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Steve Spence - Four Poems

Steve Spence

Reaching the Marrow

As ocean temperatures rise, sharks

may shift territories to follow their

prey. “We live today in a far noisier

world than most of us realise,” he said.


In one of the buildings we found

strange writings on the wall but

this secret facility is now a waste-

land. “I never get involved in politics,”


she said. This entire canvas is so densely

worked that it bubbles. It’s been a while

since we’ve been able to turn to the natural

world for reassurance but here we have the


plastic, warming seas. To eat, these

birds harass other birds while they

are flying. When the air-raid sirens

whirr through the birdsong, nobody


takes much notice any more. “He loves,

dust, especially dust on a mirror,” she said.




Making a Statement


For the moment let us reconnect with

an earlier thought. “We’re a public service

here, not pick and mix,” he said. Do you

know the words to A Drunken Sailor? Here


we have a carnivorous parrot with a

penchant for rubber. “Your silence is

eloquent,” she said. We may still have

to call for backup but how I love the sound


of running water and we ought to just

go with the flow. Is it possible to pursue

economic growth in a way that doesn’t

make things worse for the planet? “Death


during air strikes is becoming part of

everyday life,” he said. You can’t write

these things on paper but the surviving

signage suggests a dirty history. In ritual


magic, spells are usually complex, arduous

and expensive to perform.





Exploring the Transition


There is room for everyone to

explore these traditions. “Sometimes

I wish I could just be a banjo player,”

she said. Yet the court is about to


resume its deliberations and what’s

important here is what lies beneath.

“You can’t write these things on paper

any more,” he said. If you spend too


much time with conspiracy theorists

you might end up believing them.

“There was an incident last night,”

she said. Rivers and reservoirs remain


low but there is also a risk of flash

flooding. Suddenly we are flying between

peaks, sharing the sky with wisps of cloud.

“None of us have the faintest idea of where


we are headed,” she said. What remains

important here is what lies beneath.






A Slice of Cake


Let’s see if we can get someone out

into the open. There’s always something

tantalising about a ‘vanished’ film but

the country remains on a war footing.


“It’s the same model but the rewind

has broken,” he said. The areas that

remain in shadow are painted closely

in pink, green and mauve. Bodies of


dead civilians have been lying unburied

for months. That’s a hard one to follow

but those who have lived the past see it

differently to those who have researched it.


“An exhibition of money defaced in

the name of art will open later this

year,” he said. Addiction is often tied

to poverty but closed borders do little


to disrupt supplies. “We deserve this

circus as it’s what we voted for,” she said.     




Copyright © Steve Spence, 2022


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