For weeks, I was above fishbone,
enjoying all that was stripped back,
we do, we do,
then the plot changed. I had no control,
unable to even write the words.
The air was cold and flat, tussock harsh.
These are not the places you wish to enter.
You smiled, briefly, as you disappeared,
heavy under bone headlines.
I wanted to bring you back,
praying and bathing in fragrant oils,
leading to spring, or so I believed -
the bigger the promise, the more I paid.
ou never returned. No-one cared but me,
fantasising on milky thoughts.
Once, we were similar in thought and tone.
They became lost chapters,
even the words were never sure.
Only a single fishbone was left.
I threatened to boil and eat shape - irrelevant.
I scraped and cooked its tissue - laughter.
The following day saw you whole again,
angular, pure white and gauntily growing.
All that was left was pure bone.



Once, they grew in silver rain,
beyond stone, watery thoughts,
believing all this would last. It didn't,
no longer searching slopes of kindness.
Tongues whisper along the fading coastline,
where they first made love,
the sole outline of heads and sholders.


Once, he held her closer than rain,
absurd promises, love at the ceremony
where lies began in purity.
Each one was bottled.


Once, they had an idea in rain,
how matter could flow all slopes,
long and hard, lights on,
just for a moment, then wires cut.


Once, they prayed and worshipped rain,
abstractions growing with each loss,
few painted or described in detail.
All that was left was bitter rain,
covering their lives with clouds,
even if they still reached upwards at night.
Cold air. Rain relentlessly grew.


You breathed you adored me, Snake,
believing you would always win our arguments.
You were the authoritarian, having to be first,
publicly announcing you were the opposite,
how you smirked when the gullible grew.

Families often refuse to understand your tongue.

Some days you were wearing a thin dark suit,
calling at doors with a bold smile,
convincing us we all neded what you were selling.
For a time we did.
Other times your dress was vegetarian green,
your face that of the unforgettable woman,
causing us all to love you again.

You loved darkness, able to see,
wave our bodies over one another,
sometimes a pile in a camp,
where armies gathered,
listening to your speech,
the softness of wind,
the syrup-suck of lungs.

The next scene came as fast as blood.
We would say we were prepared,
then be shocked when Snake sneered at us,
high on tongue. One by one,
we fell in the relentless sweat of sun.


It takes disasters for us to talk to each other,
each line black and loud, the blindness of glory.
A few even think this is a movie,
looking around for cameras,
praying to be cast in the chosen role.
This is our moment.

So it is, but Snake has the casting hat on,
cigar ash flicked to the ground,
and casting as seen fit -
the more we deserve the role,
the more we won't be cast.

We will learn Snake has no home, and doesn't care.
We will feel the desperate urge to escape,
the nightmare we are killing ourselves,
carrying our own broken hearts.

We will wake up, sobbing and hateful,
attending meetings of the nod and murmur,
the lonely call of stone.

We will have ceremonies of the dead, marching again.
Snake will howl, and howl, at the end.

We will try to decide if this is laughter, or grief.

        Gary Langford 2005