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Tuesday 15 July 2014

A Preview of Reuben Woolley's 'the king is dead' (Oneiros Books)

king front cover

mountain poem

writing on the edge . an awe
full balancing , each word
tight . no room
for whims . no fears
of falling . finding footholds
hang by fingers . no
crampons , no ropes
alone , you & the wind . put
that idea here
safe . hold
on to it . your life
on the next word

unholy silence

living here 
is no pleasure . the death
of things , the stillness
they do not cry . they stare
with blooded eyes , unseeing
black hills run down
to blacker water unheard , ears 
pierced . the death 
of dreams

they are dry trees , stand
for no flame . no
red licks of bones

we lock these things away 
they will not return with stories
we cannot but hear . blindfold
they will not see
our secrets , our fumbling
games of wet flesh . hoping
for immortality , for
memory . our overwhelming


birds fly
over blooded land . it is
no matter . we
did not name
this place
singing hymns before
the sun . does not
rise . the shadow
makers came
before . stripped flesh
from all the living
stories , sucking 
details from bones . eyes
are choice
for rats & crows
            the nothing
that was done
casts long shade
& fear spreads cells
unseen . we do not
move . we are absorbed
in dark streets . we feed 
the screams of all
the silent children . red
meat hanging to dry . we
lost this game . there is
no replay , no last appeal


I grow arms
& legs . a face
will appear & I
shall learn speech

if bleeding is needed
I'll open
the veins , bead
this orchard red
it will grow bones

is my graveyard . 'm
behind these stones
with new lips . I grow
skin for these rites , coming
in profusion , renewing
dead earth

the king is dead (ii)

hero , you have sold your golden armour
for a night’s lodging · priest,
a lady has taken your robe for a pillow                         
the ventriloquist’s dummy
has stolen his words

& all our eyes
have been pierced
by the same silken thread

we will make
the same mistake again , all of us
when the time
comes again

those of you
who chew your food slowly
against the coming of the rats            
the king did not go short of food

the flowering tree
has been corrupted              
& the other parts of the body
fell off
long ago

'the king is dead' is available from Oneiros Books, here

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