Tuesday, 16 August 2011

of spiders and water

I heard them
flying across the sky
despite myself and the longing that
they were not real...

I hear he went France
I remembered Agincourt,
so many graves
and the knave skewered
on his own sword
pretending it was just a dream,
but we were standing there
carefree and five years short
of seventeen.

There are bats circling
on this- a cool august evening,
I watch for the men
of eight legs or arms
to creep silently
unhinged through the night,
women speak in verse
I find myself terse
turned on or off from their ramblings.

Rabies is an affliction
that gives us reason
to foam readily at the mouth
and my southwards lips
shift as my hips,
dance with longing forgotten
steeped in dealt blows-
I am slow to return

Yet do
                as I must.

While the endless thrust of blood
same type and route
delivers notes of music,
she hears despite my muting
of sounds
found only in ways to deafen,
spreading five fingers
and palm over ears.

Here is the truth
deeply interred to recur,
yet we repent not a leisure
head swimming under
sacrifices of ones own lies

There is no poets act,
no chiming chords to accompany
the cacophony of wailing
sailing into seas,
deep oceans of uncertain living.

I cannot forgive
despite having read my own explanation,
they are coming
I feel their limbs
clambering over me,
her waking fitfulness to letters
addresses with first names only.

There is always the river
but it offers no consolation,
she has already staked it
as her own home
and I am known to its waters.

Slaughter is a word we associate
with death
of a body,
but when will you see
it is more a death of memory
and soul

I am mute beneath fluid,
daughter- mother-  lover
inescapable the melody
I hear it now

it knows only this,
the resonance of my name.

Copyright: Samantha Ledger 2011

for Iris

There is fate
I hear it calling   distantly,
I had not reckoned that it knew my name
but he did           and spoke it
with an eloquence I would not have
associated with a poor
upbringing-         we are poor (I)
in moral fibre and perhaps character,
so they say         of me and I behave
only to your expectation.

You see this love and assume
the demons caught beneath,
under the net of capture are yours.

is there per         sist         ence
in memory,
I cannot will it so or         stow its feed or
stem its hunger.

I watch dutiful
Catholics recounting vows
hopeless and lost,
for her sins of innocence-
understand mighty,
I thank Iris
for delivering this body
complete to its road.

There are many paths
to lead hope astray,
they remark on fragility
yet seemingly engrossed by the frailties
of a woman grasping
at womanhood she believed
denied to her.

I feel the tug of reality
pulls at wounds gripped
by a recall-
manufactured efforts,
if they are wrong
then am I held together
by misguided hope,
string     twine and glue.

Deliver me from evil,
                I prayed or pray- yet
you never came.
Now I am alone with her
                 protesting beautifully
in a language I cannot speak
                but find myself agreeing

Copyright: Samantha Ledger 2011


Over the years
the voice has dissipated
to a small chiming sound,
pitched so to almost be unheard,
it seems so much better to be
unheard               unseen.

You said it was the comment
I made across the table
dressed in a suit,
               Just be kind to us
my reference to professional conduct
but you heard it as
              Just be kind to me

We began with discussions of
poetry and art
over coffee and cigarettes,
            a middle of
my legs spread from
one side of a room to the other,
                          ended with you leaving
while I carried our child
        under my breastbone.

Perfection exists in balance
of all things,
handing trust to your lover
because they know
             what it means,
how fragile its beauty-
          for them to break it,
scattering       shards
like a trail of breadcrumbs
               that I must follow
to put myself back together.

I heard your voice calling
through the distance,
remembering becomes rose tinted
I loved you so deeply,
              I love you
for making me a woman
want to lay myself out for you

yet it always was toxic
                 it always was toxic,
chimes the voice
speaking slowly
calling this masochist to prayers.

Copyright: Samantha Ledger 2011

everything to nothing

She used to be pretty but lived
as she dreamed
dreamed as she lived,
never speaking unless
spoken to,
simply holding fragments of
herself and a worn book
of scribbling by poet unknown.

Not knowing how to read
she stared endlessly
at the contrast between ink and paper,
losing herself
too often
between the lines.

Her voice was slow like honey
thick but with a bitter

Strangers remarked
upon passing in the street
of her likeness to someone
they once knew,
or seen captured
on celluloid,
turning for one more look
only to see an empty space...


...have you ever found yourself
waking from a dream
with the metallic taste of blood
in your mouth,
only to realise you have bitten
you own tongue
in an effort to wake.

I used to scrawl out visions
in a notebook with chewed edges,
lines of poetry that came to me
before reality grounded creativity
through gravity and a sense
of someone next to me breathing,
as they dissipated- the words
I would gnaw the pen to stave of hunger            
turning my lips blue,
a sure sign of suffocation.

I danced a jig to my own voice
out of tune and semi dressed
just to raise a smile from my daughters
pink lips and gap toothed mouth,
the shrieks piercing
through a three day hangover,
limbs pencil thin wrapped in paper
all before I fell inward -
onto my own sword I had sharpened
only that very morning.

I have given nothing to everything
everything to nothing ,
emptiness keeps me full
and I no longer speak
unless spoken to,
or write and I have forgotten
how to read.

of sisters

She spoke in a song in a tongue
not of our mother
through a determined narrative
of spite and menstrual blood,
                gorged at fates own eye
until he was blinded from seeing her.

Hope spoke slowly for we did not understand
how to grip tightly to her coat tail
through wind and rain
                a bitterness of a long December,
when we woke in April nothing looked
as it had done when birth was new,
fresh scents of afterbirth
sickly sweet        tender tendrils.

                I cut the umbilical cord
before it wrapped around my neck
she carved the date under her skin
                so we could not forget,
I folded away skirts and blankets
no need for them again
                under the weight of disgrace.

