Saturday, February 1, 2014

Still Life by Clare Pollard

Clare Pollard - her original collection of poems (of which this is one) was written whilst she was still at school (!)
Tomatoes and a pewter tankard on a table, Paul Gauguin, 1883

by clare pollard

i have taken up painting since i fell in love with you,
as my hands were quite desperate for something to do.

Still lifes mainly, as it makes me impossibly grateful
to gaze on something beauitful until my eyes are full -

you always run from me whilst I'm hungry to stare.
It's a common misconception that there's just fruit there;

no, my canvases are laden with longing and lust.
Desire aches a gloss of sweat into the oil-paint crust.

At first plums were nipples full of gold milk; ripe and ready,
my apples were firm and smooth, that heady

fertiliser taste clutching their skin, sour and strong -
as chemical as my make up would taste to your tongue.

Oranges promised a sharp, delicious bite
and then juice gushing out like a cry in the night.

When you started dating her I drew spat-out pips,
the poisonous berries that grew around her hips.

I daubed maggots in the core of each pink cherry,
they squirmed out from the heart of every strawberry.

In art class I was told I'd lost all sense of perspective;
my slit-split skinned pears were no longer objective.

I stopped sleeping, began to sit up all night and paint
my fetid black bananas, melons swollen and faint,

and those peeled grapes, silver as your blind eyes.
Are you allergic?  Am I crawling with fruit fly?

Without even tasting me, how is it fair to refuse?
Did no one tell you that once you've inflicted a bruise,

all the flesh around the hurt goes rotten brown?

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