Monday, 29 May 2017

Three Poems by Sarah Cave

The Lyrical I Negotiates Her Own Mortality With the Lyrical You

You tell me what poetry is like
what makes you keep turning the page,
reading to the next line.
You’re not much interested in what keeps me

reading. I’ll try
to be an unexpected line
break or sudden change of
rhythm – experiment mistaken for error – or
wanting to recreate the texture of time on the page;

vellum beneath gloved fingers.
Ours is a Freudian text they say. I roll my eyes;
tired of reduction. I can’t help thinking
                                                                              ‘it might be true but hardly needs saying.’

I’m conscious of how,
as a teenager, I got Nabokov wrong. You tell me you don’t like Nabokov.
You tell me you don’t like Proust either.
I say I don’t care. I do.                                         
You tell me you think it’s time I undress
and that stripping naked ‘should be a decisive action’

when nightless days unravel – Ada
is found material                                                    ‘you’re exhausting’.
under an arbour,
mirror reflection torn
upside down bug-like,
her black underbody
glistening in the midnight sun
– you impart only this,

that love-making ‘should always feel wrong’                     

Nabokov rolls his eyes, carries on pinning 
a blue-black moth – an acquisition still wriggling – to the paste board.

Sister Felix’s Love Poem

He doesn’t tell Felix she’s culpable for the red breach
that has occurred in time visible
from the top of the tower.
She lies transparent
in another man’s arms; a human sacrifice
burying her past transgressions
in His Selected Works: illustrated,
She sits and waits

and while doing so, consults
an online self-improvement article
that suggests she make love to his mind.
Felix chews the end of her pencil –
unsure – she wonders whether
the non-corporeality of the deity
has been accounted for
by the website’s contents team.

A message in her inbox reads: our formal structures
                                               of meeting
                                               are now dissolved
Felix sighs, ‘always so cryptic.’

He and Felix learn to navigate
blue-sky, their brief moments
of fusion; a burning barn at dusk.

He leans in like a Tarkovsky shot,
rough hands/textured time, lovingly
tracing the linear lines
of her collared dove narrative – Felix’s trajectory
toward death –  read as notes on nakedness
into a tape-recorder.
His way of journaling, on long car journeys,
the sound of sun and wave in synthesis.

A sister’s mortality is a line break illuminated rough surface sacrifice
Nabokov’s star fusion lovingly traced in meter misses
planet sized target unsure of an unrest tied to a lovemaking
as exciting as an end-line strike through
a non-corporeal Proust answers the phone
in his undergarments and unravels the structure of the sun
in a series of lectures he cuts and pastes
the sun-rolls into insect-excess to the wall
and he asks his students to turn the contents of the universe
– his trousseau – into a linear narrative.
He’ll give them till midnight
to come up with some suggested art-actions.
In the meanwhile,

workshop-Freud makes synthesis eyes at Oedipus
whose naked nightlessness consults
Proust’s pencilled self-improvement
he is conscious of archiving
his skin’s marginalia etched into
the page-turns of the day
where he finds Elektra’s severed hands
textured lyrical rhythmic
finger waves stilled in night’s nakedness
culpable acquisition equals moments
moments midnight messages moments – 
bible-thin – email fragments of the chapter
on the second law of thermodynamics
decisively undress recreate deification
in five-act structure realise mother
was only dusk disapproval
don’t acknowledge error.
Nabokov’s hard dark eyes reveal her culpable night-filled nakedness.            Jerk.


Sarah is currently studying for an MA in poetry at Royal Holloway. She has had poetry, reviews and stories published in magazines including Oxford Poetry, Tears in the Fence and Shearsman, as well as a small pamphlet, Cast on Ice, published by Smallminded Books and a chapbook about the annunciation published by Analogue Flashback. Sarah was recently poet-in-residence at Cyprus Well for the Charles Causley Trust.

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