Andrew Nightingale



a glass jar is falling through an elastic moment of stupefaction
hits a wooden table shatters dried split peas splashing a nebula
of smudged points in which the woman from the film
sees a road and an alpine lake the back
of a blue-painted woman walking up to her waist there's snow
in the sky that wakes the rooks by the table
an old man with stained chestnut fingers
looks at the broken glass balancing his chin on hands
resting on the end of his propped stick he opens his mouth
closes it swallows phlegm a tongue like bark he says
when will it stop as if to his own vision in the patterns of peas
there are choral voices a requiem the woman
is up to her neck shirt ballooning water
fills absentmindedly playing with peas sorting piles a child
forms letters on the wooden table then looking at the old man
for praise coughs water covers her head
in an unseen space a crowded bar drinking coffee
he says I must go she says I know she stands apart
in a spotlight on the bar-top a child
in a sequinned showman's suit tap dances twirling a black cane and glitter
rains down on the bar cleaning shards of glass
from the table a woman's hand is cut


close to the embers of a fire muffled speech
a woman what she is saying can't be made out her speech
is ritualised organ music an epithalamium
swelling through gothic vaults blanked by an explosion on a desert island
it blossoms like ink dropped in water an old man
sitting to slowly tie shoelaces in a grey morning suit with birdsong
the sigh of blankets folded back on vacant warmth
a quail rests on an ornate empty throne pages
of calligraphy lie shuffled on the soaking marble tiles
steam begins to spout from an unwatched cast-iron kettle and dripping clothes
wait beside a mangle in the video clip the woman
is dressed in a smart suit tied up lying on her side on the tiles
wet with spilled black ink where the naked old man stands holding a bread knife
the crusty white loaf folds open the knife halting on the wooden board
honey and butter arranged by the plate
a woman holds the kettle with a rag
calling into another room and her call moves through the walls
loitering in a copse of wintry trees a child
runs between the trunks stops her hands cupped in front full of acorns
she's laughing throws them in the air and they fall around her feet a meeting
after lunch for business a chart
projected stewed filter coffee teeth marks on a polystyrene cup


a man in a tracksuit is holding a knife
on the throat of a woman he's pressed up to a brick wall
unhurried movement he pulls away her necklace breaks landing in rainwater
on the pavement cut stones submerge in oil rainbows
she says this is the place and the knife falls bounces shattering reflections
theatre lights a door is heard slamming bolted from the inside
the needle controlled by a machine withdraws from an animal cell
in footage playing for a group of scientists under torchlight
the last of the sand is delicately brushed away human bones a hand
holds oxidised jewellery looking out from under the bed at feet
the shoes of her parents the child
listens to the discussion that assumes she's not there
but knows she is a second child's voice
whispering it's a game then disappearance a smell
springs under the bed creak the weight
in a brightly lit toilet cubicle in a club with thumping music
a young woman kneels vomiting over and over a row of five
white children's coffins a formation of military aircraft
break across the sky there's tracer fire night-vision green then darkness
a reddened sycamore leaf is falling slower than possible in a memory
folk music fiddle and concertina
the leaf comes to rest on a disused track in the mountains


rainwater gulping in a drain on the edge
of the road wires where they attach to a telegraph pole
lead to a public phone starting to ring it stops the water has stopped and the whine
is high-pitched scraping a furnace pours a white-hot run of steel
a shower of sparks against the night sky
kneeling on the office carpet clutching her belly a woman
leans forward the fluorescent lights flicker three businessmen
pass deep in consultation they don't notice her in a burst of white noise
a face black with spilt ink and crude oil
slick smears on her cheeks and cymbals bruised cymbals
the air a coral cavern of frescoed sunset
lights go out spitting replaced by a red glow coming from her skin
translucent arms stretching wide to either side the water
flooding the drain again clogged leaves one note
played on a piano repeating as if falling backwards the scene
expands on a centred halo the dirty hole choked with glitter
fully extended a nimbus becomes visible angels saints flutes
materialising she stands clothed in thin copper hoops head to toe
an old man dies in his armchair and isn't found for a week