:: Article

integral formulations of irrational arguments & other poems

By Laura Elliott.

Skype Blinks

Everyone is moving away
and we are all now becoming
ventriloquists.

We are misdirecting eye contact,
impossible to tell where to focus
on the seconded face,
where we can connect.

I watched the sun rise
through the windows
of an apartment in South Korea

and thought I could hear
the 5am inflections in your voice
but this is taken on trust.

The way your dawn settled
on our dusk audience, the morning storm refracted
through unfamiliar windows
pinned my pupils to the glass.

Think about this specific drift,
and faces, numerous
failings, glitch in the tongue -

I am seeking completeness you said.
We applaud the wall.

I feel a sensation in the body I can’t place
unbalancing -

and then abruptly we are talking about
polar bears’ relationship to containment
and it made sense as a whole -

how the image is undesirable
singular and starving
let loose on the vast ice shelf

when fishing is merely a pastime in the cell
and the keeper lets us sleep
as much as we like.

Beneath the window prisms
each distracted orb precisely overlaps
in constellations.

The polar bear beside his limited pool
denies his reflection in the shallows,
while our own peripheries flicker,
fractional handles of light.


integral formulations of irrational arguments

say the sun is shining on my left side all afternoon/
say the overriding feeling was of watching wrestling
on the beach/say eating you out is not a phrase
I would have used and therefore feels aggressive
like you’re using sex against me/say everything is sex
and your using it against me/say you have developed
a slight cough/say this is ongoing/say this distance
is excessive really what were you thinking/say I dressed
inappropriately and regretted it/say I was never
really sure about green/say I want to stop smoking
so I can have a baby/say I confess everything/say
you already knew about January/say I don’t know
and have probably never known how to truly describe
that part of my body/say I no longer reach my five-a-day
and combined with my lax in vegetarianism am concerned
it is symptomatic of a greater ambivalence/say I have
a scar on my back and say I have forgotten to write
a postcard/say I do not want to kiss you in the garden
under the olive tree this time/say I found a letter
in which you apologised for something I don’t remember
and in reading it I re-experienced the same sensations
that prompted the letter but minus the integrity
of their source/say I could never really pronounce the word
but often thought of it/say I meant everything sincerely
even the part where I backed up against the door
and pretended to be afraid

So Much Rain for Days

trapped taking pictures
in our one room studio you wanted
    to balance eggs
        on my eyelids
cool as fingertips and strip my clothes off
why did you want to do it that way
    what could you see
        it was raining outside maybe
the rain had stopped then you plugged in
all the lamps bare bulbs crisping
    their residue of dust
        their orange-white glare
angled down on me from
the two chairs the table the
    white-tiled window ledge
        I always thought I would fall off
when I sat on the lip and smoked
I leaned so far so far out I could almost
    touch the leaves of the tree
        that sounded so clearly like rain
every morning I would think it was rain again
rain again always rain but not always
    so I learned to lean
        outside to touch the rain-tree
in the courtyard one hand holding
my little glass of coffee and it became
    a ritual I didn’t think
        you even noticed nearly
all summer long I did it every
single morning but one of those days
    you wanted me to lie down
        on the parquet with no clothes on
and balance eggs on my eyelids
so that you could take a photograph
    I only wanted you to see
        that I could do it I could lie
quite still and listen to the rain-tree
    and feel all the lamps on me tensing
        your breath on my body
and nothing fell or was broken
nothing happened except
for one morning I couldn’t see
    the ledge or the leaves
        or whether it was raining

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Elliott graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2009, and UEA in 2013. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, most recently Tender, and the Bloodaxe anthology Dear World and Everyone in it… She co-edits Lighthouse literary journal.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, January 4th, 2014.