Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

2013

air (2013)

they tell me there’s an exoplanet there
at terminant 729.

for now I can only dwell
in this stream of tachyons
narrowed into the
past’s bottleneck
on the cost of our shared breath.

outside
a nebula’s long gestation
collapses to beget a sun child
in a gravity well
during which
our stretched lives
are a slice of an eyeblink.

your fast atoms have been
recycled as trees and birds
since the second day.

how much air
did we waste
and time when it ran slow
as a star
creeping across the night?

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there are no pleasant english words (2013)

for the curve of the arse
this attracting shape sculpted by nature
and gravity
like the edge of the earth against space
mathematically
and erotically pleasing

the french say derriere
which flows in a sinewave sound
tracing the line
down a convex slope
to a plain

our terms are harsh bludgeons
on the tongue

rump
bottom
buttock
bum


Memory Foam (2013)

They left you next to the bins
daydreamed away smiling
jokes filling the space relieved by your weight
Disrespectful
to you who worked nights
supported
love dreams sins

You sag
a mother’s shamed
breast weighty
with abandonment issues
the dregs of warmth
aching out through stains

They can shut their eyes
against you
resting blind in the
false promise of
new permanence

Wrinkled sheets billow back
remember when

Pillows recall
the bouncing joy
of lost springs


more fridays (2013)

i am fucked on fridays
but not in a good way
just handcuffed by the jumble of the week
dragging me by the scruff
to evening’s custody

weight frisks over me
to get comfortable
hours wheeze
through scales
a terminal accordion
on my head
like they’d run brisk up the stairs
just to hold me down

not a rapid response at all
by the time enough of them arrive
i’m face down in a kindle
eyes wading through the gravity
of an old murder
toward sleep


Curious Rays (2013)

He was explaining
to the subject
while tyrannosaurs grumbled by
in nudging grudging pairs
that the device
employing curious rays
was designed to
focus on love remembered.

This head it appeared
could recall
if at all
only petrified love
and following the examination left,
bereft,
along with its body
to board a train for Virginia Waters.

Tyrannosaurs grumped about there too
displaying tags announcing
they’d been named after famous
past or present local residents.

One was called Elton John.

Sister Anthony took his arm then,
navigating tetchy reptiles
to an arbour
to recover
from the tyrannous ordeal.


The Pharaoh’s Hat (2013)

OK

Now will I surrender myself to your memory
hum

Dream of workers thrum droning
me toward abandon’s edge

Your crest swept back
like the grass yearning
from its flat crush

like a Pharaoh’s hat

A white noise swarm
arranged and orchestrated by bees
turns to words
from a hive tongue
in which we are both quite fluent

I hesitate to honeycomb that hair
with these sticky fingers
as a wax syntax evolves
for melting us together

doing those things
that come naturally


Heart FM (2013)

Rihanna is God’s way of telling you
to change the channel.
I have explained this
more times than Maroon 5 has been played
on this Fisher Price wavelength.
It’s not even your radio.
It’s Daisy’s.

There’s no explanation
for your choice of station
which offends me more
than bad grammar
on the office toilet door.
It’s just shit on a loop
returning to us via this
generation game style
conveyor belt of
midprice small disappointments.

Why don’t you invest
in some cheap headphones?

Integrity. Get that.


susceptible (2013)

I get really fuzzy ITV and a bit of BBC1.
one in each eye
usually independently
but sometimes both at once.

I’m susceptible the doctors say
following intensive probes and
initial disbelief.
I’m receptive
to broadcast modern culture.

If it gets serious, they say,
I could start getting channel 5.
That’s the worst case scenario.


the chief petty officer (2013)

your anger’s like the water in an argos kettle
battering its fists on a cheap lid.
your mouth can’t help it
lets go of anything
not loose lips so much as careless.
they just don’t care.

those socks do you no favours either.
your moaning; it’s professional.
i’d pay good money for someone like you
to moan on my behalf

with your round flat face
like a platter of fried grouch.

there must be good money in that.
you should look into it.


headlines II (2013)

mobile phone youth stabbed to death
stationary body horror in park
mother moved by public response
police rush out appeal for calm
public opinion of police shifts
police move to calm fears
trust in police slides
PM flies back to crisis
trust in everything collapses
newspapers run out of verbs