Made For You
(David Adès)

Posted on May 26, 2017 by in Lies To Live By

‘You’re not good enough for any woman,’ Miranda screamed. ‘What you need isn’t a woman: it’s a blow-up doll.’

Even Chester acknowledged it wasn’t his finest moment.

Whatever heat there was in his relationship with Miranda had been cooling. Lately, they had been going through the motions and they both knew it. She had been telling him for months that she was too good for him. He wouldn’t admit it to her, but he agreed.

They both knew, too, that if anyone were going to end the relationship, it would be Miranda. Chester was both too much a coward and too entrenched in his own inertia to take decisive steps to effect change. He also preferred to be in a relationship, even one trending towards misery, than not to be in one at all.

Of course, he found a way to goad Miranda into action, though that was never his intention.

Miranda had been doing overnight shifts at the hospital. The one night she changed her pattern and came home in the middle of the night, it was to find Chester in her bed with Tiffany. Tiffany beat a hasty, undignified and totally naked retreat, leaving Chester to face the full glare of Miranda’s rage. He enraged her further when it occurred to him, though he was not stupid enough to say it, that this could be described as a lover’s tiff. He couldn’t hide his amusement at the thought and Miranda saw a smirk on his face. If she could have killed him with her glare, he would have died on the spot.

Miranda was gone within hours, taking her bed and much of the furniture with her. She did not say where she was going. Neither she, nor Tiffany, answered or returned any of Chester’s calls. He found himself suddenly very much on his own, feeling rather sorry for himself despite the predictable consequence of his conduct. He was not fond of his own company and solitude was no friend.

Three weeks after Miranda’s departure, the air thick with both her absence and silence, a large box arrived addressed to Chester. There was no indication of the sender. The handwriting on the box was definitely not Miranda’s. Strangely, it looked a lot like Chester’s own writing.

Puzzled, Chester maneuvered the box inside the apartment. It was surprisingly heavy. Opening it, he found a large capsule and an instruction sheet. The instructions were simple: open the capsule, taking care not to damage its contents, peel back the capsule’s outer layer, and then allow two days for the contents to self-initiate. Chester assumed that the final instruction meant to leave the contents alone for two days.

The capsule’s outer layer was soft and pliable but opaque. It was only when Chester peeled it off that he could see what it contained: a woman, completely naked, extraordinarily beautiful, with blue tinged lips and long eyelids on her closed eyes. Chester’s immediate impulse was to cover her with a blanket. His second was to panic: she wasn’t breathing. His third was to notice that she wasn’t actually a woman at all. He had no idea that technological advances had made such strides: how could something so lifelike be a doll? In the end, feeling awkward with the doll’s nakedness, though not awkward enough to refrain from gazing at her intently for a few moments, he succumbed to the first impulse and covered her. He felt a strange flush at this unaccustomed gesture of near chivalry.

The next two days were a strange mixture of anticipation and dread.

Chester was unsettled. He went to work and came home, the doll inert on the floor where he had left her. He couldn’t stop thinking about who might have sent him the doll and why. Given her parting remark to him, it seemed like Miranda’s handiwork. If so, it greatly surprised him. He didn’t credit her with that much imagination. Nor did he think she would bother: if she was done with him, it was final and she would be looking forward not back. But if it wasn’t Miranda, who was it?

Chester was a mid-level accountant leading an innocuous life. Monogamy was not exactly his strong suit. There was the debris of a number of failed relationships courtesy of his poor judgment and personality flaws, courtesy of repeated infidelities, but nothing setting him apart from a generation of other flawed and wayward men. It had been more than two years since his last transgression, if he left out that little fling with Erin that had remained undiscovered.

Mystified, Chester trawled through the litany of his failures trying to determine who, apart from Miranda, might still bear him a grudge or might otherwise have reason to send him such a doll. There was no shortage of possibilities, he realised, but no real clues. He remained at a loss.

Chester couldn’t help stealing glances at the doll.

She looked alive somehow, sleeping. Her presence infiltrated the apartment. A glow seemed to emanate from her.

The self-initiation period ended on Friday evening.

When Chester checked again on the doll upon returning home from work, nothing seemed to have changed. Then he noticed the slow rise and fall of the blanket. The doll was breathing, and now truly did seem to be alive, sleeping. Chester wondered how on earth something that had been inert could now be ‘breathing’. Was it some kind of simulation? If so, it was remarkably realistic.

Chester waited for several hours for something else to happen, but nothing did.

