Writing by Will Staveley. Illustration from Unsplash.
I waking up
Horizontal in a foetal bed
Blanketed as sand-time in snow;
Life geotropically planted in the yellow haze
Clawing up and out and sideways
Would sway like reeds, yet the frost conveys
No sound of wind to make it so.
II in order
Everything is placed on the table.
Wrapped in compartments of five-papered walls
Recalling a clipping of the conkers we keep
Plodding like memory in the cloisters of sleep
The surfaces clean, the wound but skin deep -
A paper peristyle lining papered halls.
III found again
Some playthings are for foraging forward;
All souvenirs, for searching back;
As if ink never faded, clarity
Never followed innocence out to sea -
There waits for us all in the unlocked quay
A foremost feeling of unfelt lack.
The books have been arranged in spiral
Words and their underlines came and went
Outwards from an unwritten start
(Meanings are half-remembered at heart)
For what is left over is only in part
And obliterates each page, blackened and spent.
There is a window to an outside world
Where watercoloured sun runs always to blue;
Systolic the separation and the pane within,
It opens and closes as pores of the skin -
Sweating out smoke and swallowing sin,
Pleading and promising to make it new.
On one side, history’s yellowed corners;
Desirable residencies desirably lit,
Each crossroad once a charming prospection
With streetlights smashed at the intersection.
I think we wander more into self-deception
Than memory’s map might like to admit.
On the other the city is growing in light
Selling its symbiotes fortune and fame
‘Non-zero-sum game’, or so it was sold
Losing selves in the streets which are soon grown old
With a blanket of smog for the self left cold
And each new number the blot of each new name.
Yet somewhere still out in the unseen sky
Above, or behind all this Daedaline red
The paint of consciousness, in peeling,
Shatters towards a shard of feeling
Hung in a monad of moment revealing
These are no rooms, but a system instead.