FLAGS & HEADBANDS
The Engineer admits that the plethora of Union Jacks & England Flags has finally tested her patience. The Corsican Testa Mora is a small act of sabotage on Bastille Day and in the run up to the London Olympics. It looks great hanging from her bedroom window next to the neighbour’s St George’s Cross as I stroll to the Corner Shop for milk & Le Monde. The (emblem) prisoner ― head detached ― is a timely reminder of the clearing of Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. And now she’s telling me ― slightly abashed by a gap where her tooth should be ― how in 1760 Pasquale Paoli adopted the flag to continue the tradition of independence. Freedom must walk by the torch of philosophy he declared, re-styling the blindfold into a sporty headband.
GREY SQUIRRELS & EGYPTIAN GEESE
I’m papering a rectangle of yellow wall with the Academic’s twelve sheets of music to my Agnus Dei. There’s a five bar intro and four concluding unsung bars. The white sheets face my window and mirror its shape. I sit at my desk pleased with the double aspect. To my right small gardens, rooftops & windows ― a squirrel dancing along the fence. To my left a change of perspective.
It’s like gazing at a lake ― the red & black notes bobbing like crested grebes. As I approach, they attach themselves to words ― in clearings of trees and I think Chinese & /or Indonesian ... That ancient scroll the Art Dealer rolled along the long teak table those years ago ― a vapour rises, spirals, lays thin blankets ... The notes like a melody in slendro ... chimes & gongs of the gamelan ... honks of Egyptian geese.
DE INCIDENTIBUS IN FLUIDO / HECEST
After Victor Hugo & Edgar Allan Poe
The Diarist presses a button, luxuriating in the rising hot water as her body submerges, toes touch the plug. She lies back, folding her long legs aside like a dragonfly. Steam and fatigue wash over her and she closes her eyes. Voices waft through the open window. Laughter. Infectious laughter. Raucous, menacing laughter louder & louder and she gasps as she lifts high against a Rotor wall, instinctively spreading her limbs in cruciform. Faster & faster she spins, eyes wide ― not shut tight like her father’s and siblings’ ― as grisly scenes flash by. A fat man riding a beer barrel with a huge meat pie on his head. A procession of lepers. A mountebank dresssed in bearskins. A young boy, his face mutilated, mouth carved into a perpetual grin. The laughter swells into a tremendous upsurge.
She is pinned to a wall-of-water like a butterfly. The noise is deafening and she screams as she drops into a belt of surf spinning round with terrifying velocity. Now the wall rises sheer above her ― a towering black mountainous ridge of water. Round & round she is swept in swings & jerks, slowly progressing downward at each revolution. She’s not alone. Her father’s below, two younger siblings above. A barrel judders nearby. A monster-serpent coils into view, a four-masted ship crushed in its grip ... Beyond the shadow of the ship, I watched the water-snakes. A whale heaves by, the orcus attacking it still attached. With a sickening heart she watches her father fasten himself to the ship, and after a couple of wild girations sees it plunge headlong into the foaming abyss. And now a great change takes place.
WIGS & DYES
Every day the Entrepreneur flits from place to place wearing Mary May, like a humming bird flaunting its blond & crimson feathers. Her office is crowded with Babu / Nikki / Alex / Abdul / Oska / Aziza / Britney / Molly / Minka ― for nowadays as in ancient Egypt both genders wear wigs. Back then heads were shaved and embellished with wigs threaded from sheep’s wool or vegetable fibres dyed in inks from plants, oak-bark & shellfish to protect against sunstroke or lice-infestation. Ever since people could create they’ve been adding pigment to the world around them. The Entrepreneur is no exception. While Egyptian queens adorn their wigs with ornaments of gold & ivory, she loops ribbons in Mary May, and on her bike festooned with plastic flowers lights up the city wherever she goes.
Copyright © Lucy Hamilton 2015
Lucy Hamilton is co-editor of Long Poem Magazine and teaches freelance. She was recently involved in a commissioned poetry project at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and is currently engaged in workshops at Clare Cottage, Helpston. Her collection of prose poems Stalker (Shearsman 2012) was shortlisted for the Forward Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Poems from her second collection-in-progress have appeared in Shearsman Magazine, PN Review, Her Wings of Glass (anthology), Tears in the Fence and forthcoming in Litmus.