And after

Vibrations in measuring cups

form salty sips that fall

on lips full of thoughts

now stifled upon the clock

and its heavier arms

that move, move harder

than smiles, the raising glass, and song –

better at marking time.

And where am I, in this

stripped within myself

for little more

than a hit

felt briefly on the knoll

before we tumbled like children

down the meadow hill

that was, could have been

but for the neuron fed

punches at the maw

opening upon ourselves.


Jarrod Bates


The Leprosy of Loss

“It fell from my lips like a broken arm,
Words like leprosy like drift wood
Piece by piece they float
A car crash in my mind and I can’t remember what it was..

I feel like an amputee, every time I look to see,
There’s nothing left, it’s gone
But I still mourn the leaving, still embrace the grieving…

Like winter it comes back to remind me of the cold
I breath a sigh of relief when I think it’s there
I breath a sigh of relief, but I know I’m wrong

The sun circles in the sky, like a lazy hawk,
Preying on the weak,
I pray for a week in the dark in my underpants
Mourning the parting,
I can’t digest it, it gets stuck like a coin in my large intestine,
Wiggling it’s way through the maze of my innards…

And every time I see lips smiling, my eyes spill over with tears,
Sometimes I gain control like a weir,
And the river is under my domain once again,

Sorrow is all of me, like my skin, it glistens all around,
threaten to drown me, smother me,
It clings to my bones,

But I am crippled by the loss, wheelchair bound where once I ran like a deer,
Tentative toes tap the hard ground, to see if maybe I can even walk again,
And when I collapse, I want arms to hold me….”


The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living*

I replace the phone,
walk down the hall to put washing on
turn the computer off
fill my car at the petrol station.
Everything somehow seems hollow
sunlight less bright
In the car, I’ll miss a right-hand turn
lost suddenly in the absolute red of a suburban garden rose.

In my mind I hear them screaming for you
Throwing futile ropes
Leaping boulders, tree trunks slippery with moss
The air is full of the rush and roar of the rapid
as you go over and under, I can’t picture your face
beneath the bright helmet, arms braced
against the white foam onslaught.

Or maybe it was peaceful
trapped against logs that became your cage door
shut, as the river pours through you.

I call friends and between us useless words
hang like overripe fruit.
In the privacy of the shower
as the water runs,
I stop and think
how the love of water took you to your grave.
Trapped in the still blue, like
Damien Hirst’s great powerful beast
hung motionless
all your vigor, youth, potency, gone.
You are a still life in my mind now
your death, unknowable, acknowledged.

for Leon (1980-2010)

(*with thanks to Damien Hirst)

Siobhan De Little