Poetry

On Living: Poems by Abigail George

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On Living

Nothing can mend my heart
Not string and I can’t glue it back together again
Only do this I tell myself – write a poem
That narrative is interspersed with both despair and hope
The silence that follows me everywhere I go
Is the natural home of poetry
Your voice has departed from this world
Like the contours of a memoir
Providing an escape from reality

All I can say is this: once I knew what love was
And my world was bright and lit up like gold.

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Untitled

1.

Funny when intimacy turns up
Around the first time I feel hurt
The rub of love and its substance
What harm you’ve caused – it’s alive!
You are my friend old suicide
You are my most unusual friend
The origin of the sun has disappeared
There are such things as ghosts
God look what happened
To Kevin Carter and Ken Oosterbroek
Past is past (it no longer exists in this world)

2.

We drink cocktails and eat sushi
The cocktails taste like lemonade syrup
Rain pours down pure and liquid
Like a ghostlike fluid
Walking around the house
In the dead of the night
It comes back (it always does)
Her hair was longer than I remembered
From the last time I was here
Home, home, home (note to self) bury the hatchet
Stop grinding the axe

3.

I tell myself to stop grinding my teeth
I tell myself the future is now
The contours of which do not escape me
So I’ve said the past is the past
And the future is now
I belong in a wilderness
I must make my camp out there
He cuts me and it feels as if
He is cutting stone digitally
It doesn’t matter that he inspires poetry
I call him hope, detachment, lovely

4.

I must build a fire
A fire that will keep me warm
I must make a camp
Away from the laughter of fish
Those brave little souls gulping water
Down their throats
Gasping for it
(There I’ve said it)
I’ve said it all parrot-fashion-like
The fox’s fur is red but it is not real
It is a beautiful thing in the silence

5.

Look at these interiors
They are not made of glass
Look at how they shine
Illuminate the reality I live in
That is as real to me
As the book I am holding in my hands
This is not an Englishman’s childhood
An American, an Australian’s or African one
Look at it from an exile’s point of view
An exile who has adopted foreign mannerisms
And mannequins and who now lives in a mansion

6.

Everything is fresh and new
In the wonderland of this adopted country
Where I am left to wonder at the laughter of children
Oh I’ve learnt how to make enemies
Seems easier to make them than to undo
That frayed knot and the tension there
The fish are at the gates ready to surf
To harvest their way into the paradise of heaven
How quick and disorienting their words are
How flushed their skins as they relearn the history of violence
How to detach themselves from underwater exploration

7.

As I stand and wait for you
At the other side of the river’s edge
You are poetry, a bridge and a turning point
You are poetry inspired by the birch, a portrait, salt and light
You are two untitled poems, a haiku, love set in an edge
You’re a portrait of a second-mother
I can’t hear or see you anymore – it is an injustice
Your face though is still a flower and laughter set on pause
You’re an ink drawing of a muse-goddess crossing
The most high, most angelic, the best of intentions
Across the waters to get to me.

********************

The Argument

Perhaps it was about money
Or somebody’s ego got in the way
Of the truth of the matter
The bedroom door was closed and it was late
I remembered she wore pearl earrings (took it out much later)
She was without shame and burden
My face from childhood is a moon and it burns me to say this
To give this confession that I have kept from the world since then
My face from childhood reminds me of a ripe watermelon
Her brown eyes, it gave the game away, the adult game.

********************

Thy Name Is Empire

I watched us grow apart
Like I watched the clowns at the circus
As a child

The ringmaster was a warrior
A politician under the Big Top – almost shamanic
And everybody was turned into a freak

Now my childhood laughter
Is nothing but the shell of a balloon going up
Up, up and up into flame or ether

Take your pick
From the material of my heart
All the instruments are there

For you to cut into me with military precision
I can’t see you anymore (don’t remember the color of your eyes)
Come back to criminal me

Along with moving beyond
Belonging and the usual roosting stuff
I waited for you (was this some crime)?

You taught me lessons
The meaning of the word family
Breathed life into me

Reminded me of life like
Earthquakes, burned bridges, salt, the Mona Lisa
Decay and climate change

If I forget imposing you I would forget self
I have made it to the other side of the river
And the world is not as large as it seems.

********************

Undamaged

For art to be accomplished
There is a game of hide and seek
Intelligence mingling with wit, bravado
Mingling with the honest pride of a child
For truth to be told it is hard for art to be perfect
To the neglected writer
Pretty words every one like a horse

For the feminine woman to be accomplished
Oh she smokes a slim cigarette
Never knew that about her
She is funny too
Beautiful and determined
Not to put on any weight
She says things like,

‘I don’t trust myself with you’
She was a lover long before she became a mother
Stupid forsaken girl who wishes to be redeemed
Not left on the shelf for years, turned mean.
She says things like,
‘I’m done with you’

And so I come to jealousy and the wounded heart:

I see my rival (she is magnificent)
I am her superior but not confident
And love surely did not come with your light
Your source is a ballad, a sonnet, an honest river
Displaced like a mariner
You left me and not the other way round
You did not teach me kindness.

In the pursuit of happiness on earth
The stakes are staggeringly high
And I am not a dedicated woman
Amongst dedicated men who dominate
Day and night, day and night
I keep watch over unplanned things
Threads connecting to one another
And the otherness of humanity.

********************

(c) Abigail George

Image: freeimageslive.com

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