Matthew M C Smith, a Welsh poet from Swansea, is editor and founder of Black Bough Poetry. His poems have been in Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Icefloe Press, Wellington Street Review, Other Terrain and Fly on the Wall Press. Matthew is writing his second collection after his debut, Origin: 21 Poems.
Cri de Coeur
Pain resurfaces at dawn – truth’s metallic taste and weight. The light leaves the eyes reeling – the ringing of volleyed shells in battle. Somewhere, a building is on fire with acrid smoke billowing through splintered panes.
Stagger, breathe in circles of air. A compression grips the chest with the realisation of long hours ahead that grid their ways to the horizon. Unravel the day’s maze through the mind’s labyrinth, bearing the string that guides to smooth passage. The string is cut to threads and frayed, resting across open palms. Palms upturned to the ceiling and a forlorn, beige sky.
Words are mouthed. Everything is touched. Long to forget. Stoop heavy with the brain’s aching throb.
Threads re-weave and pull you to the sitting place, oppressive thoughts like a hood placed over your head; you’re chaired, hands bound behind your back.
Flicker, flicker. You sit in the sunken prison but no-one is there. The windowless room has alcoves crammed with chrome bars. The room stinks, like gutters, cloys in the nostrils. One door in, one door out, but not in the same place each time you look.
Knowledge strips, eviscerates, whittles you down to a weighty core, a plumbline hanging. Your feet spread like a sad clown, heels thumped and splayed in ragged trousers.
The reader imagines a bullet, a blood-shot in the head, sees brain fluid leaking on your shoulders. It is truth’s despair.
The state of unknowing was a gift of angels, a carnival of colourful birds in a palace of leaves twisting skyward to thrones of beauty and order in clouds. Each palace is an illusion, before a fall.
He stands before a wall of water gushing from the overhang, pouring out from a riven sky. Her image through the fall is obscured by the rush of the cascade, running silk over glistening-dark limestone.
They touch at arms’ length, two hands with palms and fingers lightly pressed. The drops on his face are torrent’s tears. She’s a column smoothed in water, with eyes that gaze through. His body is pearl-white, sinews like bundles of tied rope. She remains still, a vision through the cataract, silent in the plunging roar. They stand. A sorrow of skins, skulls, skeletons. Water over suits of flesh on bone.
The figure of the man silhouettes as he kneels, head bowed in the deluge. She wants to touch his shoulders, feel their points of backbone, imagining clasping his face. Then she looks above and beyond, sensing one of his fingers trail on her left and, the others let go.
She looks out to the world, making out the impressions of trees on the skyline, hearing flocks of birds soar and makes out the pinnacles and spurs of rock.
The relentless power silvers skin, greens veins, pales their hides. From her gaze, the arterial river flows through the valley.