diesel pools,
removed, surgically, every barbed steel hook from your bloody skin then laid you out on the tarmac in the recovery position. The sun burned a platinum corona behind the crane's towering atmosphere.
Acrid and silent, the scrap-yard ceased its dredging.
From the invisible spring hidden amidst a thousand corroded barrels, - earth's deepest secret - I brought intangible water that was like light but heavier, the placenta of light, and cleansed your hair and pores.Read more >
Half a face: eyebrow a blackbird's wing,
ear angled out, red mouth sprouting
stones for teeth. Tape it to a blank page,
fill in the other half, capture what's not:
the wishbone of her throat, paper-white
skin, the pool's surface breaking
At the surface
she splits red lips to speak, to gasp
for air, to shout. Fill in her other half:
black hair a cascade, the silence
as her eyes seek you out, no
perfect symmetry here.
Perfect symmetry here
as her eyes find you out. No
black hair or cascade of silence
for air to shout. Fill in her other half:
she splits red lips to speak, to gasp
at the surface.
Beneath her skin
the surface pools, breaks;
wishbone of her throat, paper-white.
Fill in her other half, what's not. Capture
stones for teeth, tape them to a blank page:
Ear angled out, red mouth sprouts
half a face: eyebrow, a blackbird's wing.
It's about me, not you.
- I know that...
Really! So you claim.
- True though, isn't it?
Truth is but one person's reasoning.
- Ah semantics...
Not semantics, fact.
- Facts are but one person's lie.
She lowered herself beneath the bath water and laughed.
out of the water’s womb
I continue to be born
how life longs for itself
I open my eyes
and my mouth
to greet it
savouring the embrace
open to the world
vulnerable and strong
free from gravity
in a precious moment
of time out of time
One mile into the wood
we find the moon-bathed pool.
I place the blanket on the ground
and start to undress, you hesitate
gazing anxiously around.
'Maybe this is not such a good idea.'
But it’s on my bucket list to do.
I leave my clothes in a neat pile
and slip into the silky blackness.
The ice-cold depths steal my breath
but soon I’m high on the sensation
of swimming with unfettered skin.
I beckon you in, but you want none of this.
So with a flash of my new silver-scaled tail
I swim away leaving you floundering.
Breathe. Open your mouth and take all the air you can. Feel it going into your lungs. Life, again, after gasping. You still feel drops of water inside you but you keep fighting to regulate your breathing. It is good to be back again, reborn, to that chaotic experience you call reality.
Breathe. Inhale deeply. Feel how this fresh air brings your energy back and leave. Start moving and don’t look back. Don’t ever dare to look back to anguish and hopelessness. Learn to breathe heartily all the time and pull your chains. Go ahead. Challenge your world with your mere existence.
The film was made in a small country. They say that over there, filmmakers living on the breadline are producing a weird, new wave of cinema; although that country hardly ever produced a first wave. No high tides, now low tides, just water, the sea with its moderate storms. Nothing like the ocean, which produces real, big waves of cinema. Sometimes, a remarkable sailor left his (or her, like some like to add) mark, but not much more than that. And as with other new waves, we start with claustrophobic violence in the intimate space, where fathers are still unacceptably patriarchal, where sexual induction is always a nightmare, and a girl's smile is never simple.
Filters have been applied, and colours are intrusive. Paper-thin-skin-translucence. Weird, yes. Even more so, as the new edgy, neurotic corporeal absurdism is very remote from the country's long tradition in the arts. The palette has a mimetic, exaggerated range of touches to it. References are blurred: where are we, who exactly, when, what. Is it allegory? Is it just raw? A confession or a trial? Questions are not only unanswered, we're not even sure why they're being asked. There may be one exception: does the audience belong? The essence of this novel cinematographic experiment lies in the perpetration of a hellish, not so common, yet truly contemporary experience. All is done without shedding any light onto something new, or, better said, failing to reveal something that was waiting to be revealed. Rather, it creates more obscurity, be it with half-lit awkward sex scenes, or with invented languages and choreographies shot under a neon-silver, overwhelming, tricky light.
Read more >
She had a power over you like water. You'd come and go with her tides and we would all float on her calmness and fear the violent crash of her storms.
The whip of her tongue was so sharp. Do you remember? The first time I heard her range, I felt the landing shake. The very house nervous at the sound. Shrill. And on, and on, until?
The noise would sting and send reverberations over the brickwork, unsettling water where ever it was. Trembling in the glass on the bedside table.
Do you remember how the water would only run ice cold or scalding hot? "Be careful" you'd say. Twisting the taps in the bathroom, we pale-skinned children, naked and tiptoeing, sometimes shaking, were forever anticipating extremes. A toe dipped in too soon.
You'd turn the knob from one side to another, trying always to get it right. Blending the hot-cold-hot liquid with a hand much older, much more resilient than our child flesh could tolerate. We'd worry about your skin blistering under too much heat and sliding off until there was nothing but bone.