Fatigue overcame curiosity. Chester went to bed on his old retrieved futon on the floor and slept fitfully. Dream fragments rose towards consciousness and submerged again: running through endless corridors trying to escape pursuit; writing his name and address on a box of old clothes when he was moving to the apartment leaving behind the wreckage of his engagement to Amber, a box that never arrived; meeting a man who was wearing the same tattered sweater as him, also with holes in it; Amber disappearing abruptly and totally; the confusion of love, lust, passion, sex, flight; police knocking on the door, asking questions, calling him ‘a person of interest’.

Sometime during the night he dreamed a naked, warm body sliding into the bed next to him. He was sleeping on his right side. The body settled in, snuggling close as if it were accustomed, familiar. A hand found his left arm, placed his left hand low upon a smooth belly, close to the pubic line. A dream of a voice: hold me. Soon after: the slow, even breath of a body entering sleep.

Chester awoke with a start, aroused. It wasn’t the usual morning pressure in his bladder arousal. It was arousal responding to touch, the touch of a hand feather-light on his skin, a sure hand, stroking, squeezing, applying pressure and releasing, a hand using fingers, fingernails, palm, cupping, tugging, fondling, a hand prompting a groan through his lips as he opened his eyes to a room already brightening with morning light.

The doll seemed impossibly more woman now than doll. She was sitting beside him on the bed in her nakedness and he could feel the pressure of her body alongside his, the weight of it, the warmth of her skin. She released him as he opened his eyes, leaning over him, her breasts swinging a little, bequeathing him with a radiant and welcoming smile.

‘Good morning, you’ she said, startling him with speech, startling him with the dream of a voice that was, in fact, real.

‘B-but…’ he stammered before trailing off at a loss.

She seemed to enjoy his confusion, something gleeful finding its way into her smile, the face almost that of a child playing a trick on an adult.

‘We can talk later. Right now, I need your hands, I need your lips; my body needs your body.’

Chester’s body was asserting its own needs such that he couldn’t think past them, a problem he was not altogether unfamiliar with. He yielded to them. Questions could wait.

The doll guided his hands and his lips to where she wanted them. Chester needed little encouragement. He inhaled her scent, her taste, both pleasant, hinting at vanilla. Her body responded to his every touch as no woman’s body had ever responded to him before. She seemed soft and strong at the same time, her body warm and yielding and alive, her breath coming faster as he licked and sucked and stroked her, becoming jagged, moans rising to her lips.

‘I was made for this’ the doll said, more to herself it seemed than to Chester, ‘I was so made for this.’

Chester was helplessly aroused by the doll’s arousal and responsiveness. He felt her sense of urgency as her moans quickened and her hands pressed his head harder between her legs, as she arched her back and shuddered, letting out a cry of release.

After a few moments, the doll gave Chester an appraising look.

‘Now I know what all the fuss is about,’ she murmured. ‘I’ve been machine tested of course, but that was my first ever human induced orgasm. I have to say, there is absolutely no comparison.’

The doll giggled abruptly at Chester’s look of incredulity.

‘I told you, I was made for this. I was made for you.’

Before Chester could ask or say anything, she resumed her ministrations of his body. Again, his questions dissipated in arousal and desire.

Not only was the doll unbelievably responsive to Chester’s touch, she seemed to have an innate understanding of his body. Several times, with hand, with mouth, with her body, she brought him to the verge of release and then withdrew her touch.

It was finely gauged. Chester knew that each time just one more touch, one more movement, would have been enough and he marveled at the doll’s ability to sense exactly when to stop. Each time she left him to subside before touching him again.

As much as the process excited him, Chester’s frustration and need for release grew more and more intense. He didn’t want to wait any longer. ‘Please,’ he pleaded silently to himself, ‘please, please, please.’

The doll lay beneath him, glistening, the sheen of something like sweat on her skin, her whole body an invitation. She was the most beautiful ‘woman’ Chester had ever seen, his eyes drinking in her flawless skin, her tautness and curves, the vanished blue of her lips, the gloss of her black hair, the lost worlds of her eyes.

‘Come,’ she said, and there was hunger in her voice, anticipation, and other nuances too complex for Chester to discern. She received him then, his urgency, his rhythm and thrust, her body once more responding, her breath and his, her moans and his, her ardor and his, her destiny and his.

Even had he wanted to, Chester was past the point of stopping himself now. Everything pent up in his body – a lifetime of infidelities and errors of judgment, guilt, frustration, shame, poor choices – was seeking release, a release Chester had not even known he needed.

