5 Days Remaining
Daniel Sluman

Thursday 23rd
posted by Jody Porter in Arts

Well Versed is edited by JODY PORTER

eat a peach & fall asleep

red-lipped    tilted   & blown away like a daffodil head
into the mud-slicked rushes     where the noise of gunfire
in monsoon     is sodden flies spat into a microphone
they neither smack or enter the flesh        but pull lashes
of blood from bodies        yanking intestines into a pile
so clean they shine like Jesus       arms in piles or alive
clutching around the back to feel the bullet bitten
deeper than sleep   money   clean cotton sheets
twitching the last bolts at the bottom of the heart
dreams swallowed whole       babies crawling
on chests   now  a femur slipped through the skin
like a silk scarf       an ankle turned the wrong way
in the dirt   & this is what bound means   tied by ropes
of politic & wealth    to this country    this war    running
through fields where grenades disturb the flowers
drenched in glees of water    the blood   the shit
the tip-tap of rain on the tin of my helmet
just as it slides down my mother’s conservatory
where things sit square & simple      the chair
where I could smoke   eat a peach & fall asleep
not knowing what I don’t know

I cry when he tries to put his hands on me or kiss me

you said       his face coming & going in storms
as you told me      how his nails slipped in 

& you singed your eyes shut      dreamt

of a perfectly-suited husband   a garden-
full of flowers       but the image

was interrupted  by his grunts       

as the dahlias turned   into themselves
in disgust      the hole-punch moon   mute        

as you stared beyond  his shoulder              

& all that feeling dissolved away
your mother’s voice a penny shaking

in your head both our heads       

when I try to kiss the mascara from your eyes
& you shake so hard   saying it’s not you

please understand      it’s not you

one-night-stand café 

in all their gloriously different skirts
they sit at the cafe    singing Al Green

together       their fingers spacing inches

comparing stopwatches where the glass cracked
spent           their eyes dim in dark coffee

remembering how summer dresses hungered hands    

thumbs glassy in the sun     before my nails struck the seam
of another’s stockings    & wouldn’t come loose

how I now tap the tip of a knife on the bone over my heart

at the idea   that she will soon conquer someone else
with her mouth     so I tell her the same thing 

each day        & her lips cramp over   you too

as this becomes more complicated than she thought
how she enters      every room of her life 

like a perfume advert     & this love holds me 

mid-air            a skewed picture nailed against
the greasy wall       hung on the edge of its hook 

Daniel Sluman is a 27 year old poet based in Gloucestershire. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as B O D Y, Cadaverine, Popshot, Shit Creek Review, and Under the Radar. He received an MA in Creative & Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire in 2012 and his debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published to critical acclaim in 2012. His second collection the terrible will be published Autumn/Winter 2015, also with Nine Arches Press. He tweets @danielsluman

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter –
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