from Separate Voices

I’ve inoculated it
        I’ve made it safe with
a dose of its own
        toxic medicine – practice
and discipline bind
        to the receptor heads
and it’s a dead
        duck. Over-confident perhaps
overwhelmed to
        start so suddenly so brashly
against the ranked
        opposition bristling with
deadly spikes ranged
        along an eerie sub-sonic
sub-atomic shore

back slap to break
        back an attack a return
to the break beat
        echoes through yesterday’s
kitchen a dull foam
        starts to adhere clouds
over a film but
        another layer accrues where
the note is
        interrupted by a view through
the chink
        it is both and not where I
started from
        forgetting recollection merely
evokes it here
        right before my eyes

the astonishing pleasure
        of another cup of cappuccino
following on from the
        first – the object restored
to itself renewed
        recovered in joy and yet
already the foam
        contracts the bubbles winking
at the brim start
        to go out pocking craters
in the chocolate
        crusting once again restoring
the solid ghost
        of endlessly lost potential
hopelessly regained
        in a gulf of sorrow

telling the time
              by till receipts traced across
a city orients
            my purchasing power – little
disasters bob up
                everywhere: nature scoffs at
the landing stage
               wrecked, sunken in the estuary.
That pontoon
            floated with hope in an earlier
poem unlike
          this one which has already
forgotten its
         ending: not on my abandoned

clutched in the human
        forest the fronds of pikes
held aloft become
        like the sweetest blossom –
thank humanity
        for holding me in enchanted
boundaries an open
        forest moving as a heart
beat wept to
        spit on a open wound – yes
the turn to
        violence again – a punctured
        only elevates the next version
ever nobler
        ever more coming back

a knife amnesty
        of double edged words
who would hold
        it up to glance off
and back hand
        your friends in safe
in the knowledge
        striking out always looks
back into your
        own flesh til nothing
beside remains
        only the blade tall and
shining burning
        over the desert

scott thurston began writing in the poetry scene situated around Gilbert Adair’s Sub-Voicive Poetry reading series and Bob Cobbing’s New River Project workshops in London in the late eighties. His books include Poems Nov 89 - Jun 91 (Writers Forum, 1991), State(s)walk(s) (Writers Forum, 1994), Turns (with Robert Sheppard) (Ship of Fools/Radiator, 2003). His full-length collection, Hold: Poems 1994-2004 (2006) is published by Shearsman. He lectures in English and Creative Writing at The University of Salford and lives in Liverpool. He edits The Radiator, a journal of contemporary poetics. See his pages at

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