Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk

 

COMMUNION

So flesh makes bread. Or is that wrong?
No; Iíve seen it done. The ring
forgotten on the sill; her arms, hands, shoulders
pounding dough. Autumn
swamp-heat in the kitchen;
yeast, flour, salt, and water;
time and pressure. Sweet philosophy
that breaks a breath
to emptiness
at first, and then
the thought of breath. The breathing,
stretching, rolling in and sealing.

Things learned early; not forgotten:
how far you can push it; when to take your hand away.
No damage done. Or have you ever
held a grape between the very tip of index finger and your thumb?
Now squeeze and see what happens.
Oh the years it takes to rot a grape
to wine. They bury them in green-glass tombs.
Leave them half a lifetime; longer. In the meantime
TV, war, free love, computers, lead-free petrol, mobile phones.

There is no time. The fug of school, work, pub, work; girls, girls, girls!
Such ugly words, but still
the light was beautiful that day.
It rained Ďtil three, or thereabouts. Whoās counting? Then the sun came out,
and we were ready. Nothing special.
Drank it, let the dust smear, read the label. French.
I think that someone spilled a glass. We laughed. I poured another.
Twice as old as me.
To think each grape once lived,
was picked, burst, bottled. That takes hands.
That takes someone. Someone did it.
Half an hour and it was empty, gone.





PROGRESS

Itís how we are, against the clock,
which hammers into early evening, jammed with
time, and all the time itās really, truly

happening, this carry-on. A patch of sunlight creeps
across a valley bottom; no-one sees it.
Someone laughs. A dart
thuds into double top; you look away. It is enough.
Such singular perfection in the maths of it,
the twist, flight, cock. That you should see it!
You who stood last night, enormous,
undefied; head back beneath the stars.
Who dared to shut your eyes.

They cannot do the same to you.
Nor do they remember.





HOW CAN YOU KNOW?

A smooth palm of
metal, slightly creased. We cross
the wires, a silent torrent:

                  I cannot see the
flow, but taste it. It is
biting a coin, pure nerve-fuck

heaven! And pain is just
a feeling.

When once I danced at
traffic lights ≠ I had been
up all night (and not alone.)

It was secret, yet I
carved our names into

                  the gravel
with my heel.





OPEN RETURN

Itís no big deal. You see, I got it wrong.
A place is bricks and mortar; plastic, steel.
Masses of it, piles of slabs;
miles and miles of filaments
and cables, wires. Asphalt acres,
timber, stone. Stacked metres high and metres deep.
The people? Well, they come and go.
Hey ho. And in a photo can you pick
the living from the dead? Hey ho.

So, o yeah baby, yeah yeah yeah,
it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
It goes right through you, like a knife;
or someone staring just too long
when you are nervous, on your own.
Oh I could tell you stories, but
Iíve learned to hold my tongue.

Donít think I donāt care, and
donít be frightened: hereís a piece
of common knowledge, just a little thought to help you sleep:

death comes to us all.

(at least so far). But itís ok, ok.
Everythingís ok, right next to you,
and driving, driving, driving, driving. Friday night.
Two hours in, and half-an-hour to go,
think back to Monday, seven-
fifty-four am, got up. Got shaved.
The usual routine, I cleaned my teeth, made coffee,
put a clean shirt on.
Sat down on the sofa, flicked

to channel one;
caught the five-day forecast. Three days sun;
and then a great black hedge of heavy weather
rolling out across the map. (The weathergirl
apologises; says I should dig out
my winter wardrobe.) She donít know me!
Doesnít know
I love this moment, just exactly when
we hit the moors,
the clouds slam down.
I put one hand on yours; you smile,
and far across the hill a light comes on.





INSERT THE WORD

Insert the word, the
word being this: horse.
A handful graze
the carpet, still
as field horses.

See them leap now
in my hands, all
my words leaping.



                  © Huw Jones 2003