8 Days Remaining
Fran Lock

Thursday 6th
posted by Jody Porter in Arts

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter

Ghost Fanciers’ Ball
Fran Lock

Estate pubs running Psychic Nights; our
laddered tights and peevish metaphysics.
We breathe an easy hopelessness, girls
in heels and hardboiled griefs, an artifice
of fingernails. Our minds on silent vibrate,
we drink to what it is ghosts know: atomic
weight of tenderness, and how to stand
the working week, its insults to the soul.
A muted light, I dare not speak. I try, I
taste the salted earth we eat but cannot
turn. And so we’ll wait, I’ll wait, I push
my empty glass – planchette – across
the bar. We wait, but they won’t come.
Our ghosts are young and strong, they
do not know defeat, all tardy heat and credit
debt and opioid monotony. We wait, they
will not come, and we’ll go home to
pockets, plundered for fingers; the burnt
toast taste of the fists in our mouths, closed
hands we tried to ripen, like snails, in
alcohol. Home to faded photographs,
the faces white and smooth as blisters
now. Home to neck the dark and hungry
hour when panic comes alone. Estate pubs
running Psychic Nights, and it is getting
worse, as London makes a bouquet
of its poverties; erects a metal bridge
between two voids in space. Our
ghosts are young, and gone, and lost
in intravenous dreaming; we have
neither fight nor blame, only a pain
that’s too precise for violence; only
the city, awkwardly psyched. We are
left behind and we could scream,
the mouth opened out at its corners
like a carton of milk. London rubs
her hemispheres together, fly on
the wall. Mind the gap is the oldest
joke in the world, and the worst.

Fran Lock is a sometime itinerant dog whisperer and author of two poetry collections, Flatrock (Little Episodes, 2012) and The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt, 2014). Her third collection, Dogtooth, will be published by Out-Spoken Press next year.

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