Issue 21: Geraldine Clarkson
[Sweet almond oil, shea...]
Sweet almond oil, shea, and butter of roses
baste the growing gloom, while evening—
like a poke bonnet of blue tulle—
covers the hill’s point. Still years stood out
like a human flower: a new breed and
balance set the clock in the Time Igloo
whitely to the hour when cuckoos called
and gossip passed from mouth to mouth
with a bite which was slow on the breeze.
And she continued to prey
on her visitors; spray crème de menthe
with footprints out of green paper and place
though mine might have fooled her—
she to whom a primrose was always yellow,
who dreamed ‘from rainbow clouds there flow
not …’ Inside, a secret room is tucked away.
Go through growing gloom—still years continue
and she to dream, to breed—imagine.
St John lost this prize-winning volume – The Blue Fairy Book, inscribed by his father. No music late at night from the Ark.
Mallory and Malachy breed for Egypt, seeking to populate pain. A mass of till, a chance moraine, brings a maroon quiet to the helm at dawn, a muted swoon. Lot looks out at last over a salty waste, his wife’s waist encrusted in memory, the round of it. Copper ceili drums kettle in at the corner, all music pickled for the time.
I would like – the captain’s wife began – her voice querulous, unruly, like whalers or pirates were trying to rein it in with harpoons, but it soared to land in an ashram, found a home in a chantress’s breast. Carry-on in the choir. Six exultant postulants pooled the evidence they’d pulled, ova and ova. But dark whistles and they can scarcely raise the purser. You wonderful electric being, the live-in widow coos to her landing lamp, lost in St Dominic and white.
No-er, no-er, mock the twins, twirling fake handlebars over the rails, a little off.
Doves squabble with olive boughs and boysenberries.
Methuselah rejuvenates sappy knees with aloe.
The rain starts up again, rats return. Michael Archangel loiters near the figurehead, stands ready. All the quiet earth bends its ear.
Vergüenza for D. H. Lawrence
Steamed shame and silence
on the train, all the way
up on the funicular high high
foxgloves and phlox running wild and
DHL steps out onto alpine gentians
blue blood whipping his core
his hands frail as a girl’s
skin pearled over knuckles
fingertips inquisitive, firm
Martha’s screwed-to-the-max jaw
just primed with condensed leche
champs on scandal with matrons
from Machu Picchu
the 5% which is matter
pluming out behind them
Geraldine Clarkson is a writer currently based in Warwickshire. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Shearsman, Tears in the Fence, Ambit, and POEM, among others, and she has three chapbooks (two with Shearsman Books and one with smith|doorstop). Her first full-length collection is forthcoming from Shearsman Books in 2019.
Copyright © 2018 by Geraldine Clarkson, 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.