Friday, 8 November 2013

Leon's Proposal

Being a tin spoon of a man, I don't promise to be true. I am likely to stir things out of comfort. I am telling you this now, over our glass of shared sherry, so that you may understand something about me, before we broker any deals. I broke my promise and kept its pieces for a good long time in the striped jug. The I made the long journey from there to here. What sort of comfort is there in a life lived in translation? We must have had the trappings of a life, once: baby's slippers, wedding cake, fly-swats. But now the best that I can offer you is a broken shoe and three conkers.
You look wary. Come, lay your head upon my breast. can you hear the beating of the drums? It is my heart sweetly banging. I sometimes think it will go on forever, that it will still be drumming when the birds cease to sing, when the grass withers, when what's tucked under the ledge of your desire swells and threatens to drain the lake of your lust. Let me take you to the house of thirty sombre rooms. The bees have wintered there, sweetening the walls of their lives with their honeying. Come with me one weak white day and I promise we will be happy again.
Being a tin spoon of a man I cannot promise always to be true, to provide you with a bone-white aga, velvet cushions for your head or a patched sail for a bedspread. But I can bang the gong of heaven as it hangs in the sky. And I can ladle out happiness. And I can make something stir in you. Being a tin spoon of a man I have my uses.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Sky's New Season

Indifference to how the wise quicken slows Precious's breath. Eighty one birds fly from the ash tree's pewter chandeliers. The woodpecker draws near, rattling his castanets. Precious wants to turn down the amplification on the garden. They had said it might get loud, those whisperers with their lubricious hearts and their black-braided cloaks. The garden rotates under its frosting of stars, turns on its indifferent axis. Beneath her feet the dead decompose. She conducts the flow of energy through her body. Soil silts up the gaping eyes of the birds. She is afraid of them, afraid of their all-hallows cries and their ghostly flight. She spins again in the eleventh month, summoning them up. Here they come: the salt of the earth, the sky's new seasonings.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Precious Kills a Bird

It is a skimmed milk morning, breath rising through the apple trees, the sunshine beginning to slant through and stripe the world. Precious is down in the orchard, thinking up new ways to retaliate. She is hoping to make a discovery. A crow bounces onto the lawn, pecks for parasites and worms with his tin beak. Precious blinks her black eye, enters the meditative state that is a prelude to the kill. In the time it takes her to reach the bird, five bitter oranges have sweetened on the kitchen tray, the grass has straightened and bent again, and the daylight moon has slipped out from its shadow-shawl of cloud to observe the kerfuffle of feathers and claws. This is good. The day has already brought an improvement to Precious's mood. The wind blows in, aromatic, damp, a potion in the making. Precious lifts the blade to her lips, tests it against her tongue. She is ready now.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele