Not All Poems Are Love Poems


Artwork by Claire Potter

Photograph by Matt Cole

Text by Frankie Mace 

I have lived within your absence

the negative pressure of your breathing a medical ventilator

expanding the shame that lurches in the cavity

forcing the exhalation at your name.

You have killed me in your sleep ————

vengefully you amputated

// the terminal infection //

that I am to you.

The knowledge of my destruction is dizzying:

expensive bombs raining        a future            a famine          a fallout.

To destroy unutterably is a fresh power

a cave full of bones, thrilling in its horror –

only debris lives longer that death.

Don’t use the word forever

luckless wreck, Medea.

The magnitude of your devotion threatens,

bruises darkly, flowering its juices.

Your shadow in an image ¦ egami na ni wodahs ruoY

I may only pale and wane

clammy as the moon on an old plate

… Surrounded by the imagined company of the dead …

That is but is not history

I have things to say that are unemailable.

You with your souks, your Maroc skies

blameless as a porcelain saint – Hero

wrenched from her Leander.

Memory has perfected for you a martyr

an old rug torn for a love of the same hook



as it


leaving a floor shadow the texture of echo

/ echo of texture the shadow floor a leaving.

Shiver out of your skin ( I will wear it )

the psychic cloak of it unique in its

remoteness and intimacy.

For then I was Circe, temptress

[Treacherous in the dark]

rival on a foreign isle

where < need springs > from desire

and claims manhood like a trophy.

Whispered dissent a poison——–delivered on a tooth

Fawned over by drugged   victims    of a    simple   magic

Which turns them all to swine.

And yet, living in the half-light of unknowing

will soon be mine to inhabit.

From the edge it drifts to the centre in @n eternal return:

I have become Penelope now

and will clean the cups and fluff the pillows,

facilitate in waves of succour

[Loving fearfully in the shadows]

To adorn a *fresh fantasy* with honey

As a patient handmaiden at a loom;;;

Prepares a new rug.



*Originally published by the London Review of Fiction*

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