Lucy Alexander #64 ‘If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it.’ – Anne Carson, October 2016.

the man is a smokescreen

combustible his flaming hair confrontation

grappling for water is he breathing that fire? is he

turning to paper? are his words vapour ?

the pages of his skin the ashy flecks the light pours out of him

word’s own headings the font of his footsteps

hastening the clack of his feet like fingers on keys,

rattle of breath, the fire leaping from him

is he breathing those flames? is he eating that heat?

fat spattered walls skin sizzling

the house is akimbo and flailing

how is its rambling rooms now?

the chapters of its presence redundant

now aflame, now just fuel

now the dream of the burning man

running quite fast, is he fast enough?

is he breathing in that stench of

arching sentences soaring themes the ounces of

time worn words clasped in covers that are

on fire now shrivelling under the poem man’s glare?

and still he is moving and flaring and his eyes

are the stuff of legend and his smoke smells of

elegant curlicues phrases unbent and scorched

shriveled into single words while the house

topples, like a horse to its knees and there it

whistles and keens while the man runs on

his hair like volcano is he breathing? how is he moving

through volumes of smoke? and out of the structure

lighting the world, flicking ash out behind him

down the stairs down the bombshell building

the smokescreen of his figure leaps see him there

arc in the sky a sunset orange

a spot too bright too watch for long

throws himself into the arms of the sky

who holds him shaking and murmuring

until he burns out and the rushing over

sleeps dark sleep of the lost and the broken

until the next poem.

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