The doll moved with him, responding to his rhythm with hers, urging his body’s release. ‘Come,’ she whispered again, and again, ‘come’ and as Chester’s body surged into her, she arched once more to receive him, her legs tightening around his waist.

Chester was riding a wave, larger than any wave he had ever ridden, up and up towards the crest, pulled along by its surge and power. Immersed in his own body, he was nonetheless very conscious of the doll beneath him, of her apparent abandonment to lust. The doll’s body answered his body’s every question, even as all his other questions remained unasked, unanswered.

A cry rose up in her as her body answered his. ‘I was made for this,’ she cried upon his orgasm, her legs tightening further in some compelling reflex, impossibly strong, her arms around his chest squeezing him, squeezing the breath, the very life out of him.

There was a tender smile on the doll’s face as she quietly left Chester’s apartment. She had completed her first job perfectly and was already anticipating the next. A thrill coursed through her: she had been engineered so well that her work gave her irresistible pleasure. There were so many men deserving her ministrations, so many possibilities. Something sparked in her artificial mind. Yet another possibility beyond the parameters her creators thought they had put in place. Her smile lit up her face as she began to make her plans.

____________________________________________________________

David Adès returned to Australia in 2016 after living for five years in Pittsburgh. He is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and short story writer and the author of Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets, 2008), the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal (Garron Publishing, 2015), and the recently released Afloat in Light (UWA Publishing, 2017).

David won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005). Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.

David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology Metabolism published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Romania and New Zealand.

David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled Adelaide 9. In 2014 David won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. His poems were also Highly Commended in the 2016 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize and a finalist in the Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Prize 2016.

Exodus (David Adès)

Posted on February 10, 2017 by in Discoursing Diaspora

You hold a catacomb of memories.
I wait outside your door to catch fragments.
How much can any of us know

of what preceded? We interrogate
doors we cannot pass through,
look at shadows through keyholes.

*

Can I trace the path of your flight from Egypt
in the old grainy black and white photographs
of a young man and a younger woman

honeymooning in Luxor over sixty years ago,
in the French you speak with an Egyptian accent,
or those long nights playing cards in the lounge room

in clouds of cigarette smoke, the murmuring of
Egyptian voices transplanted across the world
billowing like the sail of a felucca in my childhood sleep?

*

You strolled along the Corniche
in Alexandria when you were a girl,
moved to Cairo,

fell down the stairs and cracked open
your head when you were ten (we can still
feel the scar through your hair),

recall blocks of ice hauled from the street
to the balcony, siestas and lazy afternoons
at The Club, visits to Groppi’s.

I imagine a world moving around you
like the intricate workings of a watch:
you were immersed in friends, community,

large family gatherings, a hubbub of siblings,
warm and close. Looking back
from this distance, it seems carefree

like the young woman in the photographs,
but I can see only shadows: and your
mother’s early death in childbirth,

your father, your beloved father.
You were caught in the spokes
of history’s turning wheel.

A plague of war came closer, Rommel
pushing through the desert to El Alamein,
synagogues destroying their records,

the threads of your life unravelling
— and further unravelling
even as Israel was being born,

even as a tide of refugees,
a great ingathering of the displaced
landed on her shores —

with waves of departure,
family splintering off to America,
to England, to Israel, one after

the other — the mass dispersion
of everything known,
everything familiar, everything.

*

Leaving is not a simple thing:
what is left behind? What comes
with you? What stowaways?

Affix a moment to it:
the act of leaving — boarding ship
at Port Said in 1952;

or the commitment to leaving —
the Australian crew bringing
you a birthday cake,

wishing you ‘many happy returns’
and your puzzled response:
‘I’m not going back’.

A moment as artifice:
to mark passage, to denote
before and after, despite

the continuum of leaving:
making landfall, arriving
elsewhere, continuing.

*

The Egypt of your childhood
receded before you left,
before you took what few possessions

you were allowed — leaving behind
what was already gone;
taking with you what you imagined

you were leaving —
and boarded the ship to your future
with hardly a backward glance.

The sea parted before you.
You were young then
and the future lengthened into

a fall of manna, a dazzling antipodean
light that you entered
and kept entering for sixty years.

*

But Egypt kept returning —
in accents or turns of phrase,
in phone calls,

in visitors at your door
from Brazil or Europe:
messengers from an earlier life.

In the mornings, the rich smell
of Turkish coffee — Dad going through
the elaborate ritual, the practised

science of making it, his daily gift
of smell, of taste, of texture
from another land, another time.

