"Slow down," Mother says
as I struggle to wolf down
the chocolate muffin collapsing
in my hands. It is an asteroid
and they are the atmosphere.
Slowing down, I see the elements,
how things originally were.
Glimpsing at my mother in this space,
I watch her unravel back to its starting
point - becoming feint, almost unreal.
A sleight of hand.
He's the ideal flatmate: clean, tidy,
never drinks or smokes. Doesn't get music
but that's okay. I've learnt to stop staring
at his ears in case he grips my neck
and I collapse like laundry on the floor.
Some days, late at night, I hear him muttering
'Captain, Captain, Captain' into a shoe
and laugh to myself. Spock, fine as he may be,
doesn't make for the best company. Everything
has to be logical: call centres, mangoes, even sex.
My girlfriend says he's a pervert whenever sheÕs
around, that he leers at her in a strange way, as if
something is trapped under his skin and he's
desperately trying to get rid of it. Weirdo.
And, if you're wondering, never talk to him
about poetry. He bloody hates it. You can
almost smell the dactyls bubbling on his tongue
as he drones on, how illogical it is to describe
emotion on paper, before becoming still like a
heron about to dive into the dark of a pond
it has never seen before.
Filming The Beheading of Daniel Pearl
Week twelve. The special effects
guy has quit, citing Ôinsensitive
subject matterÕ. Asshole. $300k
down. Maryland is no Pakistan
but between the minaret-necked
cormorants and hillbilly locals
I canÕt tell the difference. Week
eighteen. The walk-on playing
PearlÕs Taliban executioner canÕt
hold the replica scimitar steady,
doesnÕt believe it wonÕt cut. I press
the edge against my right arm, point
to the dent, shallow as a GIÕs crew-cut,
that it leaves. $500k down. The man
is still shaking. Dick. Week twenty-four.
Some pathetic loser has left a fake head
drooling ketchup outside my trailer. $2m
down. My head is already loosening itself
from the neck. I donÕt need a gimmick to tell
me this is the worst death IÕve experienced yet.
John Wayne taps you on the shoulder
but heÕs nowhere to be seen in the wing mirror.
Your quiff is frozen mid-crest and the ThunderbirdÕs
vinyl is sticky with fear. Peggy Sue leans over and
says Ôkiss me baby, letÕs be quickÕ but all you can
think of is the Swamp Man lurching into view.
Light dances a bolero on its way from the projectionist
booth and hydrogen ignites. Helium and oxygen conjoin
under a discoball and everyone heads to funky town.
Another universe explodes on your tongue
with the last sip of Coca Cola but all thatÕs
on your mind are her arms around you,
everything coming into view:
the kiss, smoke in search of its gun,
the uncertain morning after.
© Christian Ward