Two worlds | sdlrow owT
Summer of vowels. Winter of consonants.
Six months with no punctuation
¡Six / months: {with – nothing?}, but … [punctuation]!

Winterize your words against the extremes.
No sibilants to freeze and jam the letters;
sprinkle iron dust on the serifs
for rust to release its microheat;
take them out for seconds at a time, then back
into the fur-lined Scrabble bag of mind;
flick a sable brush around the contours
of sense, swab away ambiguity;
feast on calorific concepts, wade
into the blubber of fatty metaphor;
write out the word ‘chocolate’ eight times a day;
star-jump with an X, high kick with a K, —
take yoga with a Y, pilates with a P,
curl up with a cat-like G and sleep with ZZZs;
listen out for mumbling and murmuring,
for changes strange of syntax normal;
never open the door to a raging verb
like desolate, yearn, remember, regret;
seek the chapel when lost nouns begin to howl
around the station: lover, mother, pet;
claw a snow cave into an old conversation –
ones that hurt are deepest, the heat profile
of past frictions and l’esprit de l’escalier
will keep sound and breath and logic alive.
There are no wrong words, only polysemous weather.

Some poems take a bad steer, stray miles from shore,
their inner ears furred over from ceaseless cacophony of stars. —
“It’s heartbreaking to see a poem struggling like this.”
Lurching into town on scraped and scarred flippers,
yelping for breath, suffocating from the weight
of unsupported flesh. “But we’re not allowed to interfere.”
In a few days we’ll say some kind words and remove it from here

The sun bounces across the horizon
like the white ball on a karaoke screen.
Which words is it tracing?
‘We’ll meet again’? ‘Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone’?
Too obvious for this subtle star.
‘And then I see a darkness.’

A man with a double-barrelled name crosses Drake Passage in a rowboat.
A man with a triple-barrelled name crosses Drake Passage in a bathtub.—
A man with a quadruple-barreled name crosses Drake Passage on a flip-flop. —-
A man with a quintuple-barelled name crosses Drake Passage in a sardine tin.
A man with a sextuple-barelled name crosses Drake Passage on a fig leaf.
A man with a septuple-barrelled name crosses Drake Passage on a prayer.
A woman with no name dreams on endless, untouched, pristine, laundered linen.

Jason, wearing one rescued flip-flop, hunts the golden fleece in Antarctica.
One foot, one flipper, one foot, one flipper, across the continent.
No green in this desert, no ruminants, no wool, no gold.
If Cadmus sowed teeth here they wouldn’t grow, —
they would chatter at the Milky Way, never suckling.
In frustration Jason remembers the heel of Talos,
how unscrewing the plug brought forth a flood of ichor.
He grasps the combination lock of Antarctica
with its ergonomic curves and slots for finger and thumb,
and twists the bottom of the Earth right off
releasing gold into the atmosphere, fleecing the world of its riches.

these words have never been.these words will never go.unless you take these words with you.
never go unless you take these words with you.
never take these words with.
never with you.
never with.
never go.
take these words with.

Simon Barraclough has published and edited several poetry collections and anthologies, most recently Sunspots in2015 (Penned in the Margins). He also devisesand performs in multimedia projects involving filmmakers and musicians (Psycho Poetica in 2010, Sunspots in 2015, Vertiginous in 2018). He is currently working on short stories and finalising his fifth collection and a new pamphlet.