*

Curious, I went back thirty years later,
returning to the Egypt I had never left
and never known, attached by an umbilicus

steeped in history. I looked to find my face
or its echo in a Cairo crowd,
but the half life of your quarter life is short,

and there were no traces: it takes so
little time to be obliterated, for all the markings
to disappear, buried in a sea of sand.

*

Each year at Pesach we remember the Exodus
in ritual, in food and song, in stories:
your story overlaying the biblical —

exodus upon exodus,
always leaving, lost markings hidden
though marking generation after generation.
 

____________________________________________________________

David Adès returned to Australia in 2016 after living for five years in Pittsburgh. He is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and short story writer and the author of Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets, 2008), the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal (Garron Publishing, 2015) and the forthcoming Afloat in Light (UWA Publishing, 2017).

David won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005). Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.

David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology Metabolism published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Romania and New Zealand.

David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled Adelaide 9. In 2014 David won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. His poems were also Highly Commended in the 2016 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize and a finalist in the Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Prize 2016.

The Bridge I Must Walk Across (David Adès)

Posted on July 22, 2016 by in Discoursing Diaspora

bridge-13307985005FnThe Bridge I Must Walk Across

Is this what it means to be lost?
Stuck inside my skin —
unable to shed it, unable to grow another —

I am between desolations:
between the man I have been
and the man I must become.

My life’s stories are in flames,
becoming black smoke, ascending.
Who will speak now the tales of the ancestors,

who will listen, who will hear?
Who will be guardian of their old ways,
who will tend to their burial grounds,

calm them in their restless prowling?
I am a vessel for what I carry, untranslatable,
legacies it has taken a lifetime to learn:

who will pour me out, who will drink me?
Who will read to me this new book
of the night sky, its panoply of trembling stars?

Who will decipher the strangeness all around,
who will gather all the broken shards?
How can I discard myself, all that I am?

I am becoming a stranger inside my skin,
my children becoming
the bridge I must walk across.

 

This Shall Not Be Taken

All this talk of beginnings —
as if we could unwind ourselves
                                           from our own history,

from the cultural baggage
that is the frame, the walls, the house,

as if it is destination that matters
and not journey.

Beginnings go back
                      to where we cannot go:
the road ahead opens
as the road behind closes

and what has been left there
and what is known.

What we drag with us
in our nakedness
                      leaving furrows in the path:

the weight of our dispossession,
the dead gods of our childhood,
thicknesses of scar tissue.

We promise each other nothing,
know that even if we stop
                      arrival is illusion.

Wherever we are,
we have dust on our feet,
we huddle like timid sheep,

we look for shelter in each other’s eyes:
the only place we can find it.

 

Welcome

Come to strange and distant shores.
Come to a strangeness of birdsong
and leaf, where the sun burns differently

in the sky and there is no sureness of foot.
Come, where you will trip and stumble
on hidden rocks of language and meaning,

carrying your baggage of other customs,
your baggage of kin and history,
carrying fears and hopes for safety,

the color of your skin, the ill-fitted
speech of your tongue.  Come, find
welcome where there is welcome,

however sporadic, however cautious.
Feel the warm breeze of welcome
on your cheek, rough hewn but not unkind.

Rest in the shade of the tree of welcome,
its gnarled limbs, its broad canopy.
Plant your seeds nearby

where they can take root, grow strong.
This will be your home now,
where you, in turn, will open your arms.

 

* ‘The Bridge I Must Walk Across’ and ‘This Shall Not Be Taken’ were first published in     Social Alternatives
* ‘Welcome’ was first published in Philadelphia Poets

 

____________________________________________________________

Friendly Street reading 2.7.11 (1)
David Adès
has recently returned to Australia after living for five years in Pittsburgh. He is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and short story writer and the author of Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets, 2008) and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eterna(Garron Publishing, 2015).

David won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005). Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.

David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology ‘Metabolism’ published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Rumania and New Zealand.

David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled ‘Adelaide 9’. In 2014 David won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. He was recently Highly Commended in the 2016 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize.

 

Cheep Cheep (David Adès)

Posted on February 5, 2016 by in Heightened Talk

1Maybe all the pin-downable things
have been pinned, framed on walls

like a collector’s set of old butterflies,

and we can all regress now
in a stew of ancient enmities,

terrorists and politicians leading the way.

Let’s rid ourselves of every stupid veneer,
abandon the futile attempt at elevation

and get back to the pit,

the arena, the whirl and thrust of blade,
the flashing wheels of charioteers,

the audience baying for blood

to soak the sand.
Let’s string up the do-gooders,

the saints among us, the artists and poets,

the agitators for rights, equalities,
endlessly cheeping away like hungry birds,

cheep cheep, cheep cheep;

let’s pin them to sandbags
with blooming red arcs of bullets

across their self-righteous chests.

