Giles Goodland

Domestic Objects


Summer had up to now seemed harmless but cycling home it is dark, my lamps have no batteries, the barriers are being packed away, the festival is over. Something shimmers towards the feet of the nearby drinkers: it is cigarette-pack cellophane. One of them grabs me and calls me dad. I draw away from him, demurring, but as the lights change I say take care.



This was the sum of all destinations, walls, flex, floor. Windows trembling and the moon scalpelling clouds. No reason that the house would not fall. The bed was a vehicle, and the way I tilted my toes controlled where I was going. If I kept my eyes closed, I could be anywhere. Rocking myself I was aware of the others dreaming their window open and rising up in their sheets, becoming the morning.



I am this, in which sits all that is ready to rise, but not making the effort, thinking out routes across the room, even performing them in thought. I stay awake to see how things will turn, a witness to pushes against sleep. Dark hemispheres calculate events, their map. If you touch them, any two points connect.



Book in the canal, close enough to fish out. The text may be Urdu, with photogravures of turbaned heads. Water turned its pages. It dries in a sun that accords no pages. Nouns flower. A tree sleeps in the wastes of the hand.



The poem is a door. Watch it with trepidation: it is not the writer who opens it. It has no handle, and quite often by the time you see it the poet is dead. It is so thin on some days you can see your finger from the other side, turning. The keyhole is near the floor. If you kneel and squint you see on the other side an eye. In its pupil see yourself. Cram your tongue in and twist. The point is not to open the door, not to have it closed. 



The man next to me is also getting dressed, his glasses make no sense to me, his world is not mine. His face wounds itself by opening, nameless until it speaks. We switch glasses. What’s more our fingers touch, our touch is mutual, failure of mist. My lenses again on their proper nose. I see sharply. I say, I see.

Giles Goodland

Giles Goodland's books include Of Discourse (Grand Iota, 2023), A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001), Capital (Salt, 2006), Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012), and The Masses (Shearsman, 2018). Civil Twilight was published by Parlor Press in 2022. He has worked as a lexicographer, editor, and bookseller, and teaches evening classes on poetry for Oxford University's department of continuing education, and lives in West London. 


Giles Goodland

Giles Goodland's books include Of Discourse (Grand Iota, 2023), A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001), Capital (Salt, 2006), Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012), and The Masses (Shearsman, 2018). Civil Twilight was published by Parlor Press in 2022. He has worked as a lexicographer, editor, and bookseller, and teaches evening classes on poetry for Oxford University's department of continuing education, and lives in West London. 


Twitter: @lexiconoclast

Domestic Objects



Summer had up to now seemed harmless but cycling home it is dark, my lamps have no batteries, the barriers are being packed away, the festival is over. Something shimmers towards the feet of the nearby drinkers: it is cigarette-pack cellophane. One of them grabs me and calls me dad. I draw away from him, demurring, but as the lights change I say take care.



This was the sum of all destinations, walls, flex, floor. Windows trembling and the moon scalpelling clouds. No reason that the house would not fall. The bed was a vehicle, and the way I tilted my toes controlled where I was going. If I kept my eyes closed, I could be anywhere. Rocking myself I was aware of the others dreaming their window open and rising up in their sheets, becoming the morning.



I am this, in which sits all that is ready to rise, but not making the effort, thinking out routes across the room, even performing them in thought. I stay awake to see how things will turn, a witness to pushes against sleep. Dark hemispheres calculate events, their map. If you touch them, any two points connect.



Book in the canal, close enough to fish out. The text may be Urdu, with photogravures of turbaned heads. Water turned its pages. It dries in a sun that accords no pages. Nouns flower. A tree sleeps in the wastes of the hand.



The poem is a door. Watch it with trepidation: it is not the writer who opens it. It has no handle, and quite often by the time you see it the poet is dead. It is so thin on some days you can see your finger from the other side, turning. The keyhole is near the floor. If you kneel and squint you see on the other side an eye. In its pupil see yourself. Cram your tongue in and twist. The point is not to open the door, not to have it closed. 



The man next to me is also getting dressed, his glasses make no sense to me, his world is not mine. His face wounds itself by opening, nameless until it speaks. We switch glasses. What’s more our fingers touch, our touch is mutual, failure of mist. My lenses again on their proper nose. I see sharply. I say, I see.

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