Blackbox Manifold

Issue 11: Denise Riley


What, put out on the motorway, will lumber twinkling across the lanes of hazard.

The dog’s lovability might rub off on it, when it hides in the straw of his kennel.

Sugared the hillocks of retrospective innocence, while acrid the sheer accidents

of a life, or were they.  They were.  Now yelps ricochet from a monolith, sat deaf

as is true to its nature.  It’s got nothing for which to atone, it’s the very end stone

in a long row of such silences.  For ‘a wounded spirit who can bear’ – tell me.  If

it is through finding your listener that you’d come to grasp your own monologue, 

where next should this call turn, massing and purpling as low thunder though just

whiny to stopped ears – could its heu not sink to phew, once its weepier appeals tail

off into sepia?  No, they’ll smoke and foam to whip up a god, or some secular god

who’d be kind to a damp petitioner, but how’s her or his correct name made flesh.

Speech-sounds descend, snag in the hair, then flap off to mouth their apostrophes.

A cry reels around, though it’s not a Cassandra’s but something more speaker-free.

There was and there is a life, I swim in it, but I wouldn’t say that it’s exactly ‘mine’.

Denise Riley lives in London. Her most recent book is Time Lived, Without Its Flow, Capsule Editions, London 2011.