Issue 17: Adam Burbage
North Devon Journal
Saturday 10th September, 2011 - Saturday 17th September, 2011
i) M4 (Bristol and the South West) under an x-ray sky, scarecrow miles erase themselves, finding
our vanishing point encrypted in the pale noon a skeleton of
a rib , a femur, the body, blond in the silence, hewn of hope, chance, and dust
ii) Northam in the sea i see scripts, high behind the end of land the tight, white crests
of waves gentle thunder, the ocean found in her unerring patience
iii) North Devon Television Aerial bleary sentinel, heavy with a day’s weather likewise our
comfort is rescinded i must think my way into my rapture
iv) Instow think blue, in all its constellations from the thick, hewn granite of the estuarine
tide, to the close, blue light in the air, which is like radiation, emitted in the relation of the sun and air,
leaving everything infused.
we walk against the grain of the sand tired and complacent in low tide happy to inhabit its
corkscrew memories, turning ever outwards when the wind begins turning up sheets of sand and
dust we retreat the 800yds or so to the safety of the car.
v) The Cedars Inn a hint of glass in the air (a function of the conservatory maybe?) suggested
in the sharp rises of sunlight, rendered catatonic by the close glass, that climb over our table, and
languish in the spent heat of the morning. you break cover by its being sidelined, alert to its spoiled
bounty, thorough and dishevelled winter shower comes crowing under the wrinkle of noon dreamy,
high music at table.
vi) Fever hot blood skin like lizard wings / angel hair even the
darkness tires, the bounds are high tonight dawn falls over the room like cherry blossom
vii) Sam is always , not never , not instead, but because , always is
viii) Home we clear the swollen grammar of our crisis in time to find the day loosen, and why it
isn’t later no longer concerns us Tiverton is forsaken, and in its way, Taunton after it. We find the
landscape is cancelled like a chain of crying candles. Long is the way back, shorter is the way
out, and don’t we know it, She sd.
less a pause than a breath, or at least
the time it takes
to hold your breath as
long as it takes, to decide
which of your certainties
to discard, and how to encrypt
when you say anything
– walking now, in blanket copper sun, hair
snagged like crooked
your collar –
it is the loneliness of a
certain composure you see
not its opposite, that, no one has
in this movement
the sun gathers like high tide
and you’re getting your feet wet
pacing the loosening frost
and you have to move
adjust your shadow
still sitting with the car door open
what could be less easy than imagining this
any other way
this then is love,
this is freedom
on what has been a tall morning.
The sun on your face
the sun on your face sparks a thousand
chemical reactions, heat’s even pressure
deserted by your body’s mistrust of
harmony. I reach, and find myself
curtailed in the stark hurt of the day’s
white spaces, the eye’s find, and
what about you, you say, and I don’t
respond immediately, but only keep
walking long enough that we are far
enough apart to warrant stopping.
loose, drawling smog are pinpricks
against the line of our incursion. there
are dreams start like this that narrate
lifetimes, if I’d let them. I was born
unprepared, and so it has remained.
a colourless breeze tracks against
the mean terrain, & how I know all this,
the product of what, I couldn’t say
except words drive like thundered atoms
anticipating storms, and I have never
felt more understood than I do now
or less in need of it, standing with you
without words, minds shaped by a
memory of theft as rain lightly falls.
we are looted, but splendid in the smooth
cancelled music of omission, of our busy love,
of 5pm, & a charming stalemate, reassured
that in the end, the only difference between
going on and turning back is which you decide to do.
Adam Burbage has published poems in Stride Magazine, Great Works, Like Starlings, Nth Position, and Shadowtrain, most of which can still be found online. He previously edited the now defunct online magazine Geometer, which can’t. He lives and works in Oxfordshire, where writing has to fit around other stuff.
Copyright © 2016 by Adam Burbage, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.