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Neil Gregory

“and then, I hear it”
after William Stafford

Listen: it is your voice,
calling back and forward,
run into my head
by a digital stream
I’d like to imagine
you stooping over,
bleeding into.
It’s just noise; there
are bones in me, trembling
under the weight
of your pebble cadences,
fracturing into phonemes
that clop and chew my senses
on dark nights and dark roads
when coyote yips
carry my throat
into unmarked distances
of fir tops, creaking
under new snow,
too raw for tyre tracks –
placeless, all-over sounds
falling and falling –
lifetimes of insects
stiffening in sharp
grass, canyons of bark,
the cleat treads
of stumbling feet
that grew lost.


Deprivation Tank

questions leave you stranded                         dip your fingers                           if you want to get the gist
of refraction                        to understand how light lies                               immerse yourself in negative
space                      you’ll feel your topography                         recognise the elevation of your skin
you’ll understand that depth                           close your lids                         needn’t be charged
with so much authority                                 you can’t plumb the bed of a thought                           can’t
measure the ends to its disturbances                             it’s the ping of a voice                               push it
from your head                           it will chain-react                        relocate itself in echoes
like you the ripples                        stop and don’t                         memory’s the same
breathe                           concentrics overlapping                          interfering                         rebounding
through chambers                         not so different                              from the impact of a footstep
from insides bubbling to air                               listen                            there’s been a change
of current                          you might be standing up                                casting noise across the surface
you might be inside-out                             fathoms from home                             for all
you know                     you are gravity


Space Jump

He doesn’t watch
the live stream,
just lies back,
the whole world
at his feet,
trying to make sense
of all the lights
he can’t see.
At such altitude,
up and down
switch places.
A nod to posterity,
then the voice
of god, telling him
it’s pancreatic—
and that’s all
the sound that catches
as he drops,
from over 120,000 feet,
to the thinness
of a hospital mattress.

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