I remember her mouth with spittle, like foam left behind by a wave. It would gather and grow and fly off and away. Disobediently leaving her as she hurtled off abuse.
Eyes slitted. And cruel mouth red and pink like meat.
Read more >
the cold here is just enough for you.
We know well the meaning of ice
melting on the trellis.
Sign and signifier.
Here I now see how much you can bear.
Did you think the ground false,
and see in me an abstract scoundrel?
The universal solvent will before long
bring forth our merits.
Lines run in fizzy reels
Detachment struggling with gravity
As she lies within that fossilised egg
Marble walls hold her captive.
Why must everything be so transparent?
She frustrates herself. Toes mingle with the hungry laps of water as she steadies herself against the tide.
Every synapse, ligament, bone, artery, vein; ivy climbing walls.
She becomes aware of her heart flapping.
All I want is something intangible, something
Could you ever imagine something outside of it all?
For the ravenous child mind to break free
From what sustains it, nurtures it?
It’s not biting the hand that feeds
It’s waving the hand goodbye
I see you.
I see you – and what I see in you will do.
I see you for the sake of the grass, the acorns, the lonely mountain lakes, wood-smoke, the swift deer, the tumbling stream, the rot in the dung-heap, the worms sleeking through the clay, the clever crows calling end to day.
I see what your mother could not see, or if she glimpsed it only knew it as a facet of her diamond impenetrability and mocking bird song, and how it keeps you wandering, wondering, searching, fundamentally alone, flying from your home.
I’ll meet you.
I’ll meet you at the place where the rivers dry and oceans overflow, where men and women long ago parted and went their separate ways, missing each other and cursing their luck, before Tiresias’ curiosity led him up he mountain, took him to the brink of desire, to feel Athena’s wrath, to discover the other in him and to come back home again to see through the myth of our times.
I’ll play with you.
I’ll play with you in the garden where figs hang dark and sweet, where work has lost all meaning, where walnut trees abandon heavy fruits, on ground littered with apples and chestnuts ready to be lifted or to return to whence they came, where squirrels forget their shyness, where migrating birds both leave and arrive.
Read more >
Hit full in the face by her gin and tonic,
lemon slice on the lips too,
you widen those velvet eyes,
a siren’s black inviting pools. Not now.
Your hair drips ice, mascara taints.
How could she be so drunk, so ridiculous,
in front of friends and colleagues too,
and the evening gown ruined.
She won’t want it back, or the man.
If Lazarus did it, so can I.
I open my eyes and I see the water.
The breath that follows is already above the surface -
All the things I used to know,
they are now sunken.
And so I rise.
I do not seek reward nor to blame.
What I seek for, again and again,
Is to seize the pull that drove me out
of the water.
So what did I do? I took one last look at this angel, frozen forever in her dying moments. And walked slowly, surely away. Even now years later, she still crosses my mind late at night. When no dream can take me away to a faraway land were my worries no longer exist, I am forever a-wondering about that beautiful ice princess, found by tragic chance.
who ever she is now
she did not drown.
Beth lifted her head high
out of the water,
gasped for air
She was so beautiful
her hair, her skin, her charm.
Beth took my hand, my help, my advice
She took the detox.
Fred, Freddie Frederick
my beautiful Freddie
he followed her in
could not swim
or take my hand.
My beautiful Freddie
I saw I saw
folly off-side with a nose contrapposto
I saw I saw
my skin birthed, buried beneath
a folly left in some scum washed a stream
I saw, a circular calling, hanging
you too were there as the pores clung to a greater height
as the flesh sailed into folly sight
as your vague time and your fiendish light
strung its strings to feed the bite
of a pigment I forgot.
It was my folly.
the boughs of your lashes
made my roots glimpse at every similar breeze.
This came across me
when I saw I saw
trembling visual streams
:a sudden jump :the launch of the year
:natural, unstoppable waters appear
:unexpected release :a trap suddenly shut
:into action :back :tides
:the cost to businesses, cost to families
As slow and as sudden, as if by titanic
I am sinking.
Silverware, slips of marital cloth
(once smooth satin) stolen away already.
They left us a bed, at least, and electrics
to adapt, with spirit, to rising levels
of silent pressure. Hushed river (was road)
feels a way around the curb, the camera,
the concrete apology coming too late.
We were not city. No business
in the country. Too slick savages,
'side farmers, seeking sky for red warning.
And some proverbs are simply not worth saving.
I think we are amphibian
by force, and excited at last, by the press,
the release, when water rushes to recover flats
and fills us, to the brim, to bursting.
Washed out, passed the point;
thank heavens I am insured.
you dip your fingers in the river,
feel her black hair ripple against your hand.
her humanity is deceptive always -
She is there to lure you with her charms,
bewitch you with her sorceress’s eyes,
seduce you with her siren's song,
and the sensual liquidity of her nature.
