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Dee Sunshine

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Member Since: Jul, 2003

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When Angels Collide And Bang Their Heads
by Dee Sunshine
Monday, July 14, 2003

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           >> View all 46

A poem for a friend who attempted suicide.

(for Laura)


The sand is winter grit between her toes,
Red as disgorged rock, red as gut lining,
The red of inner Hebridean granite sun
Red and fading out into limpid pink,
But in this landscape of stormy blues
And suppurating greys, the faintest
Of base notes reverberates
With fiery, sexual subversion.

Dull as valium, each grain courses
Its bruised passage into filaments
Of dead skin,
Through eczema miasma,
Into the raw centre
Of sense, sensitivity, sensibility:
Crushing the embers
Of burned out dreams
With an eviscerated fatal finality.

The blade, lazy in her hand,
Silver as the winking moon
Is colder than the East wind,
Colder than the white waves
Which rear up
And shake their ugly heads,
Colder than the dead men
Who parade their bones
In a vacuous funeral cortege.

She is saturated by the cold:
It seeps into the finest fibres
Of her bones, into the dark nature
Of the stones pressing
Into her soft blue flesh.
She is fascinated
By its metal disinterest
And, magnetised,
Drawn towards
The subliminal image
Of abject nothingness.

If the knife could cut
It would cut away the sediment,
The stultifying sleep,
The torpor of stupefaction:
It would flash
Its bloody satisfaction
In the face of every
Unwary guardian angel;
And rail against
Those loveless gods
Who dreamt her into being.
But the knife
Is marshmallow soft,
A circus clown, jailed
In a bright ring of fire,
Dazzled into impotence
By its own lacklustre desire.

This knife, for all its proud grinning
Slices only nothing to nothing:
Robbed of its wits,
It cannot articulate
The ragged intricacies
Of her sullen rage.


Way beyond, where the clouds
Are filaments of high flying cirrus
The sun is setting, red and gold,
A hundred colours,
Spilling over its endless basket of pigment
Into the warm distended sea.
There are lovers scattered over
Volcanic outcrops, entwined
In the eternal dance of love,
In soft grass, amongst blazing flowers,
Along rolling beaches: they sing, drunk
With passion, in a myriad lilting tongues
To the music of cicadas and nightbirds,
The soft grumbling of sleeping beasts,
The muttering half silence of camp fires.
They are sultry and hot
As the zingling strings
Of the messiah’s guitar:
Each note, perfect in itself,
Each note, a quavering
Quivering celebration of life,
A carbon dot
On the flickering ticker tape
Which warps and weaves
Its endless symphonic tapestry.


Whisper sweet sleep to overcome:
She drowns in meadowflower wine,
The sugared insulin
And the track marks of time.
She is pierced,
Her blue, cold, dead flesh
Giving up its red veins
To the hot metal syringe,
To the death defying doses
Of her saviour
Who wraps her up
In his large hands
Like so much heroin,
Like the syrup tongue
That lulls her to the deep
Annihilating waters
Of frozen, empty Scotland.

I am a small island, she thinks,
And these dense clouds
Have enveloped me
Like so many sodden blankets,
With their pragmatic promises
Of nothing much;
And so to death I go,
A small girl in pigtails,
With an uncertain smile.
My glasses are misted over
And I can see nothing now
But the grey haar
And the infinitely gentle,
Utterly sad
Cold blue hands
Of my mother.


The Sylkies call her to join them,
To retrieve her skin and return
To the swaddling depths
Of colourless void:
Their voices mournful
As the wind through the glens.

Come to us, they say,
Come, be with the sorrowing:
Soothe your burning flesh
In these icy, peaceful waters;
Wash away the cries for love,
The cries for help
In this all-absorbing ocean,
This God for Godless souls,
This home for the derelict.
Come, let us wrap you up
In fronds of sea-grass,
In rich russets
And healing greens,
And put you to sleep
In an earthenware crib
Upon the ocean floor.
Let us sing you lullabies
And spin you
A calming cocoon;
And when you wake,
Let us take you,
Swimming and free,
The cold distances
Of this eternal sea.

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