To throw these plates in perfect balance
as if lighter than the weight of thoughts,
I must believe I’ve taken them from some dream
of a white ceramic kitchen
ungrubbied under fluorescent light
white table and chairs, sink and cupboards
smoother, colder than bone china,
light as bleached bone.
As useless as a knife made
from rippled glass.
In this imagined home, I’m the only thing
which carries colour in and out, quiet
through the door
open close lock unlock
as windows spill light on white walls.
I leave and return to remove fragments
of the outside world from myself
bathtub pale, I pick twigs from my hair
scrape earth from under my nails
swab dust from the soles of my feet
I keep these substances
in Petri dishes, spot lit, micro bacteria
grows and glows on glass shelves.
All of these things are too
fragile to fall
and yet in these dreamed rooms
I learn to juggle real things. Bowls, china thimbles
plates, ceramic spoons.
Everything is breakable
but this is how to practice
safely. The floor tiles are made of foam,
covered in goose feathers and white velvet patches.
I wear a harlequin mask
while pavemented to a spot.
Catching coins in a hat,
clothed in false jewels and
I’m juggling plates exactly
as I’ve taught myself to
since we parted.
I’m looking for a beam
of light to walk away on
but I see your
in this crowd of smiles
you’re waiting for
My eyes catch yours and look away.
You’re still there, now you’re gone.
One plate smashes on concrete
and another and another.
In this world without you
the sun is too bright.
My eyes haven’t yet adjusted.
Even thoughts are bleached white.
Spinning time from seconds
hours fall down to moments in the warp/weft
of clouds over this city.
There must be dust-mines up there somewhere
the air’s thickened again.
Could this fight/flight flit up with seagulls
who never lower themselves onto rooftops,
not when there’s a wind under clouds
is it wing-envy to even look at them
arm span wrapped tight around chest
skin pores too small to ever sprout feathers
is this a throwing or juggle of longing, these
land eyes watching sea birds in flight?
climb up to a roof
breathing is impossible because sound travels
climb up to a roof and throw
breathing is impossible because there’s no empty space
climb up to a roof and throw something upwards
breathing is impossible till anything thrown upwards doesn’t fall down.