Resist - you must resist.
Know that to water she will return:
drip to drip, droplet to droplet.
you will find nothing
but dust to dust, and ashes to ashes.
Before I go. Before I leave you all.
I do love you. I really do.
And this for me is happiness.
There are no flowers. No ambling by a river, like Ophelia.
Romanticism is absent. They're drilling outside. A builder hollers.
A whistle follows. Shrill.
I close my eyes to it. And tell the water to swallow me whole.
The urban sounds are drowning.
My breath is held. My chest expands, tightens.
My heart drums on. I latch onto it.
The brain tells me to breathe. To rise.
I'm no phoenix. The water owns me now.
It's time, she whispers. It's time.
First, an apology for my behaviour the other night. Not a week back from France, dad’s will to plough through and your silly bloody sister looning about like a drunken old bag lady at a bus stop! So unlike me to sing in that gloomy manner I must say. So unlike me to sing at all really. No wonder everyone thinks I’m losing the plot. Whatever the hell it was I was banging on about I’m really not one for all that dark and dismal stuff, you must believe me. So I’m sorry if it worried you as much as it seemed to worry everybody else. Blame the wine I say!
It’s just all mounting up I guess - the business with dad, the shock of it all being so sudden and of course this ongoing ridiculousness with you-know-who picking a prime moment to go all ‘bipolar’ on me. Talk about timing. He’s positively schizophrenic! He wants to marry. He wants to forget about it. He’s overjoyed to see me. He can’t stand the sight of me. And those stupid bloody riddles! “Still inventing new ways to be utterly baffling”, dad used to say. You may as well toss a coin to guess his mood sometimes. It’s his mother who gets the brunt of it though. The poor old girl hasn’t a clue what she’s supposed to have done and neither have I. He barely talks to his uncle. If there is anything rotten in the state of things there, he isn’t telling me.
Yes, it’s got me down and, yes, I know you and dad never really approved but I do still love him in spite of it all. Sometimes the people you love aren’t perfect. Sometimes they need a little help remembering that somewhere behind all that rancour and mumbled monologuing (oh yes, a new ‘development’...) is the knowledge that they love you back. Please don’t think me foolish for sticking with something I’m sad about now. I think it’ll be worth the tears and tribulation in the long run.Read more >
I rise with one song.
A pure song
washed of all thought.
Water strokes my skin
a tremble stirs in my chest
vibrates and bursts forth
Like the first Thrush at Dawn.
Picture a steamy bathroom and the bathtub full to the brim. It has a translucent meniscus of oil on the blue water and the vaguely medicinal scent of some extract of seaweed in the air. A Stopwatch lies on a chair and the Guinness Book of World Records is propped open near the door.
The first time I managed less than a minute. I don’t mix anything with the water these days. The water is tepid and I am holding my breath. Now
at the Sunday supplement - 1990s (round-about)
tropical grasses and live-long trees
focus on one point
eye-water bleary to clear
until elephants appear
hold my eyes
I do that here...
she a weightless expression
four weeping eyes under far-away
both mouths had, found songs in parts alto soprano
she looks back
forward denying swallowed words
once lyrical then
the shift when
black-wax crayon outlines her
un touching hair and pore
she divides slides exquisite she quakes
my eyes the scalpel to her face
i won’t keep checking my
watch. i have no concept of
time anyways. just
yesterday i sat in an armchair
meeting her folks, then
crooning chris isaak’s wicked game
lost and alone and barely alive.
time heals but time travel
is impossible, this i know because
i’ve tried to step out of this
rut and into the future. somewhere
out there She waits, as i wait here
i’d prefer we wait together,
How can you gaze like that-
water in your eyes, hair and mouth?
Your pale skin, elfin ears and brow
you are the key to my very soul.
You are wisdom, joyfully, eternally,
the gasp of adulthood's burlesque
the light of infant's pealing laughter
girl and woman, body of perfection.
Love seems to be lost in the fear
Why did you cheat on me, my love?
Why did you commit this crime, my dear?
I shall love you till my last breath
But I cannot forgive this henious act
I cannot move on like nothing happened
I cannot act like everything is intact
I shall kill you with my bare hands
You need to die my darling
What you did, killed me from within
Ditching love, you chose a fling
Soak in my misery, my heart beat
Drown away from the pain you caused
Let me see the betrayal in your eyes
Do not breathe honey, come on pause
Take along your fake promises
Let them envelope you in the sea
Carry with you my heart and soul
Come on my wife, die for me
I have succumbed
but I am lost without you now.
You can take me for
Leave me searching
to questions that do not exist.
I am lost without you now.
I am abandoned.
I have surrendered
to the outskirts,
of my heart,
while you press
onwards to the centre
of the square where
with guerrilla warfare
and my mouth opens
At your ambush.
You have raided my
soul and I am lost without you now.