Absent

Ben Vince 20 November 2018

Absent

 

Been dreaming of the Zante Strip,
the Cocktails & Dreams sign inverted to
a buzzing ‘Good Luck’, squashed
between two neon thumbs, a cheap
steampunk electric church.
Friends in irrespective hotels,
so I wander to the beach front,
sand shardified, sea onyxed,
a sleek wave of rippled navy.
Got a chenille jumper just like it.
Down I dive through the wet fabric,
salt crystallising into black marble
starlet streaks. Down deeper,
past the sound barrier, into
the Silent World. Seabed touch down:
plant my feet, sinkholing.
I whisper Good Luck to the rocks
as they try to assimilate me.

*

Today, I am okay with waking up from this.
Morning is soundproofed in amber swaddling,
the sun’s frayed edges drifting down in unpicked threads.
A trickle of warmth tickles the sheets, comfort
hanging its whiskers from the half-cracked skylight.

All the world is asleep right now but me;
the perfect peace, plucked from Dreamworld’s jewellery box.
Rise quietly, or risk waking the multitudes –
I pad from shower to kitchen to sofa,
caressing the early hours, swelling their gracious slumber.

I want to walk, and as no-one is awake to stop me,
I walk. The wind unspools from its absent chamber,
a loose end jettisoned off a storm cloud.
Even its cold becomes relaxed – an alert blanket,
ribboning wide-eyed chill to the pavement, all mine.

It is one of those spider-loaded mornings,
park glittered with panoplies of silk-craft;
ivory bench buttresses, pearl tree turrets, silver skylines –
a flimsy, lethal beauty. The swings are captured
in brittle crinoline cages, rusting away unsqueaked.

Solitude is the precious metal inlaid
on Peace’s tapestry: half weary, half sick of shadows,

She has looked past the mirror to the world outside
the window, said ‘No, thank you,’ declined the knight
in shining armour, wished him Good Luck on his way.

Let me weave the world alone. Keep the shutters
shut. Leave the chrysalis gestating. Stop the lights
from splitting the sun’s frayed edges.
Stroke lucidity’s hair until it falls back asleep.
Today, I am okay with waking up to this,

all on my own.