Shaw Worth is a student living in London. His work has received three commendations in the Foyle Young Poet of the Year competition, appeared in the Waltham Forest Poetry Competition anthology close, and is forthcoming in World-dream. Shaw also co-edits Meanwhile Magazine.
Breaktime on the
Toddlers and Tiaras Set
Today my two-year-old is Regional Beauty
Supreme. She will be Princess Kansas. She will
devour the world. Her two main hobbies
are broad daylight and temporary teeth
called flippers; we throw them in the summer
river, we watch them dance like mayflies.
Before she goes on stage they play Wichita
Lineman for me and the soft string whine comes
to get me, and these all-time winner women
and the local bowling alley recede.
I go back to my father, who hated me;
he said our name was Resaca for fighting
but I stayed here in the county to listen
through the wire for the future, which is
my champion daughter. At home I marry
the mirror and try her lipstick on at
dinner. I am the quality controller.
She knows we need the money
and she brings it back each Monday.
I wash the dresses. We sing together
every weekend. We storm like thunder
through the waxed music halls, then I pass
her the mic, and her glitter in their golf ball
eyes makes the world see more clearly
and the cinched March sun walk out to greet
the judges and these endless plains, where we
are unloading a pickup of trophies
and rejoicing in endless victory.
Ani Pema says we would prefer to remain asleep in the West. Just like that:
quietly. And she laughs loud and jokes since her wisdom overflows.
But distraction is freehand and creative, I think; while I walk in the shop I listen—
I should be bolder at adding new people on Facebook, whose images I glide over
a fish through a reef, or a bored mountain goat, tripping on the space between crags.
It’s so important, she says, to get out of this pool of steamy slash fictional nothing,
of thoughts that crawl like sci-fi animals, of unwatched films & love poems—
you are not
who you think you are. You never were. But before I get discursive and freehand
I remember again that still I can breathe, and adopt a posture of repose in the air,
like a fly on a thousand-petalled lotus. I twist my left hip & it hurts for a week;
I bruise my calves on the flow of time, I get dinner, again. There are road stops
on the path. On the four hundredth petal of my long trashy thriller,
the gang climb the glacier in search of the body; the killer impersonates below.
They find her, filled with love and righteous action, dig her out from the hard-set snow.
Landscape as Guided Meditation
No, I’m serious. Imagine you’re
fifty one hundred fathoms tall, big
head up with blue generous Neptune,
and your feet down in the Cape Cod lake
where there were eels and you met your teacher.
You have no pain and high dexterity.
You think aloud with your shoulder blade
the size of the province: it says don’t trust
the work, do it again, you might just find that
something in all this boundless space,
these foamy bits of lake that lodge beyond
the breath. Look, there’s Jupiter. I guess breath
is the end of be all. You’re so massive
you can’t float by. Uncombing your hair
the length of Cape Cod will send a theta
wave to Earth with the power to make
the highways curl up on themselves then
heal all beings of hope and fear. So do it.
Go do the dishes and strike the bowl till
it becomes a portal. Crawl through
to a large non-conceptual room,
the first of ten final perfections.
We don’t need to list them here quite yet.
The lake has dried up with waiting for you
the wallpaper is Neptune imagined.
All poems: exclusive first publication by iamb