Sarah Fletcher

the poet

Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet whose poems have appeared in The White Review, The Rialto and Poetry London. Her most recent pamphlet, Typhoid August was published in 2018 by The Poetry Business. She is currently working on the full-length collection, PLUS ULTRA.

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the poems

Capitulation

00:00 / 01:42

i.
Feigning the playfulness of

Mother-May-I     he asks for

a days-of-the-cane

throwback          I

refuse

 

Back  then  I  tendered  my  touch

more dearly          I lived in his kiss

for so long I was born in it

Now    anechoic    and him
a guerrillista of nettles and wit


I can give him what he came for

and what he now resists


ii.
The   decapitated   photograph

of                   a                    torso

Sexless   in   the   high  contrast

tender     in     the    anonymous

lust-trade
is constant as static to my mind
like my friend describing the sting

her boyfriend draws from her

heels tied and


does she feel like a present

as he tightens the ribbons


so tell me    what is your

luxury and who delivers it


iii.
All the milkmaids   inconsequential

as achoo        have jostled into

wakefulness at his arrival


they are burning their hems

 

legs rising like the vim
of popped champagne

 

he says Thank You
but I did not mean to revive him

you fucking dirty pigeon of a man

The Garden of Love's Sleep

After Messian’s Turangalila

00:00 / 02:48

Dinner is poured                Then: his hand on mine — 

 

Instead 
of sensation 
I receive 

 

The dream
Of two green peacocks
Pouring smooth grails of touch 
Each across the other

 

Necks arched in extravagant,
Romantic love.

 

*    

 

Insomnia swells a congealing city
Congests each head with         phrases: 

“A horse called Horus or just Birdy”         “A wine press named War on Earth”:

 

Those haute couture contraptions from the ancién French regime               

 

*    

 

Áwake        Who is with me?    Whó
Will unhook
The colours’ ruffles from sunrise
Each by each?

    

When we talk about Manifestos 
I feel white 
Doves sprung from a Magician’s 
Sleeves on sleeves 
Release

In this state 
And at this event

*    

 

On open caboose     On train to Vladivostok

    

Mosquitoes are breeding quickly in the dark

 

Clouds’ petticoats uncross              Cross again   
Flashing the sun from which we cannot hide
Which catches us
Spoiled and sticky

Like Love’s Sunday

*

 

The emperor’s clothes are very beautiful    and they
Are very real     I remember them like the song
That climbs back  to me in snatches:                 Harbouring
The antiseptic beauty                     `                   Harpooning
the August moon                                      Haranguing
the something       something       something             Noon

*    

 

Have we slept? I’ve found us
Flabberghastly      Clean and glamorose   
Like the courtesan     who appears here
And all other places         in a new state  
age   dress    civility 
Having forgot the crashing sound of a beating door 
The stench of a night closing in          
Endarkening                                      O Carrion!

*

 

At last

Something beautiful arrives!

The equal weightéd phrase 
That leaves your mouth and the sky
At the same time

The Judgment

00:00 / 01:37

‘It’s not supposed to be like that’ he said
and then accused me of embellishing 
it all. But I swore I told him nothing 
more or less than how it really felt.
‘Embellishing’s for dresses’ I explained,
holding my ground.  
                              ‘Dresses,’ he repeated,
looking down, ‘then what are you?’

I told him how I felt like rotting fruit,
which is to say too sticky 
and browned-over at the edges;
how my lips became a pith to be peeled off.
And how we moved like we were  
drowning, but in the way a horse
might drown, which is to say,
showing resistance. Which is to say, 
still looking for some ground, 
some anything, something
to stand on and start galloping.

He sighed, and said that I sounded all wrong; 
it should be different, that with him, it would be different. 
‘How’s it supposed to feel then, sir?’ I asked.
He smirked and pulled me in, administering
the Bible-black conviction of his kiss,
the hands-in-hair pulp of his love.
I felt my body pull; my legs go weightless once again.  
He whispered in my ear ‘like this.’

Publishing credits

The Judgment: The Rialto and Kissing Angles

  (Dead Ink Books)

Capitulation: Typhoid August (Poetry Business)

The Garden of Love's Sleep: The White Review

© original authors 2020

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