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Thunnerplump Gordon Mason

The Red Ceilings Press MMX [rcp 14]

Thunnerplump Gordon Mason

cover image by Annie Kerr of Inkhaven

Thunnerplump And so, we say, friendship ends here in a tidal column of cloud that crumples the sky. Today has the saddest eyes, a tick of rain before the thunder swallows us into a house roomed by chance. Raw edges of what might have been scrape my metal fillings. Magpies people the light like an old movie devoid of sound but for a theatrical pianist. We close the book on the last brick of the story as dark paint swathes old weathered wood.

Witness Night is at a crossroads fleeing over the horizon. My neighbour takes his road stepping on stones across a stream. He is saying goodbye in another country: an unreliable map and an old passport. I remember old times when the world was new, opaque, awake. The vision is gone, nothing to lose; pleasure will come. My own witness, I take my road never knowing how.

Science teacher he taught in a port of hymns and haars and harbour walls curtains would blink and be dropped by age spotted hands like sixth period science by fishermen’s sons breakfasts and town planning were Presbyterian ruled by clicks of tongues only ironed creases of suit trousers were allowed to cut the snell east wind to teach herring gulls the physics of flight would be Sabbath breaking and make waves in the baptismal font

Retirement a lost man a trace of sadness stares open-eyed at a crossroads the next life waiting a ticking clock across the fields over the horizon he forgets to go home he crosses the frontier not knowing why transparent in the mist hesitant on the edge of the world

South wind South wind: you free the weather vane frozen on north and bring back memories, migrated for winter. Berry bushes in lush red warned of harsh hibernation. Only archipelagos of white cloud can soothe me. And now, between two lights, birds arrow from branch to branch; cherry blossom loses pinkness. In my imagination, I paint a bowl glazed with yellow roses as the calendar stares off the wall. Caramels last too long for me and colour my tongue like a stain. When I do finally speak my words are tinted with regret. Soon you will bleach them with your friend the sun and they will be wasted. The door to my past stands open to the fields and my remaining hope is to open a window for your draught to blow the door shut.

Rain Rain has a secret tenderness. More than a woman’s name. It begins in drips as if taking its first steps. Rain nuzzles and whispers; down my neck as if on the path of an old watercourse. Rain is the shy girl who worked in the bank long before our silhouettes blended. Her quick, liquid tongue. Rain is the tiny pulse in my wrist; bellows when I hear her fingers in my hair. What is left of it. When it rains as it almost certainly will, I will turn to her in search of a midnight kiss.

Diamond A diamond of a star has scratched the sky. The hills are dark blue. Ignorant of jewellery and old emotions. Emotions which boarded the luminous caterpillar of a night train and left behind memories. Warm as the whisky in my hand. Quarantined in peace. I roll the unused rail ticket between my fingers. A telescope to isolate the diamond.

Heartbeat Like the paper birch, my heart has cast its bark. I adapt November into spring. A sad song into goldfinches on a branch. Scrolls of dust into rainbows of silk anemones. A felled tree into jigsaws of church windows in a whisky glass. Dominoes of clouds into capsules of sunshine. A scarf of breath into vibrations of taffeta. Rough apples into a shepherdess figurine. Scarlet black of clotted blood into a sea of gold rosettes. A whirlpool of amnesia into investigative kisses. Your hair on my chest, blossom on my heartbeat.

Twelfth night Ice blue rose. A winter bloom without stem, without bud, without fragrance. Placed in a flute vase. A teardrop of candle flame. Wind sucks in from the mountains. Drained claret, a clot of blood. Words slide down your dress, fall over my feet like powder. White scribbles, whiter than gypsum. You step inside the shadow that was mine. Steal what was left of me. A quiet song dries on your lips. Silence. Absence. Each their own rush. I open my eyes to nothing but memory. To leave by your ear for when you awaken.

Mamiku She champions Creole cures of her grandmother with words that fly like flaming moths, her eyes filled with life and fire. Crushed leaves scent our hands: glory cedar, lemon grass, bride’s tears. And from the tree of life, rooted on umbilical cords, she tweaks a leaf. Her smile beckons a future of hope. Then she learns of her friend, cut dead at the last moon. We stand in a patch of raw silence in the heat of stalled morning. Stunted tears hang like lanterns from her doused eyes. Bananaquits and hummingbirds flee off moon orchids as if the bloody brigands had returned.

Solitary man for Gerardo del Valle Dust makes its traces around his feet. His face is buried in the greyness of his arms. There is nothing here to fill his clothes with life and fire. Flopped in a dead wind, he is on the edge of discovering amnesia. But the artist will not let him die in this cave of thoughts. From the shallows of sleep, the south-east sun blinks like a winter well fed with coins: an echo of spring.

Grouch of eyebrows A grouch of eyebrows, flying geese stagger under silted clouds. I hitch on their gust of air, garlic oiled with a hungry brushstroke. My nerves are a collision of harp and guitar. My words, read into fragments, are a waterfall coated with moss, I may never see their roar. The geese have reached the last street of the southern town. Under a parachute that sweeps the sky, I snatch back my breath.

Reflecta Reflecta is putting on her Munch face. What you see is always black and white, it is the colour of your pen, your own environment. The more you move, the more she changes character. Only when you face up to her can you face up to yourself. You become brushstroke, then picture. You become letter, then story. You bathe in contradictory silence; you ask if you can ever return to where you have never been. You give her a spoonful of laughter, her face creases like white birch, one eyebrow beckoning. You are looking straight ahead, over the blink of small spectacles, over your shoulder at other lives patterned by dead leaves on the scalloped edge of the mirror, a dream of your epitaph.

