Gaia Holmes: Four Poems

The Glass House
Gaia Holmes

Winter has sucked the landscape
back to black and white
but in the glass house
the world is plump and curved,
full of juice and spectrums.
We sit on the edge
of the savage garden
where tropical flowers
shred the light with their teeth.
The steamy scent
of sap and green life
soaks through our coats
and makes us sweat.
In here, nothing is subtle.
Hungry probosci leer
and lick the balmy air.
Colours pulse, drip and dazzle.
Petals do not drift or whisper,
they drop onto the dirt
with a succulent thud:
He loves me, he loves me not.
Later I will remember
the liquid names of plants
that kill with sweetness:
Nepenthes, Pinguicula, Saracenia.
I will think of those gentle Latin nouns
turning into sensuous verbs
and I will think of him,
his shy soapstone fingers
turning into claws.
Cinematic Snow
Gaia Holmes
This isn’t matinee snow.
This stuff is mean and crusty.
It sticks in your throat
like goosedown and cuttlebone.
It tricks you into slipping.
After five days
snowmen have morphed
into devils,
hardened with a skin of ice
their heads are frozen missiles,
their fat graying bellies
are wrecking-balls
that could crush a small cottage
or flatten a cat.
Matinee snow is gentle.
It shimmers on eyelashes.
It twinkles in beards
like chips of mica.
It is lovingly kissed
off lips and noses
and bluing fingertips.
Matinee snow inspires the thoughtful
to visit the needy
bearing steaming jugs of custard
and bowls of winter crumble
wrapped in tea-towels.
This isn’t matinee snow.
It’s the kind of snow
that makes the lonely even lonelier,
the kind of snow that will not soften
enemies or silence,
the kind of snow that makes you think
of cracks, knives and lies
and all the dangerous things
in the world.
Gaia Holmes

I wanted to cheer you up
with a joke
but the chicken
got mashed by a truck
as it crossed the road,
the three psychiatrists
were blinded
by exploding glass
as they tried to change
a lightbulb
and the horse
got coshed, hung
and carved into steaks
after ordering a beer
in the bar.
I wanted to cheer you up
with a joke
but my punchline
is all knuckle and no flesh.
My punchline is
that I love you
and for once
I tell you
in the right order
and at the right moment
but you are neither
comforted, moved
nor amused.
Back To Beige
Gaia Holmes
You have to have lived a little
before you settle into a placid pastel life.
You have to have crossed the road
when the red man’s glowing,
eaten Christmas cake in June,
sparked, burned and blown
before you bin your midnight dresses
and your winkle-picker boots.
You have to have died a little
before you know what it’s like to shine:
gorged on colour before you settle for beige.
You have to have slept naked on a beach
wearing the moonlight as an eiderdown,
you have to have chosen love over money
and starved.
You have to have gone out for dinner
with your demons, dined on your vices
and mopped up the juices
with sin-eater’s bread
before you put your life
into the hands of faultless angels,
before you let ambition
quietly pad out through the cat-flap,
before you give yourself over
to fate.
Visit Gaia’s Comma Press author page.
Read Dee Rimbaud’s interview with Gaia.
Listen to Gaia’s poems at PoetCasting.

2 thoughts on “Gaia Holmes: Four Poems

  1. Julie

    Big applause for Gaia Holmes! I love the interview. Gaia’s personality shines through, and that is, in my opinion, a component of a good interview. But most of all, I love her poetry. All of these poems are wonderful. I’m particularly drawn to the dangerous beauty of “The Glass House” and the power of “Punchline.” I love her voice. Excellent work!

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