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OSCILLATIONS Elaine Cosgrove

A chapbook of poems

1.0 December 2013


Twenty-six Candles’ Carnival, A Stab at Love, Blow Hot, Blow Cold, That Person, The Same Rules, and New Year Thrill.

How should we break the long silence if we had the same rules. - Sujata Bhatt Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. - Einstein’s ‘Three Rules of Work’


I principle these sunken fire-heads as flagpoles rather than as graves. Lick off coconut cake’s blue-icing, and read Ferlinghetti's the world is a beautiful place. Arm around the syllables, I waltz with makeshift grandfather who points an ink index at me. He speaks wicked aspiration to see the world with verticality. Chin up! Imperfect lines dress easiest. Sneaking walls are gears that come with tenderness. Concrete grip cortisol relaxes with jewels so decorative they give darkest room’s lightswitch Technicolor to electrify, cause smirk and embrace.

A ST AB AT LOVE Spirits gather at 4am, the evening before November. His friend says she aspires to be in a relationship like ours. He—my man—doesn't look at me but at the floor between his gapped-tooth hands, replies politely, “Aw, thanks.” I'm delighted she said it, but I sense he's feeling guilty for the past taking stock. Black marble mute as my voice condensates under settling pints. Plastic silver starlets flash save me save me from this bar we should head home from. Home to words that bump out in the after-hour. Home to the fall-out from his separation. Home before they bitter our popped-rock tongues. Home to tears at a loss to a brush-drum rattle. Maybe I should have said instead to his friend that I try to go with the everyday stuff: a kiss, a runic smile, the touch t-minus to the normality of his presence; the metallic constellation of his van keys thrown on the kitchen table.


Brass Heart Ours is a brass heart tick-tock on this first day of winter hailstones. When it swings left, it swings with 60s’ polyester eyelash hips and a dip-dyed smile. When it sways right, it crumbles over suburban tower; dynamite into cup of cold tea.

Wish I could stop the woman with long strides past the bus stop, weekday mornings. Wish I could stop straight-arm walk, strap of handbag. Say, “Love, calm your steamship down”.

Rumi with Shams (Boy racers) Every time a country song comes on the radio, I’m sure we’re going to crash Cohen-Brothers-style. But it’s never happened so allow me to be a bit more serious: A forecast for doom is in your transit— is in your up-and-leaving all the time.

Smoking Area This maroon interior is bald due to sitter’s strokes, and mahogany wood sanitised too many times. I should know better than pretending to be naïve to talk dropped like beer mats under a round. I go out to smoke, for a break, but every toke is a question mark rising in a hot air balloon.


Drives to Tesco car park on Saturdays for a coin exchange on loneliness, Has two sachets of sugar in their tea to make conversation medicinal, Goes to the pub for drinks to loosen the noose of everyday tasks that prove too difficult, Sits in a corner, sits on a stool changing legs over with a newspaper and pen. That person is a glance of a stranger being enough and the secondary twitch in their lips of a half hello, Kit Kats as gifts he hasn't bought in three years to say thanks for the lift up the road Fixes fiver notes to Christmas cards and leaves the postman a swig bottle of Powers, Drops a fifty dollar smile to a woman he used to know Best wishes, with love, a friend from the Emerald Isle. That person doesn't go out anymore because they have work in the morning or just couldn't be arsed Requiting what-you-doing these days enquiries with white lies that sell a positivist activity to a market of gossip, Will ask retail workers in the bookies to O’Brien’s how are you getting on and really want to know the reply, Leaving an extra tip for their trained patience crumpled in a hand already scrunching it up.


My hands pull clumps of grass from the ground into my palm— blemish the skin’s lines summer green. We’ll lye on the playing pitch, my dear, and take about us the love you saw in a dream or was it a nightmare? Let us lye on the neat ground, avoid the matter at hand and message about this-and-that. You tell me a second time you really like the silver torc around my neck: the thread that hangs it up, the Aztec-print cloth woven between its links of metal, and I say, “It cost three euro in Penny’s on O’Connell Street.” I scatter the dead strings across the space between us. Leave that night to nothing but tension; an unravel, and a tying-up of loose ends and knot. This is not sterling silver; it is cheapness that is supposed to break soon but doesn’t. It looses some colour but is strong. Going home I see a living room illuminated by undrawn curtains at night. Rows of fancy silver forks, knives, desert spoons and soupspoons laid out for guests shine in a glass cabinet.





becomes brush of velvet curtains against my knee on exit.


Some of these poems are already published - in different versions - on my Tumblr, and Poetry Zoo pages. Notes on Twenty-six Candles’ Carnival: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’ 'The World is a beautiful place' ‘from Pictures of the Gone World (City Lights: 1955; 1995). Humanitude®: a model of care-giving founded by Yves Gineste and Rosette Marescotti; one aspect is ‘verticality’. I read about it in this paper by Margot Phaneuf: Humanitude As Applied to Nursing Care Technicolor®: colour motion picture process; saturated levels of colour

AUTHOR I NFO Elaine Cosgrove (b. 1985) is from Sligo in the west of Ireland. She lives in Galway City. She has an MPhil. in Creative Writing (Distinction) from the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Her work has been published in The Bohemyth, Icarus, wordlegs presents: 30 under 30, and The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry: Volume I. She has been shortlisted for the Fish Publishing One Page Story Prize, and the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Prize. She has collaborated with visual artists, musicians, and the public on several projects. She has a special interest in digital poetics.

E-mail Scrapbook & C.V. Tweets poetryzoo @laineycos Lainey Cosgrove


Returned poems: Remediated self laineyscissorhands: Digital collage

Author photo: Colin H. Smith

Oscillations: poems by elaine cosgrove