Andrew Shelley


The difference is I can't rest without their manifold othernesses that were nibbling me all over so that I was giggling constantly at the edges. Entering sleep, I shrivel like something cold being plunged into something too hot for it. I'm ammoniac; bleached so clean, I need water.

I was more interesting with them nesting in me, those bytes of the context, those topoi, those binding-sites networking me all over to time, place and instance; pinpointing me to something broader than me impossible to define. I'm all border, or none now they're not constantly eating the death that exfoliates from me moment by moment and in return feeding me their subtle antitypes. In syphoned pinprick mouthfuls converting I to not I and vice versa. Wanting scroungers, I've no burthen to drop and begin to float up and away in every direction, introducing myself without difficulty and noticing my too polished smell like scrubbed pink pork. An awful quiet has settled deep into me or is it that I hear my sterile body continually throbbing to itself for something to contact and contradict it. Fleeced down to the raw for riches' sake, there's nothing but the reek of me, stink of cleansed, clariform. I torture in others this my own stench, skinning, at safe distance, theirs from them. And paring in to the layer that's hospitable only to scabs, poached tender, I exude claw around that sweetest part. In the mirrored shopping palaces, the boiled clothes of the highly finished people itch.

I'm homeless without them lodging in me - those public creatures instinct with my privatest spots, those circuits of translation, those bits of home spilling into the street. I run around constantly on call while something in me crouches on the steps like a lost dog, getting bewildered, because it can't get savage enough. Turning vicious, because it can't carry on being totally confused. Without that map of sites, those plotted loci, my house is changing into an office, a space I merely hide from belonging nowhere. My earnings arrive in the form of damages for injury, ransom for kidnap, court costs, the price on my head I'm hunted for. When cars overtake I shudder as if I'd been crushed and in the centre, where it's getting harder for pushers to get the hell out of the way, I feel like elbowing them into the gutter, in self-defence. The sharper my suit, the more naked I appear, shabbily fleshed. Shorn of that common pelt that keeps people at arm's reach, they veer clear, or latch on and sink their private lancets with ease. Without those basics to background me, those breeders of the margins, there's nothing to distinguish me from others similarly so blindlingly distinct you have to shut your eyes and try to envisage them- cuffless, with bare feet in black shoes. What's left of world's all one to me. I call this globally conscious.

But the more uniquely shined am I, the more officiously do I pick on the slightest divergence from the line. Enzymatic, my fat exacts its fractions from everything it craves that's openly given to it. For whatever I receive is only what I have scrapped and beaten you for. I'm free only in so far as someone has to pay for me, clean of all attachment. And there's nothing I don't have to kill for dearly buying into a whole that's not there as soon as I've chipped a way into it.

Scoured with professional agents, those nodes leap off and start to pester. Down the road they turn into lost objects of my youth on sale in op-shops. They kip on public benches during the lunchbreak, or squat on doorsteps and nag me for things until I shiver. I hunger for them to the pitch of my very hatred for them, my dreams of those tites being censored as they waft me their undulating antennae

Without them to scratch, I gouge deeper and deeper, trying to find the warmth I left on the surface, into the still patient body of my parasite, my mite, that I loathe the more I gorge on, mouthtube pulsing, too louse to be predator, too predator to care whether I knife what I live in. I tremble with the sex-sense that wants to pierce you with a multitudinous spore and hang on for dear life, nose-down, needling inwards with my legs kicking in the air above pathetically resembling feelers

I want to get under your skin and lodge and lay there a tiny horde with very small vicious crab-claws scissor-guarding my permanently open mouth-like structure, which devours everything, from which nothing issues forth

I want to cling on to your pubis in colorful colonies of darkness by indelible pads that look like egg-sacs at the end of my sensing creepers. Burst, I want my guts to crack unforgettably on your fingernails and launch an immediate scamper of fresh young runnelling all over your corps

I want to cling onto hairs of your moistest places and spawn-spew a brood that will overrun and conquer you till you collapse, riddled, to dust like a ship of empire buried in an avalanche of black shit

Clean as a war criminal, as a city rebuilt from ashes, as a sexfilm set,

I lay in wait, as ready to kill as to cower, itching for you with my bleeding feelers scrabbling at the too smooth plane, while everything I touch I cut myself on and everything that flays me I yearn to feel



the miracle

I curled up around my hollow like an embryo.
I withered stiff around an absence like an insect dying, drying.
I was back-broke empty, earth-struck.
I curved into the shape of something ungiving, melting.

I coiled like a spring around my horror.
The sharp bones of my abuse stood through my skin.
But as I wizened, I fattened, something hungry
fed of my defeatedness, thumped the dull skin of my drum.

I sickened on the black milk my heart sucked.
I was crushed like discarded paper in a fat fist.
I guttered and spat like a fire poisoned by tar.
I could not stand or fight, sit and speak.
Now who will drink with me this thin cold soup?

I peered up at folk from a little low platform.
They looked in my eyes for the misery confirmed their lies.
They stared in my face for the pain that made me theirs.
The watched for my hand to tremble as I gave up my last penny,
but it was steady.
Now who will drink with me this cold cruel wine?
Who will eat with me these wild winter vegetables?

I stitched an unstitched myself by lonely light.
I wove the dark threads back into the plain hem.
I smoothed out the paper sheets in afternoon sunshine.
Then by a calm lake, far away, I sat at dusk.
The bubble of my pain surfaced, burst, and I was flooded.

Now who will carry this head of a horse, between poles, to the eastern shore?

It sat there for days, gazing out to sea, on its shoulders of sand.

Who will eat with me these chill pale fruits?


dog days

Someone leaves
mounts the sleek limousine of his youth
waiting for him at the kerb, all along

he's slept through the film, left before the ending,

A siren goes off like an alarm
and I've made it as far as the runway, with the getaway plane
at the last border, the seedy outpost, the no-man's zone
you can't cross without being run down by the cops
or shot in the head by a spook or a geek

where they destroy your dreams with a flick of a switch
shoot you in the neck like a surgical operation
calmly, sadly, they've seen it all before . . .

down the dark last lane, in trees' close-kept shades,
there I lie, slain, pierced by a faint star, an arrow of moon-
silver glinting on the road
is my booty, or the knife, unknown
which is which, & the horse stands there
quietly drooping its long head to my body
in a stain of brightness against the dark

its long mane shifts in the wind
as that blood is flensed clear in the rinsing moonlight
& the blade washed clean
speaks in flashed glints,
slowly turning, under the eternal light
of evening bleeding scarlet
out of the gash between earth and heaven

it waits, without a burden, white horse,
I was the weight that made it fly,
now at the final border, last date,
on the site of some lost civilization of the night
it's fixed there for all eternity,
silent,unmortal, faintly glowing
as my pale bright corpse
leaks back into the dark tight-
pursed seams of earth and rock

But meanwhile back inside we're wedged up against the tv again
where the hand is slowly reaching for your thigh or the gun in the glove compartment always
and the taxi droning out into a receding place of arrival says

Better if the past hijacks your plane anyway
than floating around in circles of empty air
looking for something that's neither here nor there.
If it didn't, you'd be back
seeking the bomb, the cop, the spook or geek
the fatal flaw

what derailed and saved you-
that was your passport out, your ticket in, your door
into yourself

I walked away
on the other side of yesterday
and life began again.

down the quiet lane, in trees' thick-woven, rippling shades
there the horse stands, drooping its heavy mane
as if waiting for its rider to rise, unslain