Linda Price

Lovers

Syrup souls
sink and sigh in love,
flailing flesh,
rise up raw
then slide in sweaty silence
beneath lilac light.

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Linda Price

Silent Thunder

I remember how you swept from the bed,
a solitary strand of forget-me-nots
that streaked my fuming flesh.

You turned away and failed to see
the dew drops that tickled my moist mouth;
and danced across my Gucci smile.

My purple grin never creased;
while inside my skin, silver sunlight sliced
and bovine breath cracked bone.

I lay aghast and A-glitter;
and watched you walk away and leave behind
Me.

Linda Price

Song of Soldiers

God loafs with jackhammers, they whisper,
to souls who smoke in sleepy caves;
where skulls, bones and joints surrender
and own nothing, only the days.

Little sun, small grain, feather in the blue,
like a torch, tense as needle threading;
unloosens trees, haphazard hilly hue,
and leaves no trace of ever belonging.

We are granules on endless journeys,
walking wherever, where everything speaks.
We sniff and sigh over rivers run gently
and watch wavy reflection and muddy leak.

What language, what rhythm, of the world;
shines through our scaffolding, now grown cold.

Linda Price

You commit me

Inside sallow skin, blood boils a bright brew
Outside, my svelte seal pelt, stretches sour silence

Slimy to touch, I slip through your fingers
My smile is blue, pink and peachy, sly silence

Midnight murmurs the hour, you stare at stars
Moaning moon melts beam, solitary silence

My hunger hunts and ravages your plains
Words, curled and complicated, stolen silence

Multiple madness inside plastic file
LINDA, capitals, wrapped, in shiny silence

Linda Price

A writer begins

Patterns, motives, notions and potions
I sit, steaming and queer

Clutching and clawing pen to finger-nail
I curl coccyx into chair

Mighty moment and crumbling control
I pant, stamp and sweat,

reaching for mind afloat and surrender
I wade wide on teetering toes

Spreading scourge of ideas and identities
I pump and burst my heart

Flailing in rubbery red rhubarb
I feel my flesh fade fast

Balmy breeze brings shy kisses
I sink and bathe burnt breath

Opening eyes over pallid paper
I read remnant of kind calamity

A wave of wiggling words

Linda Price

Bamboo Lips

Eyes flash
and lips fold
behind the flapping
bamboo fan

Lips flash
behind bamboo
and eyes fold
the flapping fan

Behind bamboo
eyes flash
and flapping lips
fold the fan

Eyes flash
and bamboo lips
fold behind
the flapping fan

Behind flapping bamboo
lips fold the fan
and eyes flash

Bamboo and flash
fan flapping eyes
behind the fold
Lips

Linda Price

Angel bath

The woman is curled in the narrow tub. Eyes closed, she stretches and leans her neck against the angle of the bath. Wasps of grey hair stick to the skin at the nape of her neck. Cotton wool water fluffs against her belly. Traffic noise and human voices waft through the square window. The blue tablet wound in plastic is lodged inside the black vanity case which sits on the wooden shelf. Its promise of oblivion lures her eyes open. This wallowing within the very fragments of memory must cease. She draws the checked towel, grey and pink, into focus. Grasping the sides of the bath, she pulls herself to her feet. Red painted toes shimmer below the water. She reaches for the towel and wraps the cotton around her damp skin. As she heaves herself out of the tub to stand firmly on the linoleum floor she feels the beginning of a glow around her waist. The sensation thickens to form a Bentley belt of rubbery light. It encircles her being. And in the moment she feels a tentative togetherness. Perhaps the blue tablet will remain mummified in plastic.

Linda Price

Blue Bird

Raindrops bulge against the window pane and plop onto concrete below.  Early morning light casts a faint sheen onto grey walls.  Inside, a child sits, cross-legged on the floor.  Elbows leaning into knees, she is alone, and waiting.  Silence fills her lungs, followed by an echo exhalation.  She is a tiny creature, a world of thoughts, a teardrop of fear.  Mud-crusted toes press inwards, like piano keys.

Voices murmur from behind the locked door.  Men and women shape her fate.  They have no sense of her groping heart.  Betrayal slices her gut and the pain smears her cheeks.  Through the shimmer, she glimpses a praying mantis on the floor, nearby.  She rubs her eyes and draws the insect into focus.  It pads gingerly, angular and tentative.  Opaque and vulnerable, it is traced green by a ray of sunlight. She recognises freedom in its spindly legs, the motion within the uncertainty of a wobbly gait.

