Rob Burton is a poet and editor. He lives in Montparnasse, and his poems have appeared most recently in TheNextVillage; Ninerrors; and Minus 9 Squared.
Why always Italian 1.1
Down hillsides turn all ways
from home; Break traps like shells
spill coruscations, pulsed from lenses
we leave the city like light
leaves the city in lines straight west and
Names of our rides
melopoeic: “Quattroporte”, “Ghibli”, speed the
journey and we are lifted by the sound; Engine
an organ sonic and visual, the
pipes sweat sound and heat bending
air to gleam. Hot enough
to fry eggs after blast
used as intended, the thought seized thus
“we’ll be back for breakfast”
dropped with mock valour, the voice of the hero
night missions promised.
We shall not come back though and that’s the point,
not imagining ever the return.
Getting away we
for freedom in
roads driven smooth;
and speed of journey rushes us faster to our grinning end
lipless, gumless. Moving as
the wind moves your hair its anima wave
to simulated fall over pearl earrings; Arrogant, intent
we set off laughing.
Clothes yield postures self assured.
It’s what I need –
to see your bare feet on the dash amative and defiant and signs set to go,
press foot down on the pedal surge;
Only know that you want to, is all that matters
a Czech told me once, about dancing, when I had nothing;
I know (about going) and I do. I go.
Top down and buffeted I imagine the words,
As they might occur
“Don’t let them drag you down, or stay in a place you can’t get
what you want, what you need to progress”
(it’s all about the place, – the concrete exterior
manageable changeable thing).
As the sound breaking across our thoughts, a wave on rocks
(Eternal, eroding, unfailingly there and returning, destroyer of cities);
Air over gaps between panels like gaps
in our lives whistles (and sometimes it’s like that, brushed off
hard with what you going to do, must go fwd, that’s how the life goes on). Singing
Fenland prophecies flat in their promise
across the wind your voice cutting in and out
head thrown back to sound
“multiple door chasms”
your red top interject breaking the
air stream buffets heads.
But that’s not what this is about.
It’s about you and me – not us. Each. Not Both.
Tell me it could be any other girl,
accessory to vanity, esteem, escape, self imaging:
delete as appropriate, and vague as
man seeks girl with vigour, expression, fortitude and it is
All of those things, old as the chosen terms may be.
It’s you because
you’re here. Say it could be any other fit
to play the part looking and talking it
and you’re right.
You a mirror to see my own wished strength of
Mind, is it? I your mirror held? To drop
And with that
my thoughts turn all ways to composite woman.
tied up and over, but that’s just coincidence of
features; hear me when I say no type.
The IDEAL whispered to vibrate bones nothing but
conflation of qualities, faces, fragmented;
Reconstituted to nothing real; my replicant,
Don’t say “however I stand you would let me pass easily
never calling return.” Sitting cross legged knees touching the
floor there’s no need for rotation, the important shapes already
known as given, and posture out must bear no relation to inside dying.
Face, held up, between palms, doesn’t let tears pass
ducts. Dropped reflexive they’re not real, falling
If the flow can’t be held, as it starts to float away, explanation necessarily
“something in the eye” – the nouns never abstract, the weakness
never indulged - knowing oneself inert;
Moving always, we posture confidence.
Wall relief pattern up
Heat oppressive, shrivels tissue,
drains cells, vomits over seats and washing dresses.
View out, a dumb rate sky to trees merge,
sticks thin to skleras.
Day heat A.M. to P.M. shifting “desert fire”
through windows burns skin inside to out
chromato-, as ink moves colours
the way paper burns, its separating rings falling
on cigarette skins, the taste of chemical coating
sticky enough to trap finger print fractions
in smoke, stained yellow; the mark
no substance but the moment of relief
that is the important thing to take
Jetted off hilltops, dust blinked across lenses
runs tears down faces. Light flashed to eyes hurts
inside the skull that does, felt behind the socket, runs inside
contour scraping to crown.
Felt acutely the moment, fading into process:
Dehydration. Nausea. Realisation.
Then slow residual ache;
leaning towards doors the way
dumb plants stare out from baked glass houses;
the burden never dropped in spite of inclination
Protusion breaks the skin curve natural,
blocks paths, deniable outgrowings ignored
to no improvement. Life met in this way tends
to silence, the journey met with empty mouth
until breach; rising pressure 1.5 hours of
comms closed car journey swelter impels a sound burst,
slow build to sudden breach of stiff lips. What is
“Felt” bends eventually to find gaps at points
of weakness, ours, sewn, where voice bursts its air jets, and threats
immersion between doors; our drowning.
Breathing the sound fish mouthed
turn tap right to lessen flow.
But that is never how it works; and sound for you is all
Through ear tops, white scarring relief smoothed-up as
Lips over hot steel rolled. Turning slow sound through perf.s
joy rears brushed frost through your mind, to twitch just
So: You may want to mouth _Oo: inaudibly at this juncture.
Hitting up at the 100th second hair trig convulse. Forward,
Slope, involuntary, precipitates a sudden jag, whether
Alternatives are sought or not, played over and over
Again from 00:32; Oh, the moment, whether predicated
Fake, or no, is colourless in flight about my face: Winter
Static blunt discharged into dense wire finger-tips.
Dermal punched nickel right through you (baby).Over
My shirt the metre spray plasma, her water thread
Traced yellow rust. My return, judged, disease of the
Blood only. Next time, niobium: won't run sub dermal
Tears down inside your face, stretched led pellets, blunting
Out the skins underside, in heavy-water drops. Hey
Metal boy, melt through veins, yes, alter property (metal and)
Blood run to amalgam (ours) soulless, dying.
For sound try tearing skin. Inflammatory;
Proliferative; Remodelling, are only stages of
Repair. But, know that confluence (the blood run
Invisibly between us, or falling needles from
Your mouth) can't be withdrawn. And strengthening
My cells again takes months, or maybe years.
That way stretching the lips full bent to the frame width.
Not my short bow mouth, just another boundary line
To cross; inward pressed past white to white recant. Always
Substantive flesh appears to present voluntary (the crack of ice
And wind round flues are just effects of weather). Touching
Again will call your fear to forget, gap toothed and
Tromso maybe, to manage through the one hour light
And noone there.
Curling over thorax to abdomen, Forget ache for pain
Yellow breath sharp to cut through the air-plain
Shatter around you if dropped, lacing into your
Knees and palms if dropped. Turn fog breathed
Out, into others favoured for waking next to, finger drawn
Onto mirrors in morning light. Skin
Like milk we drink waking; Rest pearls expressive
At the cup. Skin like milk we drink, lineless on waking
Beneath wide leaves underlit, skin is variegated.
Contours of flesh waved on momentary past
The corner; tenements glide by, threat to
Drop their dimensions on the work. Granulation
Tissue dragged down sound played the moment
Of staining: Ink Migrated soundless into cracks, lined
Out in secrets’ multipointed stars, polyps nodes
To blocks falling noiseless down shaft shells.
Loser showered sound through thought winding
To black, indelible lines. No more than localised