48hr Poetic Response to Tim Shaw’s ‘Black Smoke Rising’, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Nov 14 as part of Scriptography Productions’ Response Time. Photography by Keith Morris

black smoek 2

I. Torture room

crude practices of death
in this room we are all identity-less

that woman a question mark to the one they can’t ask
they don’t know why they had to leave
but she birthed them to their worlds in screams
and now, they press rewind
pacts blur lines
standing in sexual proximity
because they can’t do this alone

this man on his knees – now symbol, rune
burnt tree pointing to
where flesh breathed
blood disowns the body and is pumped free

they toy with soul
tease it from tear-dry eyes
how long before we let you out?
You fawn darting in halls corporeal
seen flashing past the glass as lids peel back
soul flees to limb to hide
they dice body, soul cowers
and when at last, the flesh tower is taken down stone
by stone there is nowhere to hide and soul takes leave,
do they feel it brush their cheek on its way back home?

When the Game is over, Animation gone,
heads down the playmates sweep up
parts and slivers carnal, pieces of a puzzle that once
held the eternal

black smoke 5

black smoke 4

II. Fleeing figure

then the lungs of the barons
will brim with their beloved oil

Yes, that’s him
wings burned as he fell
got locked in a layer under crust
juice of densest matter
poisoning the surface with the dirt of the depths
swimming in the dark

there is simplicity here

hell is not a shopping mall
but a stratum of secrets

do not disturb

mild sand accommodates
our every move
holding our footsteps
until blown away
sand, not complicit
but showing our every move
on the floor of the desert
a witness, unlike liquids

do not tell what we stole!

black smoke 3 black smoke 6

III. Statue and pool

His courage is so great
to face us daily
knowing he will never be loved

Here he is, ultimate prophet $
the pool’s
jet sheen black
of diplomatic limousine
oil !
soldier anoints the joints of his gun
helicopters gasp their fix
stumbling tanks drink
scurrying jeeps leak weighty
drop by pounding drip
it splashes a kiss on recoiling sand
olew yn bassio o law I law yn mynd a ni o le I le – go lew yw olew?
down in the well-hid abyss
we tap the pitch liquid, release
black oil into air
share the dirty secret
our lives are full of oil
sound the metronymic pump jack’s call
wells work wells work wells work wells
and announce the greatest crime of all
our leaders have normalised war

our leaders have normalised war

black smok 7black somke

Scriptography Productions presents:  Response Time, Black Smoke Rising

Producer: Sandy Bendelow   Photography:  Keith Morris


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