LOUISE DES ORMES
“If you're not going to make a record in the moment
then we won't bother. Record text that you see or hear. Road signs”
London (Hyde Park Corner) Hounslow 9 miles
Beretta since 1539
Burgess the Superyacht Specialists
Villandry, 12 Waterloo Place
“Is the flag up? That means the Queen is at home.”
The Balcon London
All deliveries to Charles II Street
Driver under instruction
A Good Massage Is Hard To Find
Royal Opera Arcade
Trafalgar Square, Thai Square.
Spring Gardens, SW1”
“....We need a pre-meet.
There were some take-aways from that meeting.
Thats going to be out of the loop on that
if T could possibly...
Oh crossed wires, crossed wires
search your email 'coz I know I copied you into the email trail
I think shelly emailed you and you forgot to tell me
search for Felicity Judge in your emails
is there anything else?
I would be tempted to ditch that completely and do it by half term
Sarah! just returning your call last week
um not quite, there were two things....
“How can I not look at the deep night?
Over in the woods it is still raining.
Water is fallen like a conversion
the trees have with air caught between.
Sky baring its breasts
jewelled breasts of sky
Earl Grey teabags are shuttlecocks
in a zero gravity game. Young men sweep
up their hands drawing Earl Grey upward
through air becomes water at the surface
where middle-class hands and breasts meet.
I'm in the air lock near the top
of it all where only I can breathe water.”
“In the car he sits hoping
to be noticed
by a woman walking by,
with even just one, passing, beautiful expression, one
He smokes fags and his clothes smell of it
he needs to see a dentist but every
appointment is like a possibility for love
not accomplished. Sex would be good
with or without flossing first,
one gesture of elegant exposure of underneath skin or even
a full lunge of animal
hunger being plenty.”
“In April there is always a feature of hope
usually in the afternoon when any warmth chills off
despite this growing things start to release their scents saps rising
and so on, life undoing its flies
insects in general becoming more confident
even though birds are also out looking for supper
there is more hope of casual fucking
when women begin to wear bare
legs under stuff, winds and gusts can lift hems when
they walk, it's poetic to be a woman with a breeze
curling through your skirt, or pressing fresh
sheets to your face as you hang them on the line to dry.”
“Louise with her houses open and closed
colours that can offend, clothes of our parents with smells
in them, small moth carcasses, grains of salt
or condiments, tea bag in the pocket
in case of hot water availability
nine times out of ten the flies come if you don't wipe the table
after children have eaten jam on bread, chocolate powder
twisted messily into milk, sloshed, milk moustaches
hairs on children's legs always startling, lighter than
their skin at the end of summer. A child embraces
the mother's legs, wrapping her fists
through the skirt, cocooning mother to a mummy only
years later brought down from the attic
the dress still holds her smell (Earl Grey tea) in its faded line creases”
“wool smells more alive when wet
in reminiscence of the sheep animal it belongs to
we have unwound the sheep's clothing, making it naked in the field
missed out the shearing washing spinning,
and here it is, wafting and woven on mother's wooden spools
sucked to a point so as to fit through the kingdom
of heaven - careful Louise don't prick yourself
we don't want blood on the pale fringe of the carpet something unusual might
be summoned. The sheep's faces over the fence give
nothing back, it's not even a cold remorse.
Later, darning fresh dyed yarn she remembers
blue wool smells newer and safer than red”
“behind the tapestry winter window shades
in the nursery
there are muslin curtains to stop sunlight
spoiling the bicyle-patterned umbrella-patterned wallpaper.
Louise takes her scissors and snips
off a good strip of crisp starched
muslin from the curtain-bottom,
makes little squares to pin across
the room openings on her dolls house.
Though they are themselves clothes pegs these dolls can not bear us
looking in at them, are they to have no privacy?
“your voice contains the breath of sleep
and whispers of a single cut or thought
the building reaches up towards the night
its jagged edge to look the pasting cloud
a barrage of vowels drag ugly on a tired ear
and coughing ladies fill our limbs with rice
broad leaf and wistel leaf fall foul
the empty stove the fallen arch or hoof
I open doors that would want to close
the world is featured by a clown of wool
a laugh is older than a dove or stool
your laugh is voiced a place of cold fool
if you should happen on a swing or beach
I wouldn't know if it was you, your time”
“if you could halve an apple in a single twist
if you would open skylights with a woollen mist
fall on your knees towards a cotton mill
I'd know you anywhere, your food and wrist
your open lung your grief and nonchalance
I' d know your imprint on a sheath of air
I'd know the sums of updraft on your softening hair
and all would be revealed by ups and starts
warning whispers of an old man's baboon
and walls would fall as on an untidy wharf
groamy window or a scrumbled home.
“beware the catch-drift in a doggies bowl
of finger slots on a calling oaf
watch out for wrong doing a policeman's oar
and tell me if I ever fly to bruise”.
I want it all and I also want it now
a car a house, boyfriend, technology
I'd live a little if the money fell
here, into my open outstretched hand.”
“The River curls below like a silver sliver of foil glinting
between snags of clouds.
All quiet under the cloud
a softening blanket pressing the sound backwards.
Gulls break through the mists and streaks of vapour. One dives
down through a belt of cool air then on swirling
on warm updrafts: the loud out-breath of the city below.
Spires of the tallest
buildings glass metal caught like a sharp beak by roads
down through the warming air the river now has watery foam
boats bridges arcing over it, dark wires, trucks busses cars bicycles.
The seagull circles above sky's high
over her and the mass of noisy people with pink
parasols, umbrellas baby carriages. She forks
and twists, begins to slow, slips onto a warm stream of air
turns again and lands
on the window ledge, top floor
Level Six, Royal Festival Hall, the balcony is empty, just a table
with a white cloth
a silver bucket with a complimentary bottle chilling in it.
Me sitting very quiet
in the shadow. No invitation but I came
anyway, the other guests have gone to the show.
The seagull perches on the steel hand-rail watching me watching a shiny drop
of condensation roll down the
bottle, shiny pieces of light in my glass. In her beak is a taste
of salt. The liquid in my glass is sweet and cold.”
Copyright Anna Stearman 2014
Anna Stearman was born and lives in London and her poems have appeared in Long Poem Magazine, Smiths Knoll, The Interpreter's House and The Text. She teaches and lectures in Creative Writing, Theatre and Performance and is the editor of the prose and poetry anthology Forty Voices. She is just starting a Creative Writing PhD at Surrey University.