David Spittle 69

David Spittle


the act, the err, its stew and the numbness

sat in a barrel of pond water
frog-squat in a stagnant tub of staying
as trees sway in day’s news
as motion     scores the air with happening
outside of where you are         & watch 

there is a turning loose
of breath in ragged weather
beyond the mouldering           beyond gloves of algae

glum holding
of your shape    worn 

out from comfort
& held down               in shelter from  

as it might be
& could 

in living

not quite refined but alive

like skittish lit curtains or a puppyish drunk
regaling the concerned with flammable japes
and using that word —
‘japes’, flailing like a dusk-flung Beano
torn by whose mood and in the updraft
dancing like a failed audition for American Beauty,
not quite the plastic bag, but histrionic
speech a twitch peppered with the tamely profane;
pissed and /or magnificent, reassuringly maimed
with a breezy getting-by laboured in clod
stopping and tripped, bruising outside of
a surrealism too available —
that homely sort, played out
like congenial stage-management of the strange
tied with ribbons of tidy wit, beneath which a shoebox
will eulogize schooldays with a fortune cookie’s knack
for suggesting windows, too fixed on playing out
to ever play.  

instead to the leaping, sordid, flawed
and flying —
            those who see the table
as a call to aviation, not quite refined
but alive. those and this and you
that bury hands, diving open in the mud
to rake a different sky and drop
new pats of mealy air, that broiling cake —
its earthworms and the spidering;
those clouding forms that speculate
and those that cherish giddy incest
between finger and thumb, that burn
and ache unfinished
and that aquarium,
electric with the submerged — water thick with limbs —
that brush up and over, that begin
to graze, to natter in their own toothless ways,
cold-calling a diverted meaning to find out
just how lost it is, only to be ducked under
in the rush

David Spittle has poetry published in Blackbox Manifold, 3am, The Literateur, DatableedZarf, and is translated into French by Black Herald Press. Twice shortlisted for the Melita Hume Prize (2015/2016) and included in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2016 Anthology (Eyewear Press). His first pamphlet, B O X, is forthcoming with HVTN Press.