The child feels a stir and stretch within.  Blood bursts her veins and floods her head. The voices next door cease.  She imagines the door opening, heels shuffling and throats clearing.  And in the moment she gasps, leaps and plunges towards the window.  Trembling limbs flail into fledging flight.  Glass shatters skin.  The child saunters into the blue.  A balloon separates from thread.

Trisha, Karen, Karen and Linda

Rest at ease and look with faith.
Ropes of reason bind me
in a well of unobservance

seeing escape, but not the path.
Etherial wings floating –
catch my soul with a butterfly net.

Seeing faces, not desires:
pulsating orb, a scarlet bump,
a promise in a word unspoken.

Smiling widely, I show the sun my face,
guillotine sense from nonsense:
I am the queen of the day.

Linda Price

Lungs on Fire

Below these bellows, there is a dreary place,
unknown address, no number on the gate,
entangled ivy, golden green with hate,
deep, dark, silence, only I create.

Below these bellows, there is an orange glaze,
steamy shadows conceal my face,
thickened undergrowth lines verdant lace,
furnace of sorrow sparks without trace.

Below these bellows, there is a desert space,
a yellow seed opens with quiet grace,
unfolded route of my quivering gait,
steely sounds reverberate.

Below these bellows, there is a seeping callous,
from eager footprints, that knew no malice,
crumpled pathway, that holds the chalice,
deep, dark silence, only I embrace.

Linda Price

Is Jed dead?

Standing in the centre of the full-bodied lobby
Jed, born Jeremy, amounts to fifty-one
From gleaming sneakers he pulls his polished hobby
And plugs into his pants the ice-cold gun

Shifting weight and gnawing at his lips
Jed, born Jeremy, hates to wait around
Thrusting his hands onto broad-belted hips
He shakes his bracelet with giggling sound

Watching the red bounce above the lift door
Jed, born Jeremy, feels his armpits stick
With bulging biceps all trembling and sore
He welcomes the ping with an urgent click

Striding stiffly into the open elevator
Jed, born Jeremy, crashes into humanity
Considering that he is his own creator
He ponders his life as pure calamity
 
Into the wide mirror at the back of the lift
Jed, born Jeremy, sees his hurt reflected
Sinking his gaze into the frozen gift
He sighs and considers his pain corrected

Releasing emotion with every elevation
Jed, born Jeremy, is filled with consternation
With throbbing head and fluttering sensation
He knows he has finally reached his destination

Standing firm as people lurch into the future
Jed, born Jeremy, watches with amusement
Then locking fingers around the metal trigger
He smiles and switches his terms of endearment

Linda Price

Floral Embrace

The woman in the wide floral skirt and white blouse crosses the bustling street.  Her eyes squint in the early morning light.  She clutches a straw basket to her heaving breast and peruses the swell of activity between haphazardly placed stalls.  In the distance she notices the broad colour and shape of flowers.

She reaches the pavement, scratches in her right pocket and pulls out a crumpled piece of paper.  Scrawled directives greet her gaze.  Apples; onions; tomatoes; leeks…How crushed she always feels at the market! Glancing over her sagging shoulders, she purses her lips and hedges forward.  She shuffles over sour milk that lies dehydrating in the mud as she ducks, bends and stretches to meet the objectives of her list.  She notices the broad colour and shape of flowers in the distance.

The woman never argues or begs. She is too preciously middle-class.  Surrounded by stalls brimming with fertility; bronzed muscle and glinting smiles, she clutches a pencil and ticks each item off before depositing it securely into her basket.  With jagged movements, she arches her limbs around and below beings, textures and objects.   The nape of her neck glistens with sweat and strands of hair stick to her skin. 

The woman reaches the flower seller.  The man rises from his wooden crate.  His straw hat frames a beaming face.  She notices the twitch of his veins as he fondles the stems of his magnificent creatures.  Tall, tapering stems and billowing folds of fragranced petals. 

The woman and man exchange few words.   She joins in the touch and caress until they reach a mutual transaction.  He hands her the chosen bunch. Crimson nestles firmly between them.  She presses the money into his open palm. 

The woman makes her way back through the throbbing action.  She crosses the busy road once again.  Her overflowing basket sways gently at her hip. The midday sun beats rhythmically against her body.  She can feel the sharp heat through the cotton that shields her shoulders and falls softly against her spine.  As her legs stride to and fro, blood tingles against her lily white thighs.  Pulsing vein and muscle bore into her heart as the heat rises and intensifies.  Her moist brow beats with the certainty that by sunset she will need more flowers. Their broad colour and shape shimmer in the distance.
 

