Invincible Summer |||

The Day of the Dead

Steve Scott

I once read somewhere that Mexican children ate skulls made of sugar during a festival known as “The Day of the Dead”.

Having never fought in a war, or cooked junk, or anything like that I’ve never really looked Death in the face/it must be so cool swallowing a candy replica of the grim reaper, now no longer black-robed, but tarted up in a quilt of flags, with a scythe of peace proposals and phosphorous rain: I offer this song to the faceless butchers who sent out speeches like doves on the rumours of land: I get reminded of the Buddhist burning, bright as a field of daisies/or the child whose legless body says more, leaving language gone limp and draped like a Dali softwatch over the framework of our promises.

I once met a guy who’d scored soap-powder by mistake, shooting it up and living to tell the tale of soap taste and a blue face. He reckoned he’d come through nine, maybe ten cures so far. I kept watch while he loaded up in the back street one weak dawn last June, and now I think of others, going down like plundered galleons, their eyes like sails no longer filled with wind/daily stalking veins/wires to the brain/the body, a howling bucketful of stars/their faces a collection of winters/grey and sleepy, like smoke caught in a projector’s beam.

All this, years after Lenny Bruce took a clear look at us all through language and having no answers, sought some kind of rest behind a morphine OD/I see bodies crumbling into history, the spike flashing like a crusader sword.

I start to think of all the breaking people, heaving their hearts like word-filled bottles into some inky churning sea that growls/spits/twists on the uniform spike of the moon.

I offer this song for us all, floating past each other, chained to a lunatic, milling, ragged profusion of tides.

  In the back of the year, the wind twists like a knife.
  The crimson sun goes down, for an instant veined by branches, the setting mirrored in a thousand jigsaw hearts.
  The sun as red as the Buddhist wrapped in blankets of fire against the cold of our eyes.
  The sun repeats herself like a slow film loop, turning into wine as the sun eases into her,
  the sea deftly climbs the beach
  like an enemy castle wall.

We have built so many walls now, but left so many holes.
  So many of us can be seen through like windows.
  So many windows have been broken.

The mist claims back the land with no ceremony
and only the artillery of a cold wind.
  There is no invasion beyond the sound of breaking glass:
we made the war ourselves,
when there was nothing between us but space, and nothing inside us to fill it with.

  Sometimes I feel this whispered somewhere inside my bones.
You might hear it singing inside your skull and

I once read somewhere that Mexican children ate skulls made of sugar during a festival known as “The Day of the Dead”.