Nine Poems by Marianne Morris
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The following poems are from WHO NOT TO SPEAK TO, 2007-9.
VISA DELIGHTED AT FREEDOM TO ADAPT
The ghostlike apparition of the outlook email alert
catches the sleeve of your eye as it drifts away.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are already dead.
And if already dead, CCTV merely prevents
the bombers from doing their job. Nothing
prevents me from doing my job.
When the tube slows I wish for a bomb
not just the threat of one and the lies,
at last to be spared the
necessity of wage labour, just
one day broken out into light.
But disasters never come
when you’re ready for them, ‘we have a
passenger unconscious on the train in front,
we are hoping they will be removed shortly.’
PSYCHO FOLKLORE SERIOUSLY
Ravishment, the character of a hotel.
The trauma waits for you
frantic not to miss out
on mint choc chip.
In the shop the wrappers tug,
shining eyes and language boost,
twirl, ecstasy. What pours itself
to our demands attention, now just look here.
Coming alive, a munchkin army,
rip into you
meat you, hands covered in hair, neat
blue suits, cajoling eyes, benign to buy it buy it
is all after all the colour of belief.
It can be difficult. Which ones
are out to get you, which
ones aren’t? You might be fooled into thinking
that some of them aren’t out to get you but
they all are, all the little hairy-handed ones.
Ravishment, a magazine with a free gift of lithium.
Absolutely genuine hundred percent quality love,
it’s not just you who has the crazy idea maybe
something looks back from inside of you, some
inanimate object buried before with past hurt, a
plastic dog, a tablecloth full of invisible glass shards,
a plastic dog again with a free gift of tongue caress.
A limit of calm destroyed by your
inability to remain inert, the munchkin drags you
by the hand into the biscuit aisle, kicking up the floor you can’t
keep your pants up, the mystical presence of money in you is
all that you are. The bag? It’s at the hotel. Maybe
maybe just leave it at the hotel.
A prejudice exposed
only burrows deeper into itself. It is a hedgehog
prejudice, cute as a remote. The kernel of
the hedgehog prejudice is not hatred, it burrows
deeper still and past
all that, deeper still into the conviction
that there is such a thing as ‘the
right thing’, you can make
love or you can talk it out
you choose to make love
reeling the baked frisbee past
all tenderness into the repeatable
moment of possession, jettison
of white pearls clotted in the throat
of meat. Places you don’t want to go
to: Kandahar sorry Kandahar
THE REVOLUTION IS MY BOYFRIEND
Oops, shit. Culture moves faster than
you antiquate yourself down the blender
of darkness eyes puffy and slitted against
the owl you bought, a series of bones
jutting out, starvation I would
always move in this way, she said stuffing
lace petticoats into the case on the road
to Prada. But not to delve
too deeply into any one thing
not unless I bought it, unless I brought it up.
Move faster than you, play
tame, autocue the dead. I just put an
bird in my mouth, gross.
Bush shit on by bird, perhaps swallow (they
are mean fuckers and will fight), this is the
visible and this is what glistens beneath –
we are inert underground, avoiding a walk
to the you can’t say it – zero sum values in
a kind of game. I told you
all this as you laid there
in the past, naked for the most
part, lying about the girls
skipping through with their
arms practically broken,
hoping you’d be able
to look at the high metal toys and we could agree
on a price together, giving up things left, right and
NIGHTLY TORRENTS THREATEN TO DROWN SHEEP THAT CAN'T RUN
It is a day when the afternoon is
cold (pretending summer) and Mighty
Teas lie like lingerie in a basket of
food before us. For Heaven’s sake.
Our rent agreement is more
radioactive than sex.
This event has been scheduled: a
leap into the past second-hand
anecdote. They say you are dragging
her down with you, your daughter
who danced in fountains in the 90s.
That was the
problem though none of it was
real. A fee turns the pedals
that turn the earth and everyone
on it, not one of them counted by vote.
_Your name_: what’s your name?
