James Peake’s debut collection, Reaction Time of Glass, will be published by Two Rivers Press on 21st July. Below are four poems by James, including, from the book, ‘Marine Snow, Hammersmith’.
Marine Snow, Hammersmith
The flyover this late is less than human, the only evident affection drops from the sodium vapours overhead to the blue ruins they invigilate. Hereabouts so exquisitely drowned that nothing seems altered or sways, glass doesn’t cloud or give, and no one thing self-seeks like submarine oxyacetylene. My home is identical but not the same. I squeeze irrelevant keys, taste familiar dark unstirred by loved ones, my wife, our child, ablaze with sleep. The shadows of unseen fish dislodge from the roof.
A Berlin Evening
Other early lights on, higher or lower, in the block the side of Yorckstrasse I can see, a pendant passed beneath by a man called to hidden rooms, or the short timer for a legible landing, uplighter on full for a team meeting, all of whom gesture like TV presenters - that sense of permanent audience - taking broadcast turns to speak, one after the other bar one, a listener, who rubs eyes to reveal, what? Earthbound stars, unreachable fires on a neighbouring mountain.
Withheld rain darkens like fruit, curls white light to a filament about to pop from the heat. That stubborn puddle registers our underworld of exaggerated colour, holds in trust the glowing sheer of a freshly risen high-rise and a single forgotten window.
The entrance is not at the end of the tunnel but appears once the tunnel has turned. This takes some of the punch out of the blast, or would. Cables run alongside arrivals, in slow accord, easeful rhythm. The acoustics just so much luck. A further slope to double doors, like a theatre’s, hardly staying closed, keeping in top range noise and shirtless dancers, letting out primary colours and bass so heavy it promotes you into your body.