A Few Older Poems - Poetry by Leslie Nutting (Xorys)

Chess To win I must play chess, I must hold myself tightly in my mind and move obliquely, like a knight. You are honest. I must appear to want nothing. Happiness may come suddenly out of the bones, like checkmate
Manoeuvres You and I are knights cased in our armour. Or members of some extinct species, plated up to the eyelids, lumbering together in some imaginary world. We don't mean to do it. Each arm lifted is a metal sentence. Each syllable an edge that sinks. The furniture shatters around us. Each idea of contact becomes a devastation. The walls are down around us. The city starts to break. Still we lurch for embrace.
Eating Left alone I eat the heart out of the fridge. I munch through the raspberries, and the yoghurt, and the ryebread, and yesterday's cold fondue. A sort of combined sin and penance. When everything is gone, I contemplate the empty compartment, as though the innocence I had produced were mine. You taught me moderation in all things, but left me hungry, left me eating myself to death.
In Different Countries We share an illusion of being in the same place. And after all, we touch each other. I hear your words, and think I understand their meaning. But your maps are different. I watch you sleeping and understand the way our landscapes opened into each other at a point, like siamese twins. And how, travelling together, we suddenly find ourselves in different countries.
Reproach the Sorcerer You should have left me poor, riches are dangerous. The colours that you show too bright for life. Calmly, you walk out of the door. Leaving me sustenance on which I starve. Poetry which is black and white.
Cinders Revisited Cinderella, slipper -less, slipped away at midnight from the ball, as she, of course, was cued to do, as first, at least, it seemed, to rags and ashes. But there are, in fact, more ways than that to split the coop. And as time passes she becomes ambivalent towards that magic, that departure. So now, perhaps, if some slipper-fitting Prince should come to call, she might be less na´ve, less than ecstatic having had too many nightmares out of which she woke sweating and screaming to get out of the glass palace.

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