Hours & Days (Susie Campbell)

Wednesday 8th September 2010
tonight i really feel like going for
a swim. the pool of course is closed. most days
i force myself to jump straight in, flesh bumped
with chilly hesitation. but tonight
i want a skin of cold water wrapped
around my fevered veins. my brain hot-wired
from my screen’s blue suck. i am electric,
scarlet jelly flung against the wall, limbs
stretched, sliding, translucent, pink and thin
Friday 10th September 2010
i am seeing things in an eden light,
innocent. with a particular clarity.
morning cold. brightness blocked into backyards
by deep shadow. a golden net of safety
through which lucifer will fall. blazing. alight.
i’ll be seeing things in a 9/11 light tomorrow
Saturday 11th September 2010
he’s there every night and early each morning
neck bulging, biceps inked with tribal blue,
he only lifts steel. wrangling iron girders
as if he’s building a ship in a wet
dream of a dockyard. he’s clocking in for
a hard shift each time he punches in
his number. goes home to a lonely tea.
Monday 13th September 2010
other people collect photos or songs
to remind them of places and people
they don’t want to let go. i keep weather
reports on my iphone. i chart climate
variations. each precipitation
recorded on my phone like a souvenir snowdome
one shake and cities spin, applications
tumble, but the weather stations assure
me it will be warm and dry tomorrow
Wednesday 15th September
swimming in cold water tonight, i feel
the plunge into autumn. a flock of geese
fly overhead, an arrow swinging south.
a solitary swimmer, i breastroke
expansive lines. i feel the chill: last swim
through geese, and chlorinated summer time
Thursday 16th September 2010
came back from the funeral and stuffed my
face, i couldn’t eat enough. bagels and
cream cheese, crisps and cake. my chin was smeared
with melted fat, the matt-black of my stiff
dark suit glazed with jam and sugar. bingeing.
it was my own secret burial. cramming
a six foot hole with carbohydrates
as if i were somehow starved of life and the
only recourse were to swallow, swallow.
Saturday 4th September 2010
the day i heard about my father’s death
a crow just missed colliding with my car.
its claws outspread, it ski-ed across the roof,
slid down the screen and figure-skated off.
dark patineur. with wings held wide, it fell
surprised unhurt, then on it flew. we’d missed.
i tried all day to miss the news, the squeal
of brake and squash! blood, and the smash of breath.
Sunday 19th September 2010
it’s perfectly normal for me to be
a little bit mad although each time it
seems a catastophe. the layer that
separates me from my words is membrane
holding white and yolk together. deafens
me with its drum, tinnitus of myself
in my ears. to rupture it i peck my
way out, emerge each time naked sticky
and hideous. my own bloody albatross.
Monday 20th September 2010
this tightness in my throat feels like unshed
tears, this weight pushing heavily on my
chest must be the heft of guilt or press of
dread piled on my psychological self.
so used am i to magnifying each
twinge of pain, each swing of mood, the virus
of multiplying neurotic thoughts, i
fail to identify this, the fever
and ache of the common cold. like warring
worlds of science fiction, i am toppled.
Wednesday 22nd September 2010
I never drive so dangerously as when
I’m driving home to you. i know it’s wrong
to break limits but my limits are breaking
too. the world is moving at a slower pace
than me. the urgency swells in my
feet making me press down harder, speeds me home
along a road filled with sheep and waltzing policemen.
Thursday 23rd September 2010
i filter the unbearable likeness
out of my blood’s recognition. his face,
an 80-year old play on the features
of a younger brother who died out of
chronology: my father, who lived so
much more intense a life and used it all up
as though a greedy brother might steal it.
Friday 24th September 2010
i went to the gym instead of writing a
poem. harder on the legs, less hard on the
mind. sometimes the treadmill seems Greek, their
idea of hell or Dante’s vicious circles
but some days there is no torment so long
as the rack of reluctant words or slow
as the
Saturday 25th September 2010
the tree lay in pieces all around him,
branches scattered broken on the ground. he
stared bewildered at hands hot and sticky
with sap, the axe’s clumsy head askew.
that’s how they found him: standing with blank eyes,
clutching at leaves. the tree was past saving.
Monday 27th September 2010
one stray thought is all it takes. ‘this is like
that time when…’ and I’m in freefall. my mouth
fills with panic, tongue like a dried date, sweet
and dessicated. except that, last time
didn’t feel like this time. it was unique.
without history. snipered me. but apart from
that, this time is just like last time, only
I’m different. I foresee the blow. strike
first. shadow box. precipitate the fight.
Tuesday 28th September 2010
i wear time like old elastic, baggy
and stretched so far it can hardly hold my
reputation up. Missed three trains tonight
believing erroneously I could
number these lines in time-tabled phrases.
Saturday 2nd October 2010
i walk around with a corpse on my foot.
it’s dead alright, paper-light and stuck to
the wool of my sock. weighs nothing but drags
me down with its rustling reminders of
crazy: not me. merely a corpse. zombie
energy moving by reflex and old thoughts.