An excerpt from

Waking into Dream

Roz Kaveney

1983


Hung in closed cupboards of my dozing mind

Or on their shelves, frocks shoes I used to wear.

No moth no broken heel no hems that tear

Nail catch dance step. I left them all behind

Months clean sheets bandaged bled out cut and sore

Doing my face in bed so I'd look well

For visitors. Whore face I'd paint to sell

Now reassuring friends. Ached to the core

Of who I'd been weak tired sad gross from bloat

Dance done I thought. And had not learned that charm

Would bring blonde cuties floating on my arm

I wish that I could send sick girl a note

Things work out fine. Wear black from head to toe.

It slims. And other things she'll need to know.



ON LIGHT


Sentience basks where crystals just reflect.

Blind kittens stretch and mew into the sun

Soft pressure on their skin. There's straight lines run

From us out to the Oort. And intellect


Is only part. The dance skin bits and dust

Dance beams in shutter sudden open rooms

The hopeless loss choke premature dark tombs

We yearn for its eye stroke. It is a lust


Lash feather kiss on cheek is just its shade

First and last thing controlling metaphor

Exploded monobloc nothing before

Fire of all green, virtue's discerning blade


We do not know it yet it is our world

Round it and time mind lies in comfort curled



LONDON


Night in a city that has licked its wounds

Two thousand years. And curls around its kits

Feeding and grooming heroes cowards wits

Lovers and killers. Always quiet sounds

As traffic purrs dim cat lights in the street.

Windows are dark in darkness curtains drawn

So many million. City I was born

In your warm heart my first breath to its beat

And hope to die according to your laws

Breathing your scented passioned poison air

Surrounds me chokes me black dust in my hair

I drink dark milk protected by your claws

Gog Magog Bran and dragons in the stone

You gave me all the words I write breathe own.



ASLEEP


Her breathing on that last day soft and slow

A little troubled moments then to calm

And back to sleep. I reached and stroked her arm.

Was that we both were there something she'd know


Or had that passed? Eyes flicked from side to side

Hearing two voices. Did she recognize

That I was there? She looks up and then tries

To wake a little. On the train, I cried.


And I had said goodbye and so had Jane.

It was we did not know last of her days

There is the last word that a person says

They tire. Drugs sleep and death the end of pain.

Last glimpse her sleeping face closed eyes her skin

Against the bedding pale white paper thin.



AMERICA


Dance in the dark, green shimmer, outstretched leg

Inspiring muse yet moll the toe tap beat

Ragtime and rivets, burning torch to greet

Strangers, dear tawdry land I will not beg


That you fulfil your promises, our dreams.

The best of hopes most nightmare of despairs

Shining and stained a fantasy of home

Pancakes and bacon mirrorshading chrome

Striped zootest suits that anybody wears


By of and for yet choking on bloodgold

I could not breathe there where was near first free

Twirled in your air you beat charmed ravished me.

I heard the stories that your victims told


And yet your better angel at your ear

To save, while it's your demons we all fear.



THE MYSTERIOUS PEDLAR


Mum's cousin Jean had cheekbones like sharp knives,

And eyes dark passion brown as the old song.

We often get these speculations wrong

But bits of us get passed down through their lives

The ancestors of whom we hardly heard.

He was a pedlar who got sick and died

My great great grandma kneeling at his side

Who nursed him. And we don't know what occurred.

Nose aquiline and cheekbones in my blood

Irish potato face grandfather's height

My aunt's imagination these things might

Explain me. We aren't made of sun-baked mud

But generations handed flesh and bone

Remembered family and those unknown.



IN MEMORY OF THE RED ARMY CHOIR


White snowberry deep birch wood.Crisp pure white

snow crunches under soldier boot. They sing

Joy wistful angry shouting whispering

Tenor to pierce the soul bass deep as night.

Her brown black sparkle eyes bright as her soul

Or crops that waver endless as the sea

Rich deep black soil grave of each enemy

Each generation and their voices roll

Like rivers through the heart blood workers red

Patriots shed on every inch of ground

Massage our ears that fierce and healing sound

Bayan and balalaika. And they're dead

And singers die and there is still the choir

To say the land's eternal death's a liar



AFTER RILKE'S Archaic torso of Apollo


We cannot guess its head god glaring gaze

Apple round ripe carved eyes. But yet the stare

Persists inherent in those pecs. It's there

Glows through stone muscles like the turned down blaze


Arclight could blind. There gentle still it burns

Warm as the sweetness of the sudden smile

That comes with loin thrust, glows continues while

The body shows self glimmers as it turns


Unwhole unshamed remaining still complete

White stone that dazzles sheen as silken skin

God like a star that burns from deep within

Its every inch a friendly face to greet

Admonish you voice echo out of far

Far distant time. Be other than you are



FOR LOUISE


We are the thoughts that we can recollect

Persist and pulse the beat of melting clocks

Chase as it disappears bright tail of fox

Strutted as owned the park. Time vulture pecked


Her from herself. Her beauty nail sharp wit

Lasted until it did not when the glass

No more showed her her self. And these things pass

Clouds bubbles memories. I'd like to hit


Time in the face so hard. All summer long

She played the same damn record Tapestry

Weaves mighty real taste of the Earl Gray tea

Poured endlessly. And still the same old song.


She is not here. Was not before her death.

Yet in my mind laugh smile and husky breath.