Lakey Comess

Navigate pain,

facts of life, or merely surmise
clutched in beak of jackdaw, concealed amongst leaves,

looking over our shoulders, holding us both
responsible for mapping history,

drawing circles around battered topography,
spots of hidden atrocity.

Fix boundaries of all it is possible to bear; quantify minutes,
charting those past, yet to come.

Defy dystopian landscape, fell swoop.

Walk right into a bad interval

                dig into pockets for shiny tokens.
Experience a lit-up world, good clean fun on the runway,
far reaching lift-off.

Isn't it time you found out? Or, isn't it time?
Three words count, when thrills oppose rhyme.

How do you rate a crowd's pleasure,
those who hang around edges of battle,

avoid serious fray, skirt repercussions,
saunter close in relative safety?

Lessons approach wielding long knives.

Did you wish to chat or did you wish
to have a discussion about conflict?

Ready to listen to reason?

There's tension on the page,

                resembling either a hard place or a moan.

You recall—you must have been told—a sigh deteriorates to a whimper.
Delays last anywhere between hairsbreadth and ten years.

Shudders pass, fish keep swimming,
coral breaks apart before reforming.

Power has long gone, whispering may be in order. You're right to hold onto whatever pirouetting humour happens your way. Over yon, someone's hiding dark secrets, drawing them in dense-breath honesty, desperate recordings. What you say is close to speech, but not close enough.

Keep your eyes straight ahead on scales and fins.
Watch glide, oddly calm, considering jaws of shark nearby, basking.

Amazing what you can do with elbow grease and acrylic, what parcels and planes unfold. The truths you hide are the same truths hidden from you, neither minor nor trivial, though some are two-bucks-per-hour unutterable.

We pass bearable limits, refer generically to mistakes you made,
dirty-trick philosophy, inadequate performance.

Don't expect a gold disc for your effort, cash in hand, accolades.
You are loyal to episodes, not people. Someone studies you, leaves you a message,
careful, logical. Someone else may not let you off so lightly.

It all depends on draughting, reworking fine-tuned allegiance.

Connive and scheme, but change schedule (simultaneously)
while changing heart, mind, means of communicating.

Try writing a letter. It's only time, but it's high time.
You cannot afford to wait any longer.

Possessed, blind topography

                               fades in first five minutes
bathing in sun.

Can you really meddle in others' lives
                               without consequence to your own?

Violin hovers over dimly lit set,
adds a trace to short interval, caught up in blaze.

Fairy tale objects appear on flame-covered chart:

. glass slipper
. thorn of rose
. red cloak
. one bleeding heart.

Non-narrative structure,

                               real deal sixties—psychedelic feel to the piece, as in throw-back. What was the description about, if we’re no longer in touch? Dots appear to be useful in visual stimulation, self-obliteration.

Fit that in between vertebrae, strengthen spine, take whatever necessary steps you need to take.


What loss do you recover from seas? Did we actually talk or did we drink coffee all night long? (The plan was for both.) We get side-tracked, laid along the way, sleep back to back like New Yorkers. How much was absorbed? How honest are you? I have my answer, formulated, should yours be lost in choking.


Mama loshen didn’t succeed as secret language spoken in the holy of holies. Give it a rest. Who were we kidding? Rearrange sun and stars before removing to another safer planet.


Losing touch—an empowering course of action. Sad end to an ill-advised epoch. With any luck it won’t be repeated. Step away for a moment. Waiting is the worst, call and response. There’s always a door to walk through, programmed to open when we revert to refusing all further exchange.

Merciless, unrelenting—like hurt we unintentionally cause each other.


Be careful what you wish for, beware surprise endings.
We really do invent new and different ways to get back in touch.

Hang around for the shift change, outstandingly bad script.
Choose between butting in or keeping to inside track.

Spend your life doing what you please,
all the while taking your own temperature.

Wind's turned

                roughly, rips at branches. So it is with us,
temper affecting long tear in narrative.

Foolish and selfish is your assessment;
death wish vociferously implied roundabout.

Can something other than silence follow?
Is this what you want, relief from anguish of art pushed aside?

Certain roots grow upwards,
seek nourishment above ground.

Whole lifetimes are spent similarly, in imitation.

Lakey Comess, born U S A in 1948, has lived in Israel, South Africa and the Orkney Islands in Scotland and now lives in Lanarkshire. She has contributed to Versal, Big Bridge, Gulf Stream, Milk, Hutt, Otoliths, Hamilton Stone Review, Mad Hatters' Review blog, On Barcelona blog and other publications, also as Lakey Teasdale.
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