Monday, June 30, 2014

Three Poems by Martha Landman

Your Skin 
            You cannot travel within and stand still without.
-- James Allen
To be drunk from the colour of your skin
Wrapped around you in biscuity ash-white,
Flawless like a prayer-shawl
I think albatross, or even something bigger,
More severe, but I do not know why
My thoughts are analytical, like clear blue sky
The smell of wild animal, of wild
                                          of animal
The taste of you, reckless like chili
Con carne, travels inward along my spine
I pause — blue; like a sign of punctuation
Standing patiently on the bitumen’s edge,
The smell of your skin’s karri-tree aroma
Spreads faster than any train of thought
Tucked away in the shade
I think little leather miniskirt or naked flesh
The sacredness of spider’s silk, of spider
                                                       and of silk
Reassembled into a silhouette honest as
Skin on skin in the slit between dark and light.
Back Then
Just because it happened a long
time before my imagination’s
eyesight, my retina’s perfection,
Just because it now all seems blurry
and memorably impaired  .  .  .
When I relax the I and see the full
stop and let my mind loop from
thought to thought, I find symbolism
in the ulcers bursting in my stomach
feeding me organic wisdom.
My soul’s windows need a wash
to see my students in the balance
they offer me when they exercise
all the muscles of their mind even
though they don’t process the facts
I feed them day by day.  They are not
to blame for emotions triggered by
my hypnotic influence, my vision
training, my problem-solving approach
skilfully gazed upon their innocence.
Mother and child bonded on a clean slate
back then, but I’ve learnt to become scared
of dark material clouding my equilibrium.
My ears, my eyes, my orientation have
grown deaf, stress-inhibited, unrecovered.
My preference is to link sound, smell and
taste and indulge in a bowl of chocolate-flaked
ice-cream while I listen to Maria Callas’
frequencies even though some are missing.
It’s been a long time since my brain hungered
for otherworldly explorations: the ability to
communicate subtly through the electronic
ear, not shutting down at a baby’s cry or
closing my eyes when romantically kissed

 – my left stockinged calf elegantly uplifted.

Science of the Unknown
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes.
            T.S. Elliot
The moon a yellow night,
unscandalous as ivory,
your unframed shadow
grim, an echo without vision.
Smokeless, lifeless,
your opium pipe smelled
of seaweed as you withdrew into
yourself, your skin cool and dry.
Not unlike Othello you moored your
misery, handkerchiefed it in a heart
dark with weariness as smoke

eloped from the muzzle of your gun.
South African born Martha Landman writes in North Queensland, Australia. Her latest work has appeared in egg poetry, Beakful and Jellyfish Whispers.

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