Linda Price

Writer

Let me adorn my vegetarian self
in the attire of the huntswoman.
Strapped and buckled
to my carnivorous agenda,
thoughts jar and entomb my head.
Straddling my purple crested beast,
wild woman
astride my animal of thought,
hurtling into risky country
a biographical cliché,
spraying the sky with violet speech.
Embracing my disembodied self,
the heavily inked non-writer.
Stallion
paused in the clear blue,
and my heart forgets to beat.

And my heart forgets to beat,
paused in the clear blue.
Stallion,
the heavily inked non-writer.
Embracing my disembodied self,
spraying the sky with violet speech,
a biographical cliché
hurtling into risky country.
Astride my animal of thought,
wild woman
straddling my purple crested beast,
thoughts jar and entomb my head.
Strapped and buckled
to my carnivorous agenda
In the attire of the huntswoman,
let me adorn my vegetarian self.

Linda Price

Performer

A woman lies briefly on top of crimson covers.  Her eyes travel across lavender spikes.  Fragrance trapped against thick glass.  She caresses a strand of hair and her mind drifts towards a time not long ago.  A door opens gingerly onto a long, narrow room.  An overflowing ashtray fumes on the corner of a wooden trestle table.  Chemicals ooze across the room as potions and lotions are worked into flesh, folds, eyes, hair and breasts.  Mmmmm.  The drama of the other.  Being someone and no-one.  Hips shift from left to right and a choked chuckle scratches the throat.  Joyful self-knowledge and grinning despair.  Moist crimson smile of deceiving lips, and twinkling promise of the deepest kiss.  Waiting to step into the cruel light.  An empty well.  Waiting to be filled by whoever sits behind the glow.  Waiting to inhale.

Waiting to inhale.  Waiting to be filled by whoever sits behind the glow.  An empty well.  Waiting to step into the cruel light.  Moist crimson smile of deceiving lips, and twinkling promise of the deepest kiss.  Joyful self-knowledge and grinning despair.  Hips shift from left to right and a choked chuckle scratches the throat.  Being someone and no-one.  The drama of the other.  Mmmmm.  Chemicals ooze across the room as potions and lotions are worked into flesh, folds, eyes, hair and breasts.  An overflowing ashtray fumes in the corner of a wooden trestle table.  A door opens gingerly onto a long, narrow room.  She caresses a strand of hair and her mind drifts towards a time not long ago.  Fragrance trapped against thick glass.  Her eyes travel across lavender spikes.  A woman lies briefly on top of crimson covers.

Linda Price – My selves

I enter the day seconds before the alarm clock rings its shrill whine. The bulging white light sifts through the blinds and streaks across the bundled shapes that curl around me – the children bundles that mark my life.

I creep out from under the covers and anticipation tickles the nape of my neck. Will I stand upright as a separate, independent creature? Will I reach the kettle as a single entity? The smallest bundle wriggles and stretches. Her jiggle ripples into the bundle alongside her and two curly circles rise out from the huddle. They are my beginning, my middle and my end. Within seconds we are one again.

I tiptoe out of the room with bulging hips. We trace our way down the stairs and are greeted by the twisting cheer of the dogs. We collapse onto the bottom step and dissolve into moist caresses. And so begins the morning activity: porridge bubbling, kettle stinging, lunch-boxes filling, dog bowls clanking, voices singing, clothes clinging, doors banging and tyres gripping.

And all the while I am waiting to be still. I am naively waiting to capture time. My net is reeling to pounce on a fixed clump of quiet.

Once the children have been deposited into school, I wrap my scarf against the icy wind and re-trace my steps to my waiting vehicle. I bounce onto the front seat and reach for the news broadcast. As I navigate my way into my own space a list of possible activities lengthens along my spine. The constant over-arching conviction that there is much to be accomplished unravels into tributaries of singular ‘musts.’

Each item is framed by a particular identity: mother, worker, shopper, repairer, lover, sister, daughter, owner, driver, friend, cook, niece, cousin. Multiple selves coincide all over my body. I mould and shape myself into the requirements of each one and every time I look in the rear-view mirror my expression has altered.

I veer my car off the whizzing high-way. I close my eyes and reel my net inwards. My breath expands as the grainy fabric nestles gently against my innards. I can feel the force of gravity with each exhalation. Oxygen travels along the length of my legs and roots me into the earth. My selves collapse into a single pulse.

And much later in the still of the night, I toss through sleep and blow a kiss towards the robust bodies that beat against the silent knowing of my soul.