Two Poems

by Jane Ormerod


don't take your eyes
do not take your hands

please     come inside     I'll be the usual     the dirty
the daring     to kiss

clouds without complexes     vocal tones tipping wires
perfect     salt cellar eyes
I am real

don't take your eyes away
I must see you blush my name
and you are     so lovely
so very     very lovely
and it is hard to understand
my nerves
your robes     our pulse
the darkness of the light

it's very late     quite     quite different     and
you're not     you're not
you're so very very lovely

I love you
like a back     like a window     a state     a hotel     a schedule
change     change is so wonder     fool

in this room I take it
the ropes
remembering company     myself     with other people
the way light forks     the way life stares
in this room
I take it first

I know calling     I know talking     I know speaking
just look at you
promenading     so promising in love

bromide to sleep and no one explained
I am going to be your father     he said
just say maybe     say yes     say don't     say fine     say sorry and hooey
one single thought will do

I don't fit in     I am trying to hide     I don't fit in
I have no memory

I see a stranger cutting cards     a girl like you in spangles
a tall man holding a wheel
and I'm running with wings
a few blank sentences     some mislaid details     a man with suitcase eyes
I shall ask for the ticket again

we never find love quite exactly
I knew him
I knew him only slightly
I need rest     I must     I can't     the car is ready
because I knew him     I knew him so very slightly
ski tracks in the snow

the wheel is small in the hand
a man is the same     a revolver is a wheel
you are here
come     please     inside
don't take your hands away


London is falling and the tide is high
Filthy luck, say the men who fish for eels

Birds flock as does wallpaper
She was a vandal, he a factory gate
And they knew what to do
Meet you round the back in five, they whispered, lips prepared
The lips of halfway houses, wind thrashed umbrellas
a stolen baby's crocheted blanket gutter sighted

Come, look into the water: a bulldog serene, a bugle to play
An aunt who walks through hedgeways backwards
An interruption of ferrets
A self made man arriving with no instructions
People who say "I" when they mean you
and say "you" when they think of barbarians

Bad pennies always always always always always always
always always always always always always always always
always always always always always always always turn up

There is language, the girl says
which may be predicted like weather
The hearty hellos, solicitous enquiries, a dockside farewell
Other language is constructed like lasagne
or mixed into poultry stuffing
It may spill like potatoes tumbling from market speeding trucks
Think of boiling living lobsters
Miso ramen

And the men fishing for eels still speak of the woman
who dissected her children
the lover with the banjo
the Thursday child

For two years I believed, says the boy
but skims his explanation into the water
My life is full of gold star errors, says the girl
I am the advance you wished for
I circle run the men with shepherd eyes
pub-drinking bulbs of brandy
You see what I see?

London is falling
The five-year-old barmaid
the watered-down flower seller
the pleasure leakers
pit stops
the birds which tell and the birdies which don't
the kisses mashed underfoot
the porches of our thighs
the cellars of our love
the eels and the mud and the girl and the boy
and the girl and the girl and the boy and the boy and the girl
and the boy and the boy and the girl and the boy and the boy

All this wisecrackery, penny thoughtery
The nod at the fuel gage, the fist on the deck
the city fuselage
She was a vandal, he was aghast
and the eel men still bait and bucket
London is falling and the slide is low ...


The world ages. We put on hats and
place our necks in guillotines
or float feet first towards the river.

Born on the south coast of England, Jane Ormerod now lives in New York City. Her work has appeared in numerous US and UK publications including Arsenic Lobster, Dirt, eratio postmodern poetry, failbetter, and Word Riot. A spoken word CD "Nashville Invades Manhattan" was released in 2007. Jane's website is