Sundress Publications

Jonathan Shipley

Date of Birth: 10/3/77
Location: London, UK


Tighten grip I'm losing it,
mad in the sun, June heat -- dune bugs.
Taking ants between thumbs, screwing lids on drink bottles
to keep them in -- they scaled the side
and rested there, unaware that glass turns air to flames.
If I hadn't suffocated them they would have frazzled,
been burned, died there, anyway.

Seeping into the corners of things,
like the sun, blossom falling -- June bloom.
Summer breeze dismantling trees, putting waste in plastic bags
and sitting on -- if they catch the wind
I'll have to gallop off across the park, and leave you here.
If I must break camp, if I need to gather up my things
and run, wait here, don't leave.

There is no outward bound -- no parting shot,
no final bell. There is no hour's chime.
We need not be back. We have stepped outside time.
The station clock is stopped.

The plug is clogged,
the air has water in it -- June dew.
Taking humectant breaths, bringing air up respiratory tracts,
trying to acknowledge facts -- not letting pockets
of self-doubt get to the arteries like exhaust fumes to the air
in this cracked town. This city needs
a lungful of oxygen like that last kiss,
where I let my hands slip underneath your sleeve
and felt your skin.

This city needs you in it, most of all.
Quick to bruise, breaking rules and breaking form,
this city needs you like a cleansing storm.

This city needs you here in your good time.
Cannot command, can rubber stamp invitations
to smoggy parks, but must just wait, and hope you'll come.