Issue 17: Chris Kerr
Toilet Water Cycle
Ex-perfume exits the apprentice
as pee. It makes the porcelain ring
like the bell above the shop door
before a break up. A dropped flacon’s shards
are small enough to be lapped safely
by a dog on the way out, unnoticed
because clean. Its owner will sweetly recall
his new ex’s natural scent as neutral:
sweat on the gear stick when coasting.
The sharp aromas of a handful of petals
mark the vertices of that odourless gem.
‘Calibrate your receptors, first to dust,
then crushed jasmine. Proceed
to rock salt. Last, seal them to all
but the fermenting bacteria.’
So Jacques Polge learned to smell
at Grasse. In time the perfumer could
make a boulder on the expanse shrink
to a beach pebble with a splash or spray.
At 37°C his Coco
has met kiss temperature in the vial.
Such a hot day leaks from the veins
of full-bodied flowers at the window
that they don’t bother with allergens.
Esters evaporate and drip down again
in the bottle, circling a woman’s name.
His formula bathes in a white file
in a hard drive whose fan twirls.
A pipette of MSG, chased with dry ice,
unglues smell from taste a touch.
She counterfeits perfumes
against the musk of patent libraries,
sniffing out the unique specimens
those books press. The unknown
ingredient is the unreachable, erogenous
pixel she skirts: the doppelgänger
that makes exes more bitter.
She drinks. Tonight she leaves the flute
in her garden under a cold front.
Some raindrops have a sweet aroma,
others sour. Two freeze
like nostrils to the glass.
For whosoeuer axeth, receaueth (1)
fills the bleachers
all the way back from the beach
of their use.
Between the flags
the distant pee
of some refugee
off another continent
is just felt as warmth
by you and I under the seat
of our pant.
Staying inside frosty breath
my cries mesh
and you sees there you
really are too wet to ax
surfers for aid
After tests on the recent sea
a celebrity walks on heavy water
buoyed by the extra neutrons.
They calls it Galilee.
(1) Myles Coverdale Bible, Matthew 7:8.
The model posed glassless
in the doorway
and said ‘make my spine hiss
at both ends
like a python partly
in a frying pan.’
The photographer clicked
until her nose bled.
She went to the bathroom,
came back, and it started again
and he muttered ‘yes,
that’s more’. She felt lighter
though her blood loss
undoubtedly made her
volume grow slightly
as it fell on her,
which was regrettable.
The photographer hallucinated
smears drawn from anorexic
Type A fingers on her top,
meaning you can’t use this:
it’s personal. It isn’t.
It was a male model. Sober too.
He was always finishing his
with words like ‘faecal transplant.’
The hardness scale meters rocks
out of hardiness, other ground stuff,
and a dampness after the flood
that waits as shadow for body parts.
When you look into the near-mirror
of Obsidian glass you soften
into Pliny’s busting elephant head
so hurl it (cliff face) off the wall.
Light shatters in continents of urine
in a novel way at this age
not seen since before the Cretaceous
whether you check the chart or not.
Chris Kerr’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Ambit, Oxford Poetry and Under the Radar. He recently completed an MA dissertation on Basil Bunting’s poetry at Durham University. Chris is currently working on a collaborative code poetry book. He is a trustee of Magma Poetry and has guest edited an issue of Meniscus.
Copyright © 2016 by Chris Kerr, 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.