How Can I Mourn a Man Still Living?
At the edge of my ears, a single nerve
rings like a tungsten bulb.
All I have done is mention the orchard
where my dad would take us to buy from a man
who measured sugar into cider flagons.
Through planted rows awash
with a slow syrup of photons, I hear
the apple fallout of the branches.
Only a mention—but my dad looks to have witnessed
a flash over the horizon. A bottled
ferment from his centre rushes
His face is fruit complete with rot
as the blast goes through but leaves him
standing, as himself, comprised of ash.
When his whimper finally breaks,
a ring of light hides everything.
First published in The Moth (ed. Rebecca O’Connor)
Downpour. Over his ale,
he tells me, Ash wood burns wet.
Trains in disarray, villages
silenced. The English—
forever unprepared. To reach
a bus stop we needed waders.
That website showed us
how to spot the rot: patches
in bark like porter soaking
black fingernails bared
We fought flash floods
on roads which closed like zips
behind us, to this inn fire
under these ceiling beams.
Some things appear changeless;
there are no tales of tomorrow.
Away in lanes, overhung by ashes’
banana-bunch branches, comes
a creeping flame. Another ale—
he tells me there were fewer
floods, back in his day.
First published in Bolts of Silk (ed. Juliet Wilson)
Sid is Material
Today, Sid is net curtain,
which is to say, he is flesh.
He steps from his doorstep
into light frost, as a man
billows into him, heading
for the launderette. The frost
is light, the man’s duffle bag
only shines. Today, Sid
is flesh, which is to say,
he is bus ticket, frozen to kerb.
He passes the window where now
the bloke loads a drum
among turning drums. Sid is 80%
water, which is to say, machine
turning memory of pavement—
of peppered suds—of light to net
memory of flesh. Some days,
all Sid can do is remember.
He turns toward the bus stop,
mechanical, which is to say,
a line scored into glaze. Someone
taps his arm like white pepper,
asks if the number 10 just passed.
Today, Sid is bus stop signpost,
a shadow across the path.
First published in Bare Fiction (ed. Robert Harper)
Gram Joel Davies lives in Devon. His recent poetry appears in The Interpreter’s House, Dark Mountain and The Fenland Reed. His first collection Bolt Down This Earth is to be published by V. Press in April.
Alongside fellow poet Hannah Linden, Gram will appear at Cheltenham Poetry Festival on the 9th of May, with a workshop beforehand.
This year he is also touring with #Trios2017 poetry/art project in the Southwest.