Ice Dance

We are time-poor cash average jumble sailors walking uncertainly
in the shining wake of S Class cruisers’ wheel ruts
A woman with a radiator under each arm is spinning
Uncontrollable on a random iceflow caused by somebody
who thought that boiling water might help three hours ago

God walkers droving their unwilling masters forward
across fishbelly moraines of freezefoot waste shiver
Their godshit stains pristine glaciers with their word
where the drinking congregation picks cards and mouth prayers

An ironic Iceland van with ‘vegan’ on the back sits abandoned
in three inches of snow, joined by another from Morrison’s
displaying plump roast flesh with all the trimmings
and a table full of plastic packed crackers
waiting to be shared between Brexit riven relatives

Their drivers lost on the suburban glacier meet tearfully
and strike up a spirited rendition of Torvill & Dean’s Bolero routine
Laszlo dragging Gary gracefully through the black slush along the bus route
before taking him confidently into a hold, raising him to the skies as an offering

The horizon is a round and frosted cake
that I stab at from 2 miles away with a massive fork I found in a skip
in order to gorge on imaginary dried fruits soused in brandy
My dizzying hunger forces me to go full Bambi
smashing my knee on discarded white goods hidden in a drift
Shivering chip shop trash cat lapping at my blood
The queue for A&E starts across the road
monitored by a gladding live tweeting local MP
who comes to check on my progress smiling all the while
She watches me heal of my own accord, checking my immigration status
with the Home Office on her retro Blackberry

Blackberry, black cherry Coke, pour some cheap rum in it for warmth
Black ice, this hunger, this dance across low sun English tundra
Standing dutiful in fealty at the spin of wheels overcooking on glacé corners
Could have walked, could have been standing where I stand
Black humour, thin ice abyssal, a precariat red bill deep waiting  
to lose our feet if we become complacent in our walking

We slip, we fall, and call for help that maybe comes, maybe doesn’t
Sinking slow beneath the surface to join with the fossil record    
When the sun rises more and the snows melt and the cars return
when we are forced from our desire lines
back to the uneven safety of the pavement
there will still be black ice waiting…



Barry Fentiman Hall




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