Do you feel cushioned by accumulations,
by the forethought required by accumulations,
do you feel defined by purchase? Is it
purchase that shapes you, breathlessly
in between sex and philosophy and
the accumulating bank statements.
I hate to break
this to you but in real politics there
are cups of tea and the right things
are said and they are polite and want
to wear nice clothes and are nice and they
walk down these plush runways. It is a
surprise to find you here. This is not
really your kind of thing. Perhaps you would
be so kind as to go back to your own ontology.
YOUR GENERATION NEEDS A WAR
The wipers go across the screen, changing
the various spheres of influence inhaled
through the window the ice, air, dark eyes
gloomy and incompatible with Strangeness,
which you need to get acquainted with, again
and again the notion of
control bears wings
of metal, stuttering cages of thing and wire
that rise with social effort. The blind lines
glistening, pig-like, schweinlich – and certain of cheques
as even the number eludes them. Walk through the
bazaar, bizarre compartments of contrary elements,
boxed jobs reserved for the technologies of the self
on the shelf.
Try different breeds, and strands.
The fronds lift and close the shadows in and
pieces close in on you, like a mouth blacked out,
its teeth wet with Sisyphus and peroxide,
addled hearts and broken time
as the evening draws out staying put
as chaos breaks around its cloud or wave,
perdurable to withstand even £24.99.
PIERRE REVERDY'S ART MODERNE RETOUCHÉ
So they haven’t replaced all the parts in our heads
It’s still the same old mechanism
I was late figuring this out, meanwhile they’ve all been
Practicing authentic newness with such skill
It’s called Modernism
But how are you supposed to discover a
New way of believing when everything is gone
The Eiffel Tower, this haystack,
Loses itself in distance
Like a needle in the gray clouds
All the walls fade in the night wind
All the monuments
You’ve come at a bad time
The words are blue and glitter on the air
But they die on the page
No one collects fragments of sunshine lost in the dust
The strongest one walks alone around his conquests
You will cut the heads off for him
Even when he doesn’t say thank you
Even when his dreamy eyes deceive the world
Life draws itself out for him like a wave
And quietly takes its share of here
Runs through the airfield with its big mouth open
And crazy eyes
Guided by the sun
Light breaks on a din of cries
He would go alone to the depth of day, to punch the canvas
But he’s too fat
When his spirit rises, his head hangs low
Hurt by the turn
And the unrivaled ending
Taken by a spider
Night is a star
OBAMA IS COMING ON THE RIGHT DAY
because the sky is full of helicopters
furious lambs droning not high
enough above Taksim Square
surging upwards I confuse a flood of
black and white paper
mosques poke up like the rockets
they negotiated in the Dorchester
old man carries a basket of bread on his head
young man looks like a Hoxton replica
at 5am our local imam finds his heart
knowing only the devout are listening
whereas, in the afternoon, he is quite dejected
misses notes, is brief
Maybe she wanted me to deal with her
And called up the doctor to come after me with a pin
That pricked the lung, so its crystal balloon slipped out
Full of words, the ones drawn in cartoons
Each mouth said the things it always said
Each head moved back and forth, the same
The page number did not change either
I had the sudden thought of an old maid
Until she spilled the thing I needed
The one plug holding the water in
In them standing a crippled woman
Up to her ankles in mud she took off her
Cape and threw it into the mud and danced
Never acknowledge pain, least of all your own
A city will be good
A city’s signs will subjugate the rest
Of the signs, you’ll see
Once I’ve written it out properly
I’ll give it to you then
Marianne Morris started Bad Press in 2003, after submitting a poem containing the word ‘cunt’ to an editor who responded that he didn’t like her ‘syntax’. Her first full collection, The On All Said Things Moratorium, was published in 2013 by Enitharmon Press. She holds a PhD in performance writing from University College Falmouth in the UK, and is currently studying Chinese medicine in California. Recent chapbooks include DSK (Tipped Press, 2013), Iran Documents (Trafficker, 2012), and Commitment (Critical Documents, 2011).