City Devotions

To Bee, for whom today is difficult.

A knight with a clock; the swings tied up, swings too small for him. Mist rolling over the fields, a little of the veil, the colour of suicide bathwater: Turkish delight; glitter on the performance, a carmine red fleck of laundry; and flowers, on the breath of the cull. Paris by night. City devotions.


‘It’s done mechanically?’ / ‘No, Monsieur, by hand.’ (Overheard at a Neo-Impressionist exhibition in 1894: Reported by Thadée Natanson in ‘La Revue Blanche.’)

The ground tips back, held down by small lumpish shapes. Waiting is the whole story, movement restricted to a thin skirt of light that comes from a village at the foot of the hill. Small streaks of white oil correct small failures of the imagination. Grey fills the sky, which is low and flat without a patch of blue, and a liquid coldness spreads over indistinct forms and things; the village, outwith the vantage point, an idea equal in value to the picture itself.

Of nothing Linz she thought more Munich, Berlin. Tap tap of an overflow pipe on the sky. An old woman collects frosted berries from wild bushes at the back of her garden, pale, delicately freckled fingers stained pink with things that never mattered the first time around. (The sound of sleet on the car was made elsewhere. The silence she made was made elsewhere. She waited where she wished, shared everything as the engine turned over to run the heater. Circumstances that could not have come about without this white theatre under a hard overhead light: A primitive farmyard. A young peasant woman with bare feet. Only a few paths, deeply marked or furrowed led through the snow-covered field before her eyes, closed.) A railway station in deep snow, Freiburg. A betrayal, only Rosa pimpinellifolia in the garden. A station of the cross, a triptych of Black Mountain gateaux. A deconsecrated church and four-leafed window of fading luck, Kirchzarten. Asparagus, white hollandaise sauce. A waste pipe, grey boiling mud. New potatoes, potatoes. A village, a primary school playground. A village, what blossoms of clematis! Infidelity, just killing. A village, tentacles of swastika. A village—there is no village.

Looking Over Largo Bay To Methil From The High Water Spring At Ruddons Point—Listening To A Village Buried In A Pit Bing
Clearances still; in demand of rock blackness, no starry work was made of such blue-flashing light hounding wheat as night’s grey ran it the length of a far off childline.

Shuffle …

A field. An enhanced octagonal (made by Rose, Charlotte Anne, Theresa and Lucy facing inwards around a big pink thistle) with heads gentle rubbing together in wild grey, in a butterglen meadow of daisy, chamomile, corn poppy and tall green grass, a warm breeze keeping the flies away.
Theresa:
Press ‘shuffle’ and it should work.
Charlotte Anne:
I’m trying, but my hoof’s too big.
Lucy:
Mine’s a bit smaller and I’ve done it before. Let me have a shot.
Rose:
I’ll leave you girls to it. I don’t fancy a playlist of ‘underachieving kak’. I’m going down to the riverbank where Foxglove will read poems about buttercups and wet sage in five minutes — Later.


‘Mrs Adams said a wis a croass. How come? Whit’s she talkin’ aboot? She said tae ma Mammy ‘Mrs McPherson Clare is your cross. We all have crosses to bear’. / Ah’m no a cross in am no a bear either. She disnae like me.’ (Grace Cleary)

To Whom It May Concern,
There is black mould on the sky, re-born dolls in the pharmaceutical labs, porcelain cups for apostles of ‘the God-given occupation’, counselling for the melancholic and ‘pinko hippies’. The Christian miracle eye tracking is torn on a line of grey bodies, on thousands of stacks of bodies. Dirty pollen coats our needles; pitiless bag closing, and an engorged media prostitutes privacy and our right to worship. Under siege the sky is sallow and the weather like grit; umbilical soil in a gravitational well. The mining settlements plunder the aisles of ‘Cold Meat, frozen Carrot, Small Pies, Tissues, yeast, more tortilla wraps, hair dye …’ adrift in the fetid hum on verges of dual carriageway (Genocide, tin-oxide, egg white on silk pillowcase, 2016. Private Collection.) And tears and weeping as far as the eye can see. Were it not for your listening eyes, had you not a delicate sense, when would we have acted? But I shall forget this dream; through midnight, I’ll disappear. Dear, hear this my …


‘A man was standing in the rain. It rained harder.’ (in Floor Grey, high up on the east wall of HMP, Perth.)

Green in Cottown. The fields smell sharp, of rhubarb, grey slip on the road, but nothing grows, even in the rains of Heaven.

Shuffle …

Neukünstler! My name is on the door. White plastic belt, cardboard, aluminium foil, silver tape, 20mm starch packing sheets, wire, and a canvas backpack, five cardboard boxes (24 pack eco laundry tablet’s), silver tape, aluminium foil, wire—Fake devices, ‘made by hand Monsieur.’

On the far horizon, the whole| conversation, hand cut blind| in the gilded space closer to| the margin of you on Cothill.
Movement of perfections shadow,| darkness outwith your corridor, tell me,| tell me, emptiness.| I rise out of my sleep.
And the grey cherry tree| turning in its wash of rain,| a nest in splendid-malnutrition| tonight I shall ask it in.
My love waited, may have died| in the wax of shadow, patrolling| the feast of leaves.| I met my death
coming the other way. Turning| a quiet song, I cried| and you passed by without a sound.| A resurrection?
Nothing that you say; I dwell.| No measure of fire; I dwell.| Keeping shtum on the road,| consent where paradox is fear.
My heart denied, I couldn’t see myself;| I left early into the field| with the nothing that you say| weighing past all weight
in the interior of smear and bravery,| prayers could not dent my darkness.| I go to my neighbour with nothing to eat,| the blackbird the chaffinch.
This love will be the end.| You have all the space| in my mind, the manners of pain,| a quiet carriage you say.
And you my spent heart, dwell| true, after truth, in love| never depleted by use or display| a moment and forever.

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