She held the knife close as we swore
promises skyward           in defiance,
I have scrawled down her laments
                in fingerprints and coded lists
of names and atomic numbers,
there is no balance to us
                drifting from place to place
invisible as the day we merged,
she is my voice
                we are sisters.

our night

I can hear the Murder Ballads
                playing on repeat in the background,
he asks if we should walk hand in hand
talk about Proust or why I scrawled red paint
across the canvas             or how the cadence of my words
evokes sentiments as it does.

My only answer is to shrug and give a hand over,
there is no reply to questions I don't understand
they simply are                 or have been    or will be.

                Baritone whispers call across sheets
of a bed never wide enough
                or close enough                                the clear space between us
dissipates until the need to sleep claims me
for it's own fantasy,
                then there can be no connection
physical or otherwise.

Slight touches to a shoulder from time to time
calm timid mutterings                    to sooth,
lightness weighed to perfection
or else lights must be switched on
to remind us (we) of our geography,
wardrobes and shadows illuminated to prove
non existence of monsters.

Or we face the three am wail of the banshee
dragging us from sweet dreams,
only the tight force of arms ropey
from years of yielding horses to a halt
can contain thrashing     screaming,
the deep sounding hush, hush, hush
                you are here I am...me(he)...you are safe
I will never let you go...

                let me go, let me go
                                please, please, please...
                echoes frailly from a mouth.

He will not relinquish      for fear of consequences
until my breath has         sl-ow-ed              to an exhausted pace of after ,
loosens then his cramping limbs.
It could be moments      it could be hours,
I feel like a child                                become one,
while ours sleeps in the next room

By morning it shall be forgotten
                no need for words or explanations
over coffee and cereal
                half chewed toast and the babble
passing over four teeth.

Until tonight,
                when we combine again under feathers
and cotton          to dance electric,
                before others come to claim me as their own.

the fugue state

She has been lost in a fantasy
of horses running across furrowed fields
                riding her out to the sea,
clinging to a muddied mane
                thighs gripped naked around a belly
thinning               starved                 but still his gallop
        is like the wind

I  kneel in sand
waves breaking across my back
already I feel the salt stinging
wounds believed heeled,
 I cannot see my own spine
resent looking over my shoulder
in states of hyper vigilance

I dream of chasing myself
                across deserts searching for water
only to wake with a mouth full of
frogs climbing over each other
sliding down my throat
                coating it with secretions

I have tired pushing six fingers
from two hands inside
in an effort to remove them
but end only with blooded fingers
chewed to bone and nail.

And she says,
                shall I get you something
to take away the taste

                Twenty five years I have been waiting
for someone to offer to prize them out,
only to realise they cannot
do more than bear witness
to the unravelling of them
from my tongue.

I have an obsession with sharps,
pieces of broken glass
collecting them
                tucking them away
just in case
                just in case
I do not wake from the fugue state.

cuts to bone

When it cuts to the bone how does it feel...
                ...I can't recall - I am all bone...
...are you constantly bleeding...
                ...only marrow and memories

There is an impromptu interlude
of improvised music,
a voice lilting into a groove
fashioned from off key notes,
 crooning sounds of inhumane behaviour
spun from fibres and redden tissue
rubbed too hard
for too long so its shine has
worn to a mottled russet.

She can be seen no longer (as herself)
 flesh painted with fingerprints,
                there is no Botticelli touch
brush strokes have been hard
                heavy with a pummelling motion
until purple pools
at the surface,
they say there  are four thousand tears to weep
under lace and sounds of Puccini

If we (I am, I do) feel the raging passion of perversion
laid out across an abdomen
scars open to the air
who will pick over the remains,
                I fear I cannot stay here long enough
to hold onto myself (lovingly)
without holding my head under water
                beyond the count of one hundred

After years of solitude...there is an urge to breathe you
back to life
allow you to do it all again.
                They say...it must be so

I have been to Venus
                and back
but fear I have lost myself somewhere in the middle,
I am reaching my own event horison
laying hererupturing thoughts,
                should have known better
than to stand my ground,
there was a delicate intricacy
in the beauty of uncertainty.

an eternal ocean of violence

Born in January when days were black
night could not be discerned from day,
my mother wept when they opened my legs
to see the lack of masculinity,
I could not grow the meat
to sustain her hunger,
laid instead
out as sacrificial lamb.

I used to wish you never gave me away
into a martial bed,
dressed as a small china doll
watching Him gather a vision
of lace and taffeta,
there were no hymns or hymen in those long nights.
I would rather have slept in the disused pig pen
great uncle could have castrated me,
I would have happily
watch the virginal blood spilling
all the way back to the slaughter house.

Daughters are dreaming
I can hear their confessions
seeping through walls
under pressure of deep sleep,
guilt under finger nails
mingled with the dirt and sin.
History will not repeat
under this roof,
the song of a night lark resonates from walls
as if I had caught and caged her,
I am the only caged animal here.

The wildness of my history gnaws
at womanhood and breasts
reminding me of femininity       
desire for my own kind,
awakening a long deeply drawn ache
running from nipple to navel and down
beneath folds of motherhood.

I cannot dance but have mastered an art
of choreographing myself into contortions
giving an observer insights of disordered chaos,
they come into the umber of my being
come under skin and lay deep
within me.

Where is truth.

Upon the shore she rests
 a woman bruised from the rolling of the sea,
breathing desperately,
despite herself,
her last moment  washing over her.
Naked but for the small amethyst
around her neck,
a noose or a idol of sobriety.
There are no words heard above the noise,
only the roar of water raging
against its own defiance.

There is nothing between us now,
but an eternal ocean of violence.