King Creosote & Jon Hopkins | Bubble
When I was a child and the soft flesh was forming
Quietly as snow on the bare bough of bone,
My father brought me trout from the green river
From whose chill lips the water song had flown.
Dull grew their eyes, the beautiful, blithe garland
Of stipple faded, as light shocked the brain;
They were the first sweet sacrifice I tasted,
A young god, ignorant of the blood’s stain.
I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks, it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.
When I wrote of the women in their dances and
wildness, it was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone
down with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from
There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued
beside me among the doctors, and a word
of rescue from the great eyes.
No more masks! No more mythologies!
Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.
Dear K., there’s a mosquito stain
between the pages of your book, a streak
of platelets beside my index finger.
The broken microscopic cells have escaped
the hurly-burly of the wide aorta, the stark
unholy flow through veins and tubules.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mistake
anatomy for emotion. My heart is meat
and gristle, like Artaud’s: a simple
pump, it never falters. If I weep
it’s for the rocking chair, three knocks
embedded in the nursery wall.
On one window, I found instructions:
“Here, no cares invade, all sorrows
cease” in almost perfect iambs.
Forgive me. I tried to keep them
“far outside” but they marched right up
to my room. All month they’ve been waving
tenuous arms. Have you seen them?
What could I do but let them in
and let them rest in your favorite chair. Soon
they’ll disappear or I will. In the afternoons
(do you remember?) light falls
or spills, spills or falls through the amber
stained-glass windows. It lifts my spirits
but I’m still waiting for you to appear
at the edge of my bed with a message. Think
of the ruins I could have traveled to
by now, think of the days I’ve wasted
lying on the pink divan, a stand of hawthorns
blocking my view of the rose garden,
my American Beauty, already fully blown.
My tactic is to look at you
To learn how you are
Love you as you are
My tactic is to talk to you
And listen to you
And construct with words
An indestructible bridge
My tactic is to stay in your memory,
I don’t know how
Nor with what pretext
But stay within you
My tactic is to be honest
And know you are too
And that we don’t sell each other illusions
So that between us there is no curtain or abyss
My strategy instead is
Deeper and simpler.
My strategy is that some day
I don’t know how, nor with what pretext
That you, finally, need me.