Credit photo: Phill J. Hill
The white artery of your spine
hovers beneath a butterfly’s ghost;
wings budding into flight
twice a second, heartbeat by heartbeat.
The isthmus of your foot kicks in the fluid –
the pressure of the sensor is ticklish.
With the end of his biro the doctor
circles your magnified hand gloved in light
and this shimmer, this afterthought of air
in the trees, is the breath of your mother.
Night-blind you will fumble back
to its anthem through the clicks
of your hardening head.
This song, secret as a light switch,
is how your breathing will be.
The warmth of my wrist on your belly;
your pulse and mine in time –
the first of your strengths is to be loved.
© Harry Man
LINES DERIVED FROM MINECRAFT PLAYER QUERIES
Have you ever spawned like this,
clouds passing through your building
and a blocky dog that will not die
and your wheat disappearing?
Today I checked out the far lands.
What is the best use for gold? Apples?
What do you think the future will be like?
The slow pigs, and 1.6 horses.
Will the air be a fluid like lava?
Will the best trap for a diamond
still be lagging after a while,
or a sweet new skin made just for me?
My skeleton is too fast.
There are so many invisible monsters after death.
I am sick of searching for saddles.
I have a question for you guys,
how rare are villages?
© Harry Man
one of the hundreds of people who look like Sue from far away, but are in fact stangers.
Cottoning on too late, the Herne Hill train sparking slow
away into the sleet, that you are not you, but a telesue
coming in from the wings of the platform to play a cameo,
and I remember the background buzz of a fancy dress shop
as past tense as your maiden name, the pop and slup
of trying on fancy dress masks of cow heads, stormtroopers
and elven faces — shrieks as the elastics stripped our hair, stooped
almost kissing as I freed you and you freed me, and lost touch.
Now you’re just a Yahoo email address and a year, a smudge
of a photo from that Halloween party, you and your Carlsberg
leaning focusless into the frame, and here in the sleet the telesue
lips a favourite-coloured scarf against the wind, but Sue, real Sue
there are days I don’t believe in doubles or daydreams,
when you’re behind every windscreen of every car coming the other way.
© Harry Man
Harry Man (b. 1982) holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Winner of the 2014 Bridges of Struga Award, his first pamphlet Lift (Tall Lighthouse) was nominated for ‘Best Pamphlet’ in the 2014 Sabotage Awards. The previous year he won second prize in the PEN International Made Up Words Competition and third prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. Man’s work has been widely anthologized, most recently in The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood, Coin Opera 2 and Rewiring History. Lift has garnered praise from T. S. Eliot Award winners Sinéad Morrissey and George Szirtes, the latter stating, « The poems are packed to bursting with ideas… Harry Man is one of a young generation of poets defining their own ground and changing ours. »