The Thing Waking fully, what it was was a thing, a black tentacled thing, coming at me, smothering me. Its eyes pooled into me, spider-like, legion. It moved through a metamorphosis: fog to the blackest octopus. I fought it off -- wrestled, sparred with it, used aikido techniques; still the thing charged, inky incubus, untangling itself on the sheets. It came again and I fought it. I thumped it, punched it, threw it across the room where it landed on the clothes-maid. It wriggled there for a moment like some eels, tentacles dangling. Again it came, kamikaze, flying at me, arms spread, star-shaped. Its breath the whiff of a fly infested seal, its face a crab’s back happy accident. Appendages wormed around my wrists. It wanted, I think, to be swallowed, sink down my esophagus, multiply in my nourishing insides. I pushed off its mandibles. It wanted my lips, my tongue, to be complete; a zygote in every cell, insidiously, unbeating, reaching like a rhizome under flesh. I gave an almighty heave, let out a scream, bashed it against the wall. Some gunk spewed out an orifice. It must have caught sight of itself in the window glass. Only a candle to glint its shine and filth. It saw itself: just a thing, as nothing, monstrous. It vomited upon seeing itself -- then puff, plumed back into amorphousness. ‘For now,’ I said, ‘I’ve won.’ The room listened, played mute witness. Inside the body’s catacombs it sleeps like an angel.
The Bungalow It started with the word glaucoma, a tunnel, a card game, a question on the queen of diamonds and the jack of hearts. It ended with a smudge of grey through glass, and mother winding her way down your path, the uncut grass, her legs through the fence; a bouquet, freesias I think, handed back. Me in the car, I wasn’t meant to see you. You, your hair white, frizzed, albino-like. Like you, partial sight, as mother’s coat eclipsed you, in your bungalow, a crypt, once home of karaoke, endless toast and jam. I tried to convince you the queen of diamonds could be confused for the jack of hearts. I lied; and in your eyes I saw you see right through me, white lies beyond my years. Forsaken by Christ, your box of psalms were no longer read; they festered in your dresser. I too, in time, left you in your rocking chair, the vestibule. By your side a wireless, dead-eyed, distant, limbs thin, slumped with static and fuzz. Only in dreams came the transmissions: your brain, demented through lead in your pipes, the hum of pylons above. Then the amnesia-white of your walls, the traces in those spaces you’d vacated. All false teeth and playing cards, divvied up by uncles and aunts, and by mother too. She kept a box of morbid souvenirs. She talked of grandpa, only later, dragging you from room to room.
Bio: Patrick Wright has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His poems have been published in several magazines, most recently Agenda, Poetry London and Iota. He teaches Creative Writing at the Open University.