Debbie Cannon – three poems


This ‘I love you’ is truer than
all the others that have gone before.
It’s fiercer, fearless, more intransigent,
it has no back-up plan, no safety-net,
it shines,
irretrievable as a bullet,
ripe as a bronze Harvest moon
after so many uncertain silver parings.

These are the times, in the coiled anticipation of the dark,
or the joyful, unfurling ripple of the day,
when I am tighter with you than knuckle or rib.
I am
a yearning in your belly,
a fluttering of love against the net of your hands.
And when you fling me forth,
I am
a spilling of ribbons,
a bright white startling of doves,
dazzled by my release.

The Irish Actor

stands, takes on the stage,
a pugilist, soaked in sweat and spotlight,
his spiking beard snow-sewn like winter gorse,
his eyes that stare beyond the airless ‘O’
to skip and run across the blue to home.
And from its wooden ribs he feels the pulse of stage,
absorbs the heart-beat of the hanging audience.
He dares them –
makes them wait
and read the conjuring of his face,
until he shouts,
sways like a dancer,
and puckers rosebud lips to throw out spit like kisses.

After, in the bar, he leans
a tender hand around a Guinness glass,
hugs out his arms and laughs with beery breath,
‘Yes you were good, but I –
I was magnificent!’


I’d like to
pretend that
I know
what I’m doing
when I slide
my hands
inside your clothes
and your skin
creeps in
my palms
but I don’t.
I haven’t got
a word for it.
Even though
it holds me
while hours
wrap round me,
against all odds
for years
in this
same place,
I’m always
only just
feeling my way.
So I walk
my fingernails
up the column
of your spine
and count
the stages
of your growth
like inch-rings
on a tree.
I keep
my mouth closed tight
and don’t try
to explain,
just wait
and find
a new way,
every time.
Minutes flick red
in darkness
when moonlight
blooms through
a crack
in the curtains
and drips
on the floorboards
sliding through
the ridges
like spilt milk.

Debbie Cannon is an Edinburgh-based actor and writer. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Open Mouse and Peeking Cat (issue 5). Some of her favourite things are books, tea, her 12 year old son, and watching happy dogs on the beach. She’s on Twitter as @DebsCa