Interactions in (un)controlled conditions and Extinction event — Two Poems and Five Images by Ankh Spice

Interactions in (un)controlled conditions

Here is the boy who once caused Chernobyl
to be known as terror-not-town.
It was singlehanded and he was just fifteen
years of slow meltdown, design-flaws, all
his wrong secret buttons pushed in sly dark – a child,
who first heard the word delusion as an echo
down a hot tunnel of dissolving ground

The concrete sarcophagus for his containment was ugly, poured
in the frightened 1970
to conceal runaway reactions from the general populace
until they safely (oh privately, quietly please) exhausted themselves

Inside, he found several alien suns still glowing, right
where the lino in the back corridor was scorched, a blast-map
orbited by squeakshoe nurses (15 minute check!), and in that universe
each 2am LadyJesus flamed hard with belief,
post-slot breast flapped up, on Sundays she wept Latin and milk, baptised
him in the night-bulb glow
of her earnest sacred heart

He thanked her with the only language available – invocations
of formulae, streaming
ionising radiations from his med-leadened tongue
cooling rods falling fast

On his 16th birthday Joni Mitchell (not her real name)
baked him a cake in a mug, oatmeal
and grated music, she was
57 years of daisychain waterfall
skirts so proud of her matching
57 pounds and counting
down and
she watched his chewing mouth like he was
all the sunsets she’d missed in there

Digesting, no-strings, I began to forget
how poisoned my skies were.

Simon was no-one else but Simon,
the most ginger Rasta, Jah Simon, Jah you
beauty, with your redemption songs
expanding the sad showerblock to livity, then
suddenly Simon was no-one at all
15 minute check! – except that one
time enough for a terrycloth ladder to Zion
His family had never visited
but they sued.

A huge red lion stalked the ward for weeks.

The whole place burned down last month, a new
banged-up mind went critical, I wondered
who, and what remained of that kid
whose very fabric had knitted delusion around him for comfort
where the world’s nets failed – all the catchers unsafe, not
Mrs Jesus or Joni
not trustworthy, hunted lions
and to deserve the rest, his core
knew he must have done something so evil
it melted the innocence from a whole town 10,000 miles away from here.

I don’t miss being a nuclear disaster
but sometimes, in the black smoke of 2am
float lost prayers, petals of song, distant roars
and in the slag of all our lives
I miss the way it made complete sense
of the damage.

Extinction event

They left no bodies
            that morning.Vision-pigeons suffocate
without fuss, dociled
            by so many tablets – that
spackling neatened into the cracks
of a birded boy

Still, where their small corpses weren’t, nobody
            trod — slippers slipping around
cold not-feathers sticking
            to the linoleum days

of doses, mouthchecks forced
            dragoning at the gone sun
cherry eyes, rolling tongue sevens
            the right combo meaning
they said          successful treatment          I said
            oh, loss.

When it happens, the quiet is upsplit earth
            gone to rift
the clear-eyed bell of unblackbird’s call, done
            his spell tongue glazing tile
to white morning
            sky, no more hungry
shower curtain pattern warbling panicsong

So here is your order, then, this lack of body, this
tidy clean wax stopping my ears, here
is my functioning – a dead-eye membrane, smalled
wilting through the rest of ordinary time

How lucky then, to have seen the tangled strings –
tugging up creatures, busy
living away hard with no clue
that when they can’t hear or see you          you no longer exist

Ankh Spice is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa / New Zealand, who really does believe that narrative can change the world and his poetry frequently interweaves nature/environment with mental health issues. He has recent work published in Black Bough Poetry, Fevers of the Mind, Kissing Dynamite, Burning House Press, Rhythm & Bones, Fly on the Wall Press, Elephants Never, and Pixel Heart Magazine. Upcoming poems in Moonchild Magazine, The Failure Baler, Re-side and others. He is a 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee. You can find him on Twitter @SeaGoatScreams or on Facebook @AnkhSpiceSeaGoatScreamsPoetry.

Five Images by Ankh Spice in order of appearance : 1. “Letipa” 2. “Siberian Split” 3. “Delicacy Beak” 4. “Gone, Albatross” 5. Persisters

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