I've been promising to update this for about 4 years now.... still, better late than never ;)=
All poetry featured on this page is © Mandi Kristjen Collingridge, 1996-2002. Please do not use any of my work anywhere without first obtaining my express permission.


nereids

we were in the shadowy mess of trees
all that time, it was no clear choice.
we were a lost, blind thing
addressing the confronted sun
confused by face contact
with solid darkness
other than in collisions.

i dreamed the stars gazed down,
down on me with their millions
of beady, dewy eyes, from the fly's-orb
of the endless midnight sun;
and i dreamed that worlds were not
answerable to our laws.

crowds slid up and down
dull gardens of lit paving
and they did not notice us.

exoskeleton

i turned to stop and stare
yet at the time, i was only stooping
to check the ground and excavate the debris
firesieved to fragile remnants, devore
like velvet; bothered by floating grit
he barely stood over us, hand inside his jeans,
watching procedure with all the gut-composure
of finicky surgeons. the short, hot plain
which had this house become, an exoskeleton
of knotted soot set in a perfect square,
was imprinting on his glassy eye in pain
and the plain, thin silence of burned air.

ravens

ravens take the long wing Northfold
and wheel, turning spokewards
over the darker sphere, tasting ever
the cool air of the uplands.
the crowfoot hunter sleeps and keeps his gun
through summer, where he stands in dead bindweed.
stumps of dry flotsam turn back the winter sheet,
deep white meadow-sweet dry-blanketing.
and while the sun can still tear up
the ragged sky, the cold grey lakeside
slashed with wild white flayings, we gather
noiselessly in black phalanx, waiting
for the open season, the rifle-rain.

in the shadow of st. anne

this night, the evening is so long
and draws out lines of blank time.
a deep and bloody sun

pierces the ruined, sullen clouds
of acid gas and eroding rain
poisoning the Santa Ana winds

that slow-curl outwards through the fields
whispering among themselves, low across
the hot dark earth, ready to set fires;

a searing yellow moon that slept
for a while beneath the river-surface
rises, exposing a clean wound in the void

to show through this ugly: sly Trivia
the old idol, a rotten milk-tooth
dangling on a dead black nerve;

and silence, save the spectral St. Anne
sighing in the sweat-still air
a legion of shifting echoes

in the constellation of arkhangel'sk

he wears gigantic gloves, to stop the frozen sores
stripped from cold ground picked with harder fingers,
rendering the hands acromegalic, unnatural
as the radiated steppe sunk round the glowing core;

and all his vastly featureless stare is fatalistic
as all the orthodox despair of Mother Siberia

with sensual understanding, strangely relished
of hope and hope's eternal cyclic landslide

outside it. but, died back from disuse
in feeding or smiling, his white shame of a mouth
closed over, on the troubling palate of hunger,
to only snow-crumbs, the sour seeds of the tundra

ermine

"...Now I was crying. But she was slipping away, leaving my
bloodstream, as if she had never existed. I couldn't even
see her face. In that world of the dead, she was the most
dead." - Umberto Eco, 'Foucault's Pendulum'


how swift and sour and sorry
you were left in the sudden shudder
of this morphia, rapt, frail
as plain glass, my helpless fingers
sliding off, cold in the spreading cracks.

an uncertain silver sun rose, stretched
listlessly across the shadow of your body
and then slowly faded.

you sank calmly down out of sight
in the folds of my old mock-ermine coat,
arms raised in acceptance, making
a single defeated arc in air across
my unready embrace; serene, spiritless

as faulted earth that cannot stir, waiting
for nullity, the void wind, senseless-
patient as you waited patient for this,
wearing your time of days like a bruise,
suffering this dark wheel of hours as a proof.

i enfolded your bloody lips to my breast,
settling with you. you folded up small
as a burning fragment of paper going to ash.

then his breath grew dull and dumb
as winter thunderheads, the stopping-up
of atmosphere, high-tension pressure,
the silent airlessness of no growth
chill with the smell of mute weather.

he turned his mouth from me, bled cold as floes,
the fixed eyes, clear and ready to yield,
registered reflected white sky, open still.

the less i remembered anything of him
the longer i stayed by his side.
nothing more than a thin and nameless line
of ashen dust that made a shape like his:
and even that will disappear, in time.

sea-snake

green-stained, thick with clouds
under deep-sunk rocks, thick and
listless, thick and slow,
a dead-black lingam of ocean,
sinewy and moveless, stagnating,
sleeps, open-eyed, lidless.

the dust of water llghtly
strokes in smoky currents,
wet sandstones on its head,
its swollen belly nestling
slithery, moss-figured rock.

mermaid's-hair fronds a bed
for its sullen silence, still
as air, still as its throat, still
as its coiling blood in the heart.

in the sea of tranquillity

while you think you're sleeping
even in the dark your heart has voice
and yet mine, stranded, left yearning

in your silent moth of a mouth,
finds all nIght's tired moons slumbering
secretly westering low from your quiver

and if i could ever want to stay here,
tatters of new-burned black stars trailing
a bitter blue sky behind might poison

your dreamless pillow, your blank time;
but when, between these moments, you come
awake in the deep and airless eclipse
of the Sea of Tranquillity's sterile dusk,
you'll find only a stray arrow
left of some abandoned sun

odalisque

I Ching, Hexagram No.29: The Deep (K'an). "Water pours
from the Deep unceasingly."


he snakes up languid to full height,
seductively indifferent. once he was
carved from honey and amber
in erotic rondelles and hearts
the curlicues of his strange curves

in belly and hip both musky with down,
polished over his heavy, full flesh
broad as still wells of swollen waters
primal in his wide and passive waves;

his waist-long obsidian locks are spun
in volcanic glass like fragile reeds,
lotus-eyed, full urns of black earth
glistening with ponds of sweet tears,
sloe moons on a pool replenished endlessly;

and all his dark blood is the unformed ocean
resounding and resounding inside itself
depthlessly clean, idle and sly
eroding silent rocks to silted sands;

Deep upon Deep, the mark of fathomless flood,
a monolith leaving no trace of its presence

inside the eye of the heart

(the hooded heart of the plateau groundsel
that makes a safe and strange moon for us)

and when his delicate eyelid sleepless
flutters, a tiny starling's wing
catching a lost lock in its open locket
for sullen lips that make a single name

and lashes to which tears cling like wicked sundews,
let all silky in his face's pillowing
come to full ripeness in red rosehips
heavy with pollen, the fragile throw of thistle;

no shade will take your golden blinding veil
nor make corrupt your velvet covering
ceaselessly dropping, renewing and draping,
leaving frail powders laid across the water...

but in the outer moons, the sleeping soil.
breathes quiet in its breathing, only surface-stirring
and, content to hold your pacifying frame,
cleaves to the centre, silent strand of skin
that kindles suns on its shoulder like angels.

and here we are, brought now, and ever standing
as though in a dream of ourselves again
and i saying, 'after everything has
left once more, when you were only singing,
and i standing, you'll still be singing here
when all that is remaining is the rain,
and moved, unsouled, through parallaxing air...'

in a skeleton of a forgotten summer flower,
with a quiet boy with angel wings for hair.

That's it for the moment - more will follow soon... thanks for coming this far and I hope you enjoyed reading them....

This page is dedicated to the memory of Phyllis Martin

All webgraphics on this page © Mandi Apple Design, 2002