poetry

'Recursion'
By Brendan g. Emetus and Janet Persilcroft

1 Recursion

I remember how the morning light in May would stain the sky and curtains both that unwashed-bedsheet yellow, that pissdirt colour, that ivory of nightsweat past, the endless light of lambent daybreak.
Tell a tale in axon tracts.
Tell a tale of sirens, clowns and tawiscara, tell a tale of sunburned men in suits and ties with clothes-fly hairlines, sweating.

Sculpt yourself in blazing synapse, mould some being in chemical and begin, and begin now, and begin to begin now. Let neurons fire off and dance like light on water. Move through fog, see distant fuzzy shapes appear and vanish, shadows in the morning mist.
The outlines move faster and change now, start to change now, start to start to change now.

August. Astral light. Perseids. The grass is warm and dry now. I see them dancing. The woods are changing. A path once overgrown with gorse and bracken’s clear; an ancient oak obscures the vista; strange and unknown noises pierce the silence. Reflected in a puddle’s sheen I see you dancing like you say you do in your dream. Dandelion seeds float by en masse, a passive flyswarm, borne up on the wind. Thin and leafless branches cut the evening sunlight, swaying in harmonic motion.

The woods begin to change.
A permutation, union of all not-there woods, now brambles span the treetops, branches float midair and roots wind twisting upwards into the Autumn sky.
The memories of the woods begin to change now.
Standing by a dry-stone wall, topped with rusting wire, as an older man. Walking in the quarry, hand in someone else’s, tripping over roots.
I remember dancing with you like you say we did in your dream. A fog comes down and we’re small before it, a sparrow looks at me.
The memories begin to change.
There are fewer of them than there were, all slot neatly into place, pigeonholed, could’ve been, could be, was is is and isn’t. I turn my head.
I see me dancing like you said you did in your dream. In a sunbeam nimbus, fading into boundless colour. You ask me to recall when we first met and I reply that you were wearing red or blue or green and it was warm or cold outside and you respond in kind my hair is blonde or brown or ginger, my drink of choice is tea or coffee, and we now know that neither one of us recalls the other really, only feelings which have in recent memory become attached to others.
Now scenes begin to merge and tessellate like hexagons: in an autumn forest, on a nighttime bus, lying next to someone, walking on a hillside, placement object placement. Object placement object, scratches on the sky, planes, branches like long talons, nails, building site midmorning, scaffolds, sootblack houses, old mills, home: Yorkshire. First syllable a groaning bow, the second an arrow’s flight.
Tell a tale of hairless men in chilly weather, tell a tale of astral light in August, tell a tale of how you nearly became a dancer, tell a tale of why you didn’t. A raven looks at you.
And in a flash it whirls around and all the tableaux meld with one another and we’re almost sleeping, speech that calm and broken cadence of the almost sleeping, all sensation dulled and non-specific, almost sleeping, lying next to someone, almost sleeping, almost sleeping now, almost not unsleeping now.

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University of Bristol