House by Penny Jane Goring

[House by Penny Jane Goring appears in the Year Zero anthology ‘Thirteen Shadows Waiting For Sunrise’ which is available as a free download HERE]

House, you’re just as I left you: crouching on your haunches, lit by a scabrous moon, sheltering the child who squats in your basement amongst the skittering rats, seagulls swooping at your unflinching eyes, the rose gardens splaying before you, flanked by Queen Victoria, cast stolidly in iron, footprints leading from her plinth across to the bellowing sea. It heaves in indigo and molten silvers along the beach made of beer cans, syringes and shifting mounds of pebbles – all serenading you.

I’m walking through your front door. Its unhinged as ever, swinging from its rotted frame. I know where your traps and dead-ends are lurking, my feet find their way in the hissing darkness, up the narrow staircase – a twisted, throbbing space. Your walls squeeze my hips, keeping me upright, propelling me forwards: I’m a bolus stuck in your windpipe.  

You regurgitate me into your uppermost chambers, where I once existed at such a shrill pitch, clutching thin air astride a storm-tossing merman, on the surge and swell of these small rooms, beneath your groaning rafters.

Three steps to the mouldering cupboard that hoards my vital part. It’s still hanging in there where I stashed it, but you’ve been pumping it hard. It’s warped and blistered now, the cords I criss-crossed and knotted willy-nilly are blackened and deeply embedded. Gripping my sharpened scissors, I snip the ties that bind me, carefully, one by one. Livid scars are revealed and suppurating ruts – I’ll lick these wounds and wear them, they’ll form a carapace: battle honed armour. I sever the last remaining thread and my treasure thuds into my palms.

House, you’re crashing towards me, flooding from your doorways: a deluge of broken things. But I’ve got what I came for, now let me out.

~ by yearzerowriters on April 29, 2010.

5 Responses to “House by Penny Jane Goring”

  1. This is how I like my poetry, these days.

  2. This is such a perfect little piece – carrying so much weight in so short a space, and I love the imagery of ‘my vital part’ of living at a ‘shrill pitch.’ Language of ‘unhinged’ the sense of a place rotted from the inside out, the need to be free of it – so palpable and strange. Love this.


  3. I’ve heard of haunted houses, but this is another matter.

    There are so many ways you can read this. The imagery and metaphors are all liquid. The meanings run into each other along associative paths. What a dream house.

  4. thanks

  5. This is such a strong piece of writing. I remember reading it the first time thinking that the imagery was strong and perfect, yet so easy to grasp.

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