Geraldine Green
 

Geraldine Green has two collections, The Skin and Passio, (Flarestack Publications). She has performed widely in the UK and US, as well as Greece and Italy, in venues as diverse as libraries, pubs, cafes, an island and rooftops. She has read at Poetry on the Lake Festival, Orta, Italy; Jazz Clubs in New York City; International Women’s Arts Festival, Kendal, Apples and Snakes North West & South West; Colony Café, Woodstock; Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea; Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere; River to River Festival, Hudson Valley; Bowery Poetry Club, NYC; Kurt Schwitters’ Celebration, Ambleside; Solfest Cumbria and the Woody Guthrie Festival, Oklahoma.

Geraldine is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University; teaches at the University of Cumbria; organises poetry readings; is an Associate Editor of online magazine Poetrybay, www.poetrybay.com  and Associate Editor (UK) for Poetryvlog, www.poetryvlog.com 

More info can be found on www.poetrypf.co.uk

She lives in Cumbria, NW UK, happy among sheep muck and rain!

 
 
The poem Passio, below, is from the collection of the same title (Passio), published by Flarestack Publications, editor Charles Johnson, ISBN No. 1 900397 90 0
 



 
 

PASSIO

 

I

 

From this station I see a wildness of sugar

and green-crossed shutters

 

sweet as nightingales burning in forests,

shaded blue of diamonds on water

 

a hot, dancing whore with promise of succour

 

II

 

when a pine compromises the ocean 

with hair of a woman and teeth of a minotaur

 

with sugar-cubed offerings of rooftops and swallows

tonguing beauties and ants on balconies.

 

A harbour lies like a woman's thigh

with boats moored against strong limbs of land.

 

III

 

Skiathos, with your cigarette ends and bins

and your succulents battling with Archangels and Moses.

 

Ela ela lama sabacthani!

 

Your aerials of electric goodness and rapid voices

pick their way through groves of oysters.

 

Dionysos sits laughing on top of the clocktower,

his hands haul the bells of the hours that haunt.

 

IV

 

With oleander beside me and Thanatos before me

a surge beneath and a belief in hunger and hope.

 

Pines are not pines here on this island,

cicadas are not crickets, but a calling of madness

that licks the land like a cat in the morning.

 

 

Your white-tongued ships

slip into the Aegean

like a lover's tongue easily sipping

the juice of his honey

like a bed in the sea and a fish and a moment

and a cranking of chains and Poseidon is calling

 

my god Thanatos

my god Eros.

 

In pink confetti and bins overflowing

in the soft slip-slop of sandals and moorings

in the slow, sway of gulls following behind me

waiting to pick at my bones and my eyes.

I have touched the ice beneath the heat

of this island that will always haunt me

in its lamplight and flowers dried grass

shrivelled life in a land like a woman's

hazed-blue gown of evening.

In Dimitrios' hand on the tiller of my soul

I cry for the armies that meet inside me

like a mad dog howling as it snaps at the ocean

 

V

 

under the composition of pines

under the limbs of gods

beside a pebbled beach

like toasted marshmallows

where sewage and rose petals

float into the water.

 

In the distance a man lies on a cloud

 

in the distance

a bird

an aerial

whitewashed houses

blue shutters

shades

silhouettes

dogs

gulls

boys

tourists

Ela! Ela! Yassou, yassou!

 

In the insistent burn of the engines of gods

that a man sometimes touches when he raises a woman

from his hand in a moment of madness

blue heat becomes a blanket of silence that breathes

beneath the incessant cries of

Mali Achillea!

and the walled-chimes of bells that call to the sky

to cool

cool down

cool cool down

cool cool down

down

down

 

VI

 

doves croon their own song of evening

one answers

one questions

the gratings of geraniums

the notices and orange lotus'd boats.

 

A man on a bench wears black. Reads a book. Looks up for his rose. She is there, I want to tell him, but am afraid to disturb his longing. It would only offend. An offering to a stranger must be given with caution.

 

There is a wash of walled sea, here. There is a soothing breath that comes from the pines.

 

My mouth tastes itself. It has not forgotten the madness of the west. It cannot forget the taste of burnt saints.

 

 A white umbrella against a blue table waits for rain.

 

VII

 

Now I am at the level of succulents

my body is Cleopatra's aloes --

a dangerous place this!

A temptation of sap and spines.

 

A long, row of white rocks point like the finger of a ghost

whose knuckles have calcified with salt.

 

This finger will never scratch its left arm.

This finger will never point at the sun.

This finger is frozen by heat and melons.

This finger is a line of sugar cubes, piled by the hands of a god crazed

with gripping his mind.

This thumb blocks out the sun.

 

Apollo is setting behind me. The night owls of Skiathos will soon surround me.

 

In a slow wave of squid-inked blue the heat refuses to go.

 

There are warnings here, nailed like drops of blood cut from a child's finger. Rubies trapped in white-ironed railings.

 

They are there to prevent an accident of fate when a pilot is Ouzo'd and a man steers his small vessel home with his unerring foot.

 

VIII

 

Oatgrasses scratch my back.

If I was a horse I would turn and graze

 

instead I sit writing words

my pen an extension of my body

 

as though, a woman, I have grown a penis.

 

A small boat tugs at its moorings, like a dog hungry for freedom.

 

There is a scaled-down ecstasy of peace here

(if only I can avoid the ants)

(if only I can resist parentheses)

 

a pine

stands

red

paint

crosses itself

down

its long

side

 

tongues of aloe vera

whose juice heals

burns

pierce the sky.

 

A wastepaper bin designed to look in place

a boy kick-boxes an aloe vera leaf

a van collects waste

on the calcified finger

 

my back is still scratched.

 

IX

 

Nine is a fig tree.

Nine is not there

it is here.

Nine is a configuration of hands

holding unripe figs

green as a boy's new fallen balls.

 

Through the fig's fingered leaves a glimpse of boats.

To the right, a small yellow broom grows from the rock

a young girl's hair

her head thrown back to the Aegean like a broken melon.

The tongue of God licks the land in the saliva of his sea.

 

X

 

Here is a forked tree

the oleander's pink talks to me.

                                                                    

Is the design of plants in the pattern of humans?

 

Boats thread through small islands

eager to be in a wider ocean.

 

I am no longer green amber.

I am no longer in the land of a crazed god.

 

I do not feel the forsaken terror of heat.

The sun no longer tears at my back like a lion

evening slips into me like a lover.

 

XI

 

I am nearly home now

in the fierce shape of aloes.

I am a reminder of the shyness of swans

aloes would not grow without my voice.

 

I am almost home.

I can feel it in the soft wash of foam.

I can taste it in the cappucino of your mouth.

I can see it in the dance of Syrtaki'd pines

who stand naked under stars

listening to tourists.

 

I can hear it in the music Zeus has chosen

to play on his juke box.

 

There are nights in white satin waiting

if I can believe in a Twelfth Station

here on this island.

 

XII

 

The boat remains

the small bay of laughter

tongue of a tower

in the Cafeneion beside me a song is ending

and I love you.

 

A hand rises beneath me as the land does the ocean

and if I never return to this island of shadows

I will remember the agony of sunshine

and the long, slow drop of honey drunk from the thread of wild woodbine.




Copyright © 2010 Geraldine Green