In peace Lenten moon is a monk bending over to pray, peppermint cold on his tongue. He speaks slowly as if each vowel is a fractured star. His is the fragile peace of a lonely man who would blow away in a breeze. And for a moment I share his hunched shadow in my doorway. I whisper in this secret huddle and lock into the invisible sanctuary that surrounds us. Eucharist, a townscape moored on the left bank, draining its last winter snow.

Salvage I was pierced by the moonless tides of day with no more shame than the seashore. A rainbow, blotted at each tail, pillowed my shout like a razor through silk. The doubtful arrow of my compass prowled as a moth on a light bulb. My head wore a crown of crinkled maps a few seconds out of date. Morning chants from moss matted lungs echoed through the monastery. Seashell ears sold me closed yellow daffodils with a promise of primroses. In a shadow furred with dust I saw the light wink out of my eyes.

Here in your mind I am a thought, a glance, a wild bird that flutters in the roses. I have never tasted the sea, drunk from white mountains or parachuted through a waterfall’s mist. I have never ruffled an owl’s quiff, leapfrogged toadstools or folded robes of sunlight. Yet I am here, here in your mind, to read my poems in its empty rooms.

Time is a landslide Time is a landslide: a wonderful chaos of directions. It dances on the paper in the cracks between words. Arrows plunder shadows, like stars hunting where tranquillity walks and heaven sweats through. The midday kisses, soft and triumphant, stroke silver mouths which at times mock yet start smooth duets. The notes carouse in azure, forever twisting their way through operas of gold jungles, huge and mesmerising. Truth is hidden in gullies where winds of judgement flutter as wise owls. A landslide in time rocks in purple and green geography; and the world pauses for fifteen minutes of oblivion.

Fani Rigobalti, sculptress Helsinki, Munich, Rome: I want to ask you how you strip cities to their life lines, and create musical notes for a city to journey in dance. But while our worlds connect our words drift around: my French, your English. You trace a city’s veins: blood flow strong as steel. In poetry of silhouette you forge a skeleton of a city’s rib cage with an imagined heart. You bend a city’s winds and whisk air into the carcass to remove pollution’s perfume. You free a city’s river from gags and shackles to offer the power of truth. Each city is a web of geometry; shadows whisper in plays of light. I stand in your city: my feet echo through its whole body. Helsinki, Munich, Rome.

Upside Down Café Upside Down Café, Third Quarter: garlic melba toast crackles, iced jasmine tea trickles. Ceiling fans tangle her hair to her frenzied delight. Trailing ivy baskets swing to the beat of Springsteen. A wall is splashed turquoise by Aaron Kingsman’s drapes: an exhibition of “Origins”. Mimi of the Café is in chocolate daydream, her cheek a split of froth. Shelves are frayed litters: Philadelphia Alumnac and Citizens Manual Great Quotes from Great Women Long Stays in Portugal and more literary successes. An amber-held candle has flickered out in a vermilion quarry. Two empty sofas entice, torn stuffings hold mementoes of rhythm, brush and pen: independent declarations. She eyes to me: “Curl up and sleep”.

Shadow of my heart The shadow of my heart flees. Through a sunset of alphabets. Across the pages of open paperbacks that close over time. With the jerky rhythm of a silent movie it takes its indoor complexion out. To kiss the snow on the trees. It pauses like the last of coffee. In a white cup. After the jolt of espresso it plunges. From a ledge where cowards vanish.

Tramcars Wooden tramcars creak through cobble beds like chapters of an endless novel. Second-hand bookstores lagged by books that remember their old owners as borrowed eyes. To find the prize is to seek but not in the same day: it may be years behind schedule. Cafes hold ladies with hours of voice time like caged canaries. Clusters in bars, conversations of movies, literature, politics. They never seem to arrive, never seem to leave, they look at the world from windows of a bar. Many read in the tramcars but can no longer decipher a line. Heads against windows, sleep upon eyelids. There is always someone kind to waken them at their stop.

Wind of truth The wind, otherwise spoken for, is a tiptoe ballerina, spun in a nest. Between the diary pages, flicked over, a spring record of pressed flowers. Crisp to snap as paper fingers. The queen comes to the doorway of her wild hive; perfume of pine ripples from the nape of her neck. The old man counts spent coins of honesty in a cracked bowl. He tells his porcelain doll, her smile painted on, she is not one year older than the day the wind cradled the white doves.

Andalucian will for Antonia Gala Bandages of snowmelt hang looser this evening on the mountains that hem this valley. Moonrise numbs the hammer of metal upon metal, a forge of black kisses in full flower of flame. Across the stream, an unanswered phone rings itself dry of a porous rumour. Quiet rolls off his quill, the poet in the orchard who trades pink velvet for a single rose.

Poetry on the rocks A night artist has impastoed white hyacinths on mountains, headdresses of a spring still in winter’s purse. Last night we drank Morgan as the hours trickled by. Emptied pockets froze ring marks to beer mats for other drinkers to imbibe their amber stillness. Eyelid buds will crack open as each morning light warms the block dropped by October’s tongue. And words will flow again like icemelt rivers.

Biography Gordon Mason divides his writing time between Scotland and Spain. Born and raised in Fife, he now has homes in Edinburgh and AlhaurĂ­n el Grande. He has been a member of The School of Poets at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. His first collection of poetry entitled Catapult to Mars was published in 2006 by Poetry Monthly Press. His second, Black footprints in a frost, was published in 2010 by Catapult Press. He has a poetry blog at Some of the poems in this collection have appeared in Carcinogenic Poetry, Con pluma y papel, Diversitae, Flutter Poetry Journal, Gloom Cupboard, Handful of Stones, Poetry Friends, Poetry Monthly International, Poetry Scotland, poetry twentyten, The Red Ceilings, Word Catalyst Magazine.

The Red Ceilings Press

MMX [rcp 14]


by Gordon Mason


by Gordon Mason