Expurosis

Expurosis

 everything

is broken

in that final fire

that does not come

as an ending

but lies

at the heart

of all things

stirring

all the illusions

of light and life

into cold truths

of darkness, stone and ash

like ingredients

in a wedding cake

that comes out of the oven

hard as a tomb

*

no

trumpets or angels

proclaim an apocalypse

domestic

as a two-bar electric

fire

in the living room

whose plastic coals and flames

are fakely flickered

by a calm rotation

of dusty, creaking, rusted metal blades

within,

domestic

as the blue wisp of paraffin

in the portable kitchen heater

or the steam from Ready Brek

dissolved in warm milk

in a winter morning stomach,

domestic

as the muffled clunk and

early-morning hiss of central-heating

coming on

one snowy morning

through freshly-bled

radiators

*

everything

is broken down

to the bare fact of existence

in thick pink hospital blankets

where we shit our last

in a sleeping-bag under

a rain-dripping tent

where we had our first blow-job

under the 3-tog double duvet

of couples at home,

every cry of the damned

is tucked in for the night

under a quilted eiderdown.

*

everything

is broken down

in the boiler

starched with blue and pegged out

to freeze on a winter-garden

washing line

everything

is broken down

and mixed up

and spun dry

in the magic of the new Electrolux.

everything is broken

down in the warm

flip-flopping air

of college tumble-driers

and

everything

found in the woods

is broken up

—twigs and dead leaves,

and branches dank with moss—

and stuffed in the old clothes

of a guy

for Bonfire Night

*

everything

is broken up

crushed to almost nothing

by time or accident

like old Ford Cortinas

at the scrap yard

*

every

tenderness

you have given

will be broken up

brittle as if dipped in liquid nitrogen

*

all loves

will be lost or left

so much kitsch and junk

shattering across a hard-stone floor

of empty space

and swept up by a cleaning-lady

the next morning

*

everything

is

broken

in the warm morning breeze

on your feet

in the twinkling atoms of dust

in the warm summer light

through bedroom windows

in the warm flushes of caresses

caused by care or lust

in the warm sea

under the warm sun

on the warm sand

between her warm thighs

behind her back

everything is broken

up, down, off and away

everything is broken

and bloo

as a sky-light or a bruise

*

everything is broken

up, down, off and away

everything given

is given up

and back and away

everything is given

into that final fire –

into that two-bar electric fire

into that paraffin lamp

into that blanket

into that greenhouse earth

into that radiator –

zipped up

in the warm-cold sleeping bag

that does not come

only at the end

but lies

at the very weeping heart –

the oven and the fridge –

of all things

stirring

all the illusions of light

and life back in

as it first did at the beginning.

*

The ladybird, which is neither lady nor bird, was a sufficiently infrequent visitor to my childhood world, to justify a special welcome. The red wings with black spots, which served also, when clasped together, as a crusty beetle-like back, appealed to my infant attraction to hard, brightly coloured things, but, in an instant, could disappear into a fluttering upward moving criss-cross of black, bearing the precious thing suddenly and thrillingly away on the wind.

Most times, however, they were docile and domestic, hugging the carpet floor. I kept one in a match-box once, and fancied I could train her to do little tricks, like climb, at my bidding over ramps and bridges made of bricks and encyclopaedias. One day, my mother was making jam-tarts, and I had been playing with her on the floury kitchen table, when she disappeared. I hadn’t noticed her fly off as they are wont to do, as mentioned above, and wondered whether she hadn’t by chance been seduced by the sweet scent of the sugar, to burrow herself into the jammy centre of one of the tarts, which had already gone into the oven. The doubt was strong enough that we threw the cooked tarts out into the garden for the birds to feast on. So, my ladybird, if indeed she was entombed in them, received, after all, unwittingly fitting Zoroastrian last rites.

*

Ladybird, ladybird

Fly away home

Your house is on fire

Your children are gone

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