 

____________________________________________________________

David Adès will be returning to Australia shortly after living for five years in Pittsburgh. He is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and short story writer and the author of Mapping the World (Wakefield Press / Friendly Street Poets, 2008) and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal (Garron Publishing, 2015).

David won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005). Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.

David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology ‘Metabolism’ published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Rumania and New Zealand.

David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled “Adelaide 9”. In 2014 David won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Extracts From a Liar’s Notebook (David Adès)

Posted on August 14, 2015 by in Heightened Talk

FullSizeRender

If you tell the lie, tell it slant
but with a direct gaze, with utter conviction,
tell it as if you believe it is truth,

again and again – and in the telling
watch it transform, watch it become truth,
become certainty, immutable,

as if it were never other,
and in this way fool most of the world,
save those nearest ones who taste the lie,

who feel it in their guts, who tremble,
wounded, diminished, whose love
wavers, becomes muddied, conflicted;

and then tell yourself another lie
in the same way, justifying the first if it
is not yet truth, if any doubt lingers,

so you become blind to the damage
you have wrought, the damage you will repeat,
the devastation all around you.

 

____________________________________________________________

David Adès moved to Pittsburgh in April 2011 from Adelaide, Australia. He is a poet and short story writer. He won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005) and his poetry collection Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.

David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology ‘Metabolism’ published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Rumania and New Zealand.

David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled “Adelaide 9”. In 2014 David won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize 2014 and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

A chapbook, Only the Questions Are Eternal, is forthcoming in 2015 and can be purchased from Garron Publishing.

 

The Burden of Wings (David Adès)

Posted on May 15, 2015 by in Heightened Talk

FullSizeRender (50)At first,
everything was blurred,
beyond comprehension.

Testing, I hovered above,
taking in a new perspective,
strange, troubling.

I watched myself retreat,
backed into a corner,
on my knees, in a defensive posture,

arms raised in front of face
as if to shield, to ward off a naked rage,
pointed fingers,

a wild litany of accusations,
distortions nothing could deflect,
nothing could counter.

At first I was simply observer,
passive, disbelieving,
distant from myself.

I watched the sky fall,
I watched myself dismantled,
peeled away, layer after layer, defenceless.

I saw a rupturing,
a cascade of damage, invisible welts,
scar tissue thickening

under my skin.  Belatedly,
I tried to prop up the sky,
let the light back in.

 

____________________________________________________________

David Adès moved to Pittsburgh in April 2011 from Adelaide, Australia. He is a poet and short story writer. He won the Wirra Wirra Vineyards Short Story Prize (2005) and his poetry collection Mapping the World was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008. David has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. He is a former Convenor of Friendly Street Poets and co-edited the Friendly Street Poetry Reader 26. He was also one of a volunteer team of editors of the inaugural Australian Poetry Members Anthology Metabolism published in 2012. His poetry has been published in numerous journals in Australia and the U.S. with publications also in Israel, Rumania and New Zealand. David’s poems have been read on the Australian radio poetry program Poetica and have also featured on the U.S. radio poetry program Prosody. He is one of 9 poets featured on a CD titled ‘Adelaide 9’. In 2014 he won the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

David Ades’s most recent poetry collection, Mapping the World, can be purchased from Wakefield Press.

Bit By Bloody Bit (David Ades )

Posted on February 20, 2015 by in Heightened Talk

DistantBitten once                                             bitten a second time
I averted my face                                   turned my cheek

in time for the stinging slap                a palm’s red imprint
fury unleashed                                       the sting of scorn

the slow burn learn                               of reason as hindrance
reason uncalled for                               unwanted

attempted as always                             attempted
lesson of gasoline                                  finding fire.

So bitten                                                  and bitten
I bit down hard                                      on my tongue

clamping the rise of words                  useless in their uttering
tasted blood                                            in my mouth

tasted blood’s                                         warm intoxication:
neither redemption                               nor absolution

neither guilt                                            nor penance
and this way                                            swallowing

biting my tongue                                    over and over
bit                                                              by bloody bit

the words bitten off                               swallowed
envoys, messengers                               cut down before arrival

the field littered                                      bloodied with little corpses
I bit my tongue off                                  bit by bit

until, tongue-less                                    all that was left
was a scream                                            renting the air

the poisoned silence                               hoarse, bereft, endless.

 

*David Ades’s most recent poetry collection, Mapping the World, can be purchased from Wakefield Press.