Still Life of the Ironing Pile as a White Rhino
It emits a disgruntled air
as I keep a respectful distance
pretending to ignore it.
A rugged look of something
used to just standing there
dreaming of acacia leaves,
creases worn so deep
they concertina up like worry lines.
Of course white rhinos
are only white when a full moon
washes the savannah.
On days like this they glower
dust-baked grey, shades
of school vests and stretched elastic.
And black rhinos
are not black at all. They lurk
in airing cupboards
bleached out, faded, over-wrung,
proving the rule
all things converge to grey.
Casting a wary glance
I take a slow step or two
from this brooding hulk
of household chores.
Although sometimes I dream
the hot hoof of an iron,
want its snorting steam
to smooth the tired folds
in heavy legs, ease out the ache
of all those lonely sleeves,
before it is too late.
Emma Simon has published two pamphlets: Dragonish (The Emma Press, 2017) and The Odds (Smith|Doorstop, 2020) which was a winner in the Poetry Business’s International Pamphlet and Book competition. She was been widely published in magazines and anthologies and last year won both the YorkMix Poetry Prize and the Live Canon International Prize. She has previously won the Ver Poets and Prole Laureate prizes. She works in London as a part-time journalist and copywriter.
We’re the uncounted ones, grazing
ever expanding fields of dark matter
night after night.
Woolly ruminants. We chew the cud
of dreams, regurgitate all sense and logic
within our various stomachs.
Lozenge-like eyes that slowly blink.
Fleeces nebulous as vapour in a cloud,
our knees are pretty springy.
Sheep merges into sheep, huddled
in sleepless flocks through sleet, through fog.
Always on the verge of being lost.
We follow one another over fences,
wave after wave of us, sub particles
of imagination, waiting to be discovered.
Emma Simon’s has written two pamphlets, Dragonish, which was published by The Emma Press in 2017, and The Odds, which will be published by Smith Doorstop in early 2020. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines and she has won both the Prole Laureate and Ver Poets prize.
She can be found @SimpleSimonEmma on Twitter
With only a few apologies to Robert Browning
Here’s David Beckham, looking as if he were alive.
The breathing slow and metrical, that steady rise
and fall of his stupendous chest. Caught on film,
spooled day and night inside this darkened room
for us selected few — the women who appreciate
a perfect nude, swooned in Egyptian cotton sheets.
Though quite untouchable. Still, it works both ways.
He will not raise a hand nor undermine a word you say,
open an eye to find your body wanting —
he’ll just sleep on, indefinitely, the gothic font
of each tattoo rippling the light like animated ink.
An artwork on an artwork, or so I like to think.
These days, who doesn’t want to play post-gender
post-identity games? Some call the piece a wonder
now: no thrusting David lording it from his pedestal,
but here in bed, supine, surrendered, vulnerable.
You noticed, no doubt — smart women always do —
my use of the conditional subjunctive. It’s true,
his whereabouts are not now known. Sam Taylor-Wood
could have explained, but why should an artist stoop
to deny claims that suspected murder was a ruse
to inflate a portrait’s worth? As you know, she chooses
never to stoop. It soon became a viral trend: so many men
caught sleeping. Their dreamy half-smiles frozen
for all eternity — a crying shame so few smiled half
as charmingly when wide awake. The photographs
and phone footage quickly multiplied. It was claimed
some disappeared, leaving just these silent bodies framed,
seemingly alive, yet not alive. Some have objected
to galleries displaying these ‘spots of joy’ I have collected.
Such trifling complaints! — from those quick to find fault or blame,
their passions, like their anger, all too easily inflamed.
Besides, a comic slant on the male form informs our view.
Well-read critics — which I am not — claim none of this is new.
At least their names remain. Titles that have tumbled down
the centuries, appended now to objets d’art. And owned.
Projected onto pink-washed walls, pleasing backdrops
for soirees hosted by bad feminists like me. A step up
from chichi dinner parties served on Judy Chicago plates.
It’s almost time to leave. Cocktails will be served at eight.
But as we head downstairs, listen out for Artemis,
our new sound installation, fresh from the Venice
Biennale. You can just detect the baying hounds
beneath the unchecked roar of laughter echoing around.
Emma Simon has written two pamphlets, Dragonish, which was published by The Emma Press in 2017, and The Odds, which will be published by Smith Doorstop in early 2020. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines and she has won both the Prole Laureate and Ver Poets prize.
She can be found @SimpleSimonEmma on Twitter