Monday, 9 January 2012

On The Box and Deciding Not To Be

The box is back.
Made of bone and sea-skin,
Its skull floating in Israeli sand and its
Stomach full of Peyote soldiers who nest
In tiny metal cocoons and chew on cordite clouds atop
Descaled mountains buried in copper skies.

I hear them sometimes, 
When the box is sleeping,
Whisper-shouting as they head off to war
With weapons of dream;
Their little limbs puffing cardboard smoke
As they set sail along the arcadian canyon.
They battle the opium eaters,
The wooden ones, who dwell on the riverbeds
With foxfire eyes, licking their fingers 
And dressing their root rot in olive oil.
They fight over air, revolution in a box,
But none can breathe, so all retreat when the night curdles
And the moon cuts itself from its stalk.
I try to help them, send aid; 
But the box knows me well and scurries off
With bark nails if I’m silent for too long,
Conspiring with the pennies I planted in the carpet,
Who’ve now taught themselves to walk, and mimic
My eye-o-logue as I sit canvas-like on a Victorian easel.
I called for the exterminators, the best of the best,
Spectacled and illusive, though Freud advised me it was only a box, 
And Skinner just stole the rats that had moved in over summer.
The box is crafty I told them. It speaks in foreign tongues,
Of spices and red; but I know red well,
It smells like the sun and sounds like a thousand deserts
Thrown teeth first into an incubator with blue babies 
And homeless diamonds. They left after that, and now
I think I too may be infected with sand, 
For even the cracks in the wall have learnt my name.
I must confront the box, break it or maim it; 
But what am I? Just a lonely gun
Coughing up bullets wrapped in paper words on a laminated floor 
Littered with heavy-lidded shells that don’t wish to sea. 
I am no shell, the world will not close,
And there’s no pearl on my tongue,
Only salt in my veins and anarchy in my pockets.
It is of no matter today though,
For today, I’ve decided I do not wish to be.
No, instead I am fictional, the furniture, 
A self-contained suitcase,
Only empty and christmas-like, 
Illumined and wall-less with lungs full of snow.
Tomorrow I will silence it, stuff it with glass, and bury it
Under the tree that has no business where it stands,
Uninvited into my garden,
Debauched and buckled over the grass it eats.
And then I will gas the tree, like all the rest,
And use its plumage to feed the sun.

This piece was loosely based on/inspired by Plath's brilliant "Arrival of the Bee Box", though I drifted off quite a bit as always - we all have our own boxes to contend with.