Two Poems: ‘Pallet Town’, ‘Manual for Starter Pokemon’
Consciousness does not always begin
with waking, but a quiet disorientation
of glinting metal, curtainless windows,
books on the floor like upturned palms.
The street is set with houses basking
in the company of cherry blossoms –
not mean or rowdy, but calibrated
pipettes of fuchsia and adoration.
It is the bed you have been resting in
for years. Someone is making coffee
and expecting you to rise. Your body
measures the character of this silence
but there are languages outside
of geometry. Your mouth is dry.
It has started to rain and this town
will not be how you remember it.
Manual for Starter Pokemon
Of all ancient-footed soil-sifters
you know these rituals best, first
the crinkled promise of a seed,
pact with the dark, then an embryo’s
bloodless feast on damp and sun.
When the shadow of your labours
eclipses your own, fertile bulb
cleaving open, you cannot ignore
how the language of nature is
an unnatural one: germination,
photosynthesis, self-serving pollination.
Nothing has changed. Your burden
is no less because it has bloomed.
Never the flame, but restraint
of its reptilian temper. Make peace
where confrontation is poor excuse
for glory. Winged or quick-clawed,
the battles which matter are the ones
bargained with yourself, pride of identity,
unattainable flight. Yet what little room
for compromise in this Bildungsroman
is down to luck. Incinerate your bets.
Nothing comes from playing with fire.
Like all rivers, the one buried in you
has neither head nor tail, but endless
regard for past and future allegiances.
Take heed of its density, how a friend
resists or embraces water. Shell, carved from
calloused skin and bruises, is not armour
but to accept vulnerability. The same
is true of friendship: next to each other
but oceans apart.