Roller Disco

Did I grow up in a circus?
Clearly a clown, coin-fed;
acrobats, sequins, a roller rink…
Clearly knife-throwers –
gangs aiming for my father’s head.
He wore a disguise, an identikit.

Bulldozers grazing Odeon chairs,
ephemera of the flicks.
Recces of upstairs rooms –
guanoed sills, a Spider-Man figure,
Mad Max memorabilia,
a hint of perfumes, hairdos…

Unhomely. At the grand opening
I lost myself, far side of the rink
under a glitter ball,
before skaters performed,
while mum mopped the entrance hall.
I’d go off on wheels –

a ghoul drawn to where, last night,
ribs broke on a barrier.
They told me tales –
a body walled up, unearthed in the work.
It wasn’t in the news.
Or of a ghost or two.

Was it a haunted house?
The balcony’s tasseled curtain:
the site of a tragic fall.
The silver of those strips, they’d twitch
on a breezeless upper floor –
the dark behind it. Then distracted:

after stories of cold spots,
chairs stacking up, unseen hands –
father busy with partners –
I moved to ankles, thighs, skirts
by a changing room door.
Was I the ghost? Was I always alone?

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Another Kind of House

From scratch, a house built from the ruins up
follows no architectural plan, save for what’s
dreamt over several times. No-one I say in their
right mind would climb that staircase, unsure
steps, less than a match for what’s safe, abstract.

At the shop I grab only greys and whites,
sometimes greens for the lichened parts.
As cement, the studs go fine; though the
shapes are make-do, unhewn for the task.

It’s devised as a homage to Lovecraft, rooms
within rooms, alcoves, and a walled-up cat.
I’ve hinged it like a doll’s house, so its doors
can be swung open to sunlight, or lamplight
might trail through the table legs, a strange star.

Residents thus far comprise of a mermaid,
a gingerbread man, a cliché ghoul in Day-Glo
sheets. I proceed on the basis of metaphor.
Or is this my actual house?, come to think.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Selfies

No one takes a photo at a funeral.
Forgetting is all that’s real.
Whereas, for you, each pic’s a reminder
that part of you is dead.
You pose as if sight lives,
like you’ve painted, each time,
false eyes over eyelids,
and still know, precisely, how light
prints, done selflessly, for my benefit.

Each time, click, an archivist,
filing jpegs on folders of my Seagate.
One-sided: you have no say
in the lighting, no sense of which angle,
I think, shows off your
better side. Take this one:
finger-flashing your engagement ring,
us doing that cheek-to-cheek thing.

Custodian of this solo gallery,
have I robbed your life review,
pried into a preview of unseen
arms-entangled images, of us,
lived perhaps twofold or more
intensely? While each selfie
gets blown to the back of your brain –
the darkroom of your settee –
there’s me: each evening bereaved,
a widower, prizing thumbnails,
dense with everything. As I describe
to you my smile, it seems –
how can I say it? – your blindness
rehearses the grief we’ve denied.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Out of Season

We didn’t look at the sky once
as jets drowned out our lips on the precinct.

We talked of upcycling bookshelves
out of larchlap fruit crates;
how to haiku the sun through toy windmills.

Of all days we had to visit, an airshow!
It spoiled our love for the derelict.

We fretted over candy sticks, gelaterias,
dodderers, strollers, queues for candy floss.

With hotels booked up, the crowd to be lost,
we nudged past machismo-camouflage,

lads with dads (what chance do they have?) –
to a sublime expanse, towards the esplanade.

We didn’t look at the sky once.

We held hands, circled a closed-down
amusement park, fenced-off,
rides stopped, arcade machines unplugged.

We, in recession-hit Southport,
agreed how we preferred the ghost train shut

for carousel horses to stay in shadow

dodgems to remain passengerless

the crazy golf course to blow its paper cups.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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The Bitter End

No, this will never beat us,
when she’s moaning, rocking for morphine.
I say to you – who’s insidious, hides cowardly
along the linings of organs – that love will win;
love will grow stronger with each howl
it puts her through. Love will win, it must
and if sickness assumed a form
we’d beat you to a pulp.
A slanting wind starts in our side room,
ceiling tiles gently lifting

as though there’s a spy above us.
The wind, like arms around the room,
moves over her bruise, syringe bruise,
threads through the wiring.
It suggests I take my chance to say everything.
The wind roars through summer windows.
She sleeps as though painlessness
is all that matters; my creaking voice
recedes through shutters.
Nurses add a dose for the driver.

O for her it’s respite;
though I wanted her to hear my tears.
No concealment between lovers.
Her kidney drains amber
like sun on the sky’s spires.
I hold back from stroking her bangs
as once I might. I see her socks twitch
in search of the sheet’s touch.
Her abdomen, stitched like a doll,
is a battle of zigzags.

I dare you to show yourself – sadist, bastard
Are you the one who taunts
through the window slats?
I watch her nose-tube steal milk from her stomach.
I catch her angel-face like once on my pillow.
This must be what it means to die well.
The air is clearer, and my tears
have dried on my face like cellophane.
Shamelessly I wear them, my only protest.
When she sleeps I write – and here is revenge.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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A Loss Either Way

How I hate to have to wake you
Sunday morning      like the man from Porlock.
Inside your dream      unspooling
feels the most sacred thing
even if spring is full of itself      near noon.
I can’t hold off from rousing you
giddy with our day ahead
the multitude of memories we could make.
Again that pang as you describe the cut
end of a tape      a story left unfinished
and never know now      ever again
where the truncated scene might have led.

So I step back to my notepad and pen
let your head fall back
to the sheet      redeem something at least
of my voice stealing from the soundless air
the far deeper intimacy of you
alone in a bedroom without me.
Just words on a page offer
some flawed equivalence      having broken off
from stroking your hand      saying your name
how our day will prove better
than where you’ve been      and return to again.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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Shadows on the Ceiling

Hers was a dark Japanese aesthetic. She was in love with the lacquerware, the secret lives of silhouettes – morning, evening, night – and against our bright Gestapo bulbs. She loved the shadow play of fingers between our candles and ceiling, usually making cockatoos or butterflies dance and move and twine; her giving a voice to what she called our son et lumière. Sometimes, more by chance, the candelabra would cast a spider or chess piece – a knight or horse’s head (and, like the nebula, we’d cherish it together). A puppet show would ensue around the rose plaster, while she mused on how erotic it was to show a little – an ankle or wrist – and how paleness is a virtue, how paleness was a virtue. I knew this to be beautiful. She juxtaposed our flesh, melanin, our limbs and skin tones almost identical. Beyond our bed, she made Shinto moves in the dark, praising the tiniest of trinkets, placing her faith in glints of moon in her eyes – serenading me with dreams of decoupage, bijou design, what she could do to lighten the dismal corners, adoring the web which appeared like a pylon. She’d glide through to the bathroom in a kimono, holding on to our sex – her sandalwood incense wafting in our perfect world; the kind of room she’d say where angels would descend to, push their noses in. That was then. Now, on my walls, the arching sun leaves tattoos (to remove them would leave a scar) and there’s ghosting tints in crannies and nooks. The lamps she left are still lit, though they scream, and paper blisters and peels where once we laughed. The lintel, cornice and shades, they’re changed; so too the mannequin heads, perfume, fishnets – feminine finery. I ask myself: what do I glean from these evening shadows – what does it mean to live in her place, loving such things, loving her, when it’s just me and sedation. Votive charms, her hands once here, her art like a bruise which goes unseen, a moth flittering on this pillow beside me, my heart at one with the entropy.

Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).

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