fairground man
dark hair curling round your ears, smell of generators and cigarettes and dirty denim, you open the door to my skin the ride of my life the holding on the screaming inside the slowly letting it out needing the breath of your sweat to take me in.  you watch me as I circle you, and I am your dog on a string your caravan
cold staring towards the back of a field where later we might lie on trampled dandelions and stinging nettles.  I imagine you taste of garlic and cumin and wood smoke, and with these blue lights tracing across my eyes, shouting go faster
, your voice is the lashing of rain against a water drum.
calloused hands and rough broken skin, you call me darling
as close to my ear as a man can be, your mouth a pile of damp leaves, your shoulders are burial mounds, your chest the bed of a river I want to get down on my knees and lean my body into.
take me into the dark of the field, where stars are below us in the stretching arms of streetlights, where dogs bark in the distance and my name is humming with engines.


this woman is wrapped in the sound of her lover locking the door behind him
she is talking to his empty shoes, his crumpled red towel, his guitar strings
her skin is covered in lost consonants, her voice an apple bite in the room
later, she is wrinkling her fingers in the dying bathwater, calling them prunes
remembering the way they dug into unfinished cushions, into his shoulders
into unanswered questions hanging between them like hymns

projecting waves onto your skin, holding the water in, the wash, the Sunday drive over a seacomb beach, eating picnics on blankets of breeze blocks
projecting circles where there are only squares, long looks into the distance where cars are insects crawling up a hill
projecting pictures from our past lives, being carried in cars where headlights rise up the back of seats and disappear with the murmur of quiet conversations we only half hear
saying she will leave him for another man
maybe tomorrow or another day maybe never
she will pack her suitcase and be gone before
he realises
projecting hurt onto coast roads where we feel the need to turn the wheel into sea walls, head on
wishing we might survive the wreck,  climb into a cove the size of a hand with rock fingers we can recover against

hay festival
where stars were shapes on my arms almost like moles and freckles, but really they were shadows of raindrops through the car window
car tyres span in ankle deep mud, leaving splatters on our jeans, inches deep wheel ruts
we tried on clothes, you liked the bowler best
I wore fake furs necklaces and paste diamond brooches
outside, the rain was smudging our faces
poles twisted upwards into the teepee roof
and the smells were spiced noodles and woodsmoke, beanbags on hessian mats and sheepskins
my cheeks were hot, prickling sore and swollen as cheeks might be if they were dumplings
you kept throwing wood on the fire
and everything smelt of it
my hair
your fingers
the blankets
and I cried like a rocking chair
where two days later you would stroke my face and bury my mouth with yours, your fingers sliding into me
until I came
like stars on my skin, only falling falling to the ground
like ashes
or raindrops

     Annie Clarkson 2006