To Build a Home
The future of housing is the yurt, or the portable eco-cabin
along the coast where dry grass struggles against pebbles
in the sand, and little beads of gold wash up in whale shit.
Not everyone will survive but there will always be grass rolling
inland and cows and sheep like contemplatives lost in dew.
Once again the horse will be holy and you and I will travel north,
as far as the bleeding moon, until the wild Atlantic welcomes us
back to her rippling belly, as if we’d grown young again and could eat
ice cream guilt-free, without guile, without the mortgage
on a salubrious Georgian semi outside Edinburgh. The moon does not spell doom,
but doom is mood spelt backwards, and the world could not be crazier right now
if it broke into a schoolyard carrying a handgun and a sack of religious dogma.
Maybe the bombs will blow our limbs to sea and we’ll find redemption
in an arc of light above our heads as the moment appears
on God’s tongue like a pearl of glistening saliva.
For a second, you escaped the pain, my childhood memories creating
a seaside paradise, your voice an ecstasy of sorrow as you wandered
down a path beside black fields where suicidal boys are found.
Your letters, your emails. I breathed the paper and it rose, floated
into weddings along the way, where you dance, though sick,
most probably exhausted and coughing God knows what narcotic residue.
This morning I woke with the longing of August, and I tried to reach you,
haul you into blinding sunlight from the storm of my dreams,
the storm of the seasons, the cosmos trickling in and sparking storms
amongst orange-faced politicians over yin/yang race wars.
Is this a sign that the Earth is ascending, this tearing at identity
and an aftermath of sighs? I don’t believe calamity is useless.
I don’t believe my moods are inseparable from the horror of Aleppo,
or the storms of the Mediterranean, or your savage girlhood in Lancashire,
New Zealand, Wales. I am here to gentrify that, goddamn it, and sow
this elemental wheat field. I am a sparkling periwinkle apocalypse!
There’s been nothing but telepathy between us for weeks now and really
that upsets me. I need the firm assurance of your body next to me,
the struggle for release through years of abuse finding shore and shelter in the warmth of my hand.
From my bed we’ll go anywhere. We’ll build a home and consecrate it with cow dung.
We’ll hug the coastline like gemstone butterflies, re-enact matrimonial rituals
in a ring of standing stones. Our refuge is nomadic, while the world seems stunned
we’re not alone, or abandoned, or something other than a run-down housing estate
in a whirling, galactic metropolis.
Teacher’s a ride but I don’t know what that means
and am afraid to ask, and anyway I can write
better than any of them, especially the boy next to me
whose writing is a scrawly mess. I am kind not cruel,
watching you write on your hand while the schizophrenic boy
tells stories about the island on his arm.
Teacher says I can write and reads my story to the class
about the lions and the hunt, the way they sleep
and pounce on prey and devour a carcass in the blazing sun.
She asks if I was a lion in a past life but I just smile
because Jesus is the Lion of Judah and we don’t believe
in reincarnation in our family.
You take drugs to escape the hunt and girls I know
smoke weed at break and giggle through class.
Teacher knows but teacher is a fool who sits me next to a boy
who did something so bestial it made the whole school vomit.
He tells me Jesus was an alien from a parallel dimension
and laughs when I say I believe in the devil.
I saw teacher at the market buying crystals from a stall.
She wore a shawl and beads and looked like an Indian
with a shiny dot between her eyes. I looked at her and felt
so weird, and when she said hello I blushed and couldn’t swallow.
I ran away and found you under a tarpaulin with your girlfriend
listening to rock, kissing her and smiling, and once again I blushed.
You have the marks of a tigress in the forest and we can both write
because we’re super-ascended space cats with a mission to save the world.
That’s what teacher said when she read our stories to the class;
but I believe in Jesus and you believe in your girlfriend
and take drugs to ease the pain, although I’m not sure why they stalk you.
It frightens me when I lie in bed at night and think about it.
Stephen Nelson is a Scottish poet and artist. His books include Lunar Poems for New Religions (KFS Press), Thorn Corners (erbacce-press), and a book of visual poetry called Arcturian Punctuation (Xexoxial Editions). He is a contributor to the The Last Vispo Anthology, has exhibited vispo internationally and has published in The Sunday Times, Magma, New Writing Scotland, Eratio, BlazeVox and other magazines across the world. Check out his blog of vispo and asemic writing at www.afterlights-vispo.tumblr.com.
Image credit: Andrew Malone