Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Four Poems - Joe Dresner


I feel as though your name should have an accent
hovering over one of the letters like a little hat.
The pair of sharp droll consonants are tempered
by the cool clipped vowels as strawberries are tempered in cream.
My memories of last night are as fragile
and unreal as fingerprints.
I hold the memory of last night as you’d hold
an egg in a spoon.
The buildings flank me like soldiers.
Everyone is jealous of me and you.
Cecile, I have become reckless,
buying wine, sandwiches, clothes,
I am reckless at pedestrian crossings,
narrowly missing a car. I’m oblivious,
as if I were engrossed in a good book,
a book called Cecile.

Swagger: A Portrait of a Cavalier

Leather. Sexy. Chiffon.
Some serious Carolinian bling.

First the doublet, a justacorp, silk sashes, pink on white,
a lesson in studied negligence, it fits so clumsily
it looks as if it could collapse at any moment
like a poorly pitched tent. The ruff, declining over
the neck and shoulder is made of lace so fine
it would fall through your fingers like water.

Silk. Pearl . Crepe-de-chine.

His beard is as trim as a magician’s trick,
the hair tousled, neck length. The lovelock, a single strand
left to grow down the back, is Rapunzel's wet dream.
Now the hat, a cocked capotain, is as wide as a shield,
topped with some ostrich pluck,
the sort of hat you could bury your head in.

Cambric. Fuck me. Taffeta.

Satin black breeches, skin-tight, set off his thighs.
Then a pair of bright hosed boots, gay and expendable as soldiers.
Each boot has a buckle fit to bind a giant’s belt.
Each boot has a ribbon rosette like an exotic sponge.
The spurs look as soft as gold.

Charmeuse. Camblet. Kiss-me-quick.

But he is eighteen, perhaps twenty, and his pale blue eyes
leave it open as to whether such a discernable swagger
was on account of a conviction or a doubt.

The End of the Affair

I remember that in the Capital
            they have trees along the side of the road
with perfect right-angle corners cut
            in to the leafy dome their branches form
so that when double deckers go by
            the tips of the trees’ outmost twigs avoid
the sides of the buses so neatly
            it is as if they were breathing in to let them past.


Being both vain and deeply insecure she would hijack every Christmas by hiding in bed all day strapped into her defibrillator, conspicuous in her absence. I remember a silver platter at the centre of the dining room table holding the remains of a denuded turkey. Bits of glistening skin like pads of makeup, the rich bones like knuckles of lipstick, cartilage thin and feathery as mascara sticks. “Kiss your sister goodbye”, she reminded me once, “you were close when you were little, you shared the toilet together, both sitting on one half of the bowl.” Even now the smell of filter coffee and perfume stalls in department stores will remind me of her cheap glamour, the aroma overcoming me as tears will overcome mascara and compose the powder into ink. Regrets become apparent. Debts make themselves known. “You will need your family one day” she warned me, before offering me a pan as I left for University. As if I might use it to sift for something in my father’s final words on the matter: as she was carried out in her coffin, her lungs finally done in, he whispered “she’s not in there”, which I have taken as figurative rather than merely literal.

Joe Dresner is a 23 year old poet from Sunderland. He works at the Royal Academy of Arts as an administrator in their retail department. His work has been published in magazines like South and Fuselit and online at Cadaverine and Pomegranate.

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