Visions Of Monet

Are people looking at me strangely
Or is it only my eyes
I like to make strangers of my friends
Recalling only faceless people with indeterminate outlines
I have visions of Monet
Vivid and emotive yet nondescript
Where I don’t remember any details
The twitch in the top corner of your lip
A hook tooth grin from the man selling ice cream cones or cup
Out the back of a dirty van
We question the sanitation but not our sanity
Buying two soft serves each
One dipped to wear melted chocolate waistcoat
The other with coloured sprinkles and crushed peanuts
You joke that they should offer skin flakes
From the sunburned swimmers backs
We know the white slop contains ground up chicken feet
We don’t speak of that
It’s only a rumour
When you come across cartilage you spit it out discreetly
Fearing the embarrassment of something that isn’t your fault
It rained and we jumped on the bus
In my mind we were dancing on the roof and the driver shouted
Shouted like our mothers did when we danced on our beds
I hold dear these fabrications of mine
Of us amidst some frolicking fabric fantasy
Under the sheets with my heart jumping
We did not jump though
Sitting at the fingerprint window
In front of the obnoxious back door
That kicks the seat swinging open
Where the heater rests underneath
Above us a persistent leak
Drops fell onto your head and you put out your tongue
To taste aluminium shavings and not worry about metal poisoning
The bars under the seat around the heater heat scalding
The number of times I’ve left the skin of my calf behind
Goes unnumbered yet still I persist in taking count
I swear some skin is left behind
Sticking to the slightly rusted stainless steel piping
Now we know why no one sits here
A slow torture comprising a torrent of stale gutter water
With a side of burnt leg hairs
I wonder how you remember this day
Would our stories be the same similar in detail
A facsimile or facade
Nameless friend
I have visions of Monet
Though now you and I dance a waltz to Satie
I read you O’Hara and my favourite parts of Walden over mulled wines midwinter
You dance along the living room carpet for me
Edgar gets his canvas and oils to cast you in one of his immortal performances
Colouring you with pinks though you hate to feel beautiful
Colouring you with youth though you scorn it
Colouring you with all the nuances of a life lived blue
I’ve worked to paint the stock-pile of my mind
To accurately depict once before
They have no borders only the acid wash of ill-prepared preservation
I’ve scraped the layers to fall away
Discarded scales from a luminescent sphinx ancient and decayed
I can not discern or depict the scenes now
I’m left only with a growing pile of destroyed art
Laughing about the frailty of my remembering
I have visions of Monet

copyright Joel Lester

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Don’t Hearts Make The Best Pillows

Don’t hearts make the best pillows
Airsoft mattress lungs stable on a ribcage bed frame
The chest cresting waves to lull heads swimming with discontent and heaviness
Ear to hear the sea inside their body relaxed to receive your weight and anchor you in place for you’ve been drifting and
Don’t fingers make the best hair combs
Palmistry over porcelain and tracing maps around face lines
Intertwining fate lines and heart lines and hard times together
A promise to take what might be delivered and send it packing
Rucksack over its stooped shoulders and
Don’t eyes make the best mirrors
Stained glass over the entrance way to your body temple
Shrine to the Goddess as Aphrodite sings lullabies and
Isis sits the throne the ideal lover and mother and friend and
Recycling breath heart to heart beat and tangled feet and
Butterfly kisses and Eskimo noses and
Don’t hearts make the best pillows and
Don’t you wonder why you can’t sleep without it and
Bad dreams abound and tight chest from pounding and
Tears pool around you and wonder why you can’t be that for them and
Comfort was an arm draped carefully around you while you were sleeping and
Now nothing makes sense and an ache is trembling and travelling about you
A waste to start the end of nothing and be back in square one and
Say it’s safer here than losing my place again and
There’s nothing left on their end and you start breaking again and
There;s nothing left that was ever yours to begin and
Now there’s nothing left and
Your head lies on a pillow of things unsaid
Muffled screams into the bed and sheets wet cold sweat
Cold sweat cold sweat
Heavy handed hard hearted sweat
Don’t hearts make the best pillows?

Pocket Book

I’ve adopted the habit of judging my books
On how well they fit my coats inside pocket
The cover is only important in it’s proportions
Relative to a fabric square
Certain brands have become safe
Staple choices by virtue of there perfect uniformity
Moulding to my breast
I always need a book with me
This pocket lays over my heart
It will protect me from crazed handgun assaults
On these gentrified streets filled with dissatisfied bores
With useless degrees and coffee stained teeth
The bullet reads till page 289 before thinking
‘This particular translation of Proust staggers on uncomfortably’
It stops its death path of burning paper & melting ink
To find Proust prose it can truly bury itself in
I tell the bullet that ‘Murakami and Mitchell have melted holes through my wallet
Perhaps you will find solace at the end of a smoke trail there’
I then complain that this book was borrowed from the library
I’d have to pay the damages fine
I’d also only read to page 79
‘You don’t miss much’ the bullet replies
‘Imagine if Da Vinci had painted the Mona Lisa surrounded by crowds of faces
Telling you, “Pay attention only to that woman, the others are not important”‘
The bullet shifts uncomfortably inside my chest
‘I do not know where to read nothing is left between the lines.
This book is described with distraction, and I now search to reclaim lost time’
I do not listen to the bullet
Refusing myself to see the flaws of this translation
Blinded as I am by the quiet satisfaction of its binding sliding
With pure unadulterated bareback entry
Into my inside breast pocket
The air escaping from about it
My pleasure sigh eruption
The only other copy I find is too large
Though written with vastly superior prose
My pocket will not take it though
I must move on to find another soft rectangle comforter for my heart
To beat against as I move about town hoping to appear sophisticated
Hoping to not be shot

Falling For Fiction

If you’ve been on your own for over a year
You’ll know what it’s like to fall in love
Every week with a different he or she
When it’s especially bad
It’s twice a week
Including faces on the TV and character descriptions in fiction
You hunt through for sex scenes and symbols to vicariously exist in
On the edges of madness
Stir crazy threatening mutiny
Your sanity and friends having deserted you
The only crew you have left are
Crew cut t-shirts and crew cut hair-styles
And you don’t really know what crew cut means
But the shirt fits
The hair is tidy
There’s no one to dress up for
The mirror agrees
You don’t like it when the mirror talks back though
You’d prefer another face to appear over your shoulder to straighten your collar
Leaving a lip graze on your necklace
You’ll constantly check over that shoulder waiting for a face to materialise
Waiting for somebody else to watch your back for you
Hello?
You’ll whisper and silence
I don’t know any more you’ll say
Tripping from craning your neck
To see your shoulder blades
Tight from slumping over the desk
You imagine writing letters
Romantic letters
Not just letters but words
Poetry
Time immortal
Immortal beloveds
Ink is not so precious now you’ll think
Because I only need to write
I
Not we nor us nor you nor ours
Postage is cheap
Supplies are scarcely needed
You fall in love twice a week with your TV
With an imaginary life-sized life
We will have two dogs
A paddock to lay picnics out
Under the willow
They’ll laugh and brush away leaves from your lap rustled from the tree
You feign to pull away mocking indignation at being mothered
Don’t smother me you’ll say
Then realise you’re sat inside your head eye delusions
Grandeur
Wanting to swallow poison
Bury your head inside of books in place of the oven
Drown in pages instead of the bathtub
Slash your expectations and decapitate the monster of self-fulfilment
To die for love is not romantic
Love is romantic
Life is lonely