On lucidity

Often theatrical skills aren’t as valued as methodical ones

& as our spending on apparel declines, retailers claim

it’s the fault of the weather – tonight, it’s broiling & the drying

will take as long as it took for me to be discarded, informally –

yet as potently as detergent pouring into all entry points.

There are two sheer gowns in the washing machine.

I lift the lid of the top-loader & drape the dresses over

my forearms to carry them toward my foldable clotheshorse

set up on the balcony concrete – its stainless steel legs & rods

held together with plastic hooks. I’ve washed the gowns as I plan

on wearing them again with times & locations unknown.

Pleasure shouldn’t come from accuracy, neither should value.

My approach to the horse forces a fly into the air & it vanishes

above the balcony railing. If only I too could abandon this dimly

lit tragedy. The gowns leave my hands & forearms damp –

I savour this mutual attraction as I tender each gown

over the top tiers of the horse. I think about the word lucidity

& can’t accept that it doesn’t refer to gushing liquids. I want

to hand-wash myself with the gowns in a plastic bucket of cold

water to avoid the tremors of any machine. This might sound

severe but it’s a desire & doesn’t this conjure a kind of warmth?

I’m skirting fragile textures – it’s a mesh with many situated

beginnings. I want to make it a feeling, give it the depth

of an open palm – no matter how it might callous. I stand

beside my horse & it doesn’t buck, never throws me off.

As long as I’m indebted to this scene – in full mesh I’ll gallop.






Autumn Royal

Autumn Royal is a poet, researcher and teacher. Autumn is interviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review, the founding editor of Liquid Architecture’s Disclaimer journal and author of the poetry collection She Woke & Rose. Autumn’s second collection of poetry is forthcoming with Giramondo.

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