Iain Britton: from the VIGNETTES

  Iain Britton

  The Believers

  JPR 08

  the dancer

the garment obscures her brown eyes

soft lips | she dances | rhythmic & alert

distant | the green paddock is

an all-comers’ stage | the green


paddock seizes the woman | her

perfection of balance | she dances

no one notices the red sunlight fading

from the forest | shuffling its routines

  the honeyeater

faith is difficult | laboured | pedestrian

rarely extolled | a plunge into dark

spaces | the nomadic lifer has parked

his dishevelled self outside the mission


wall | he recalls the stiffening of passers-by

the lost connections | the vocal deposits

of journeying diaries | he eats honey only

the game’s bragging sweetener

  the believers

people listen | twin concrete

philosophies scrape dust

off clouds | neon fables flicker

people listen & days count down


for news that sticks | as if expecting

something to happen | informed efforts

by collaborative believers

collect fake relics for the burning

  the pugilist

faces are altered | effigies of enemies

bruised | rebuilt | his helmeted head

is worn against the earth’s

falling masonry | loosened by


uncertainty | turmoil of family

inescapable affinities clash | a

kinship’s glass dome shadowboxes

amongst a sundial’s furniture

  the mayor’s wife

from mirrors | she emerges to jagged peaks

on the sea’s basaltic rim | a kaleidoscopic blur

dives into morning colours

created for the occasion | fingernails


cut loose on half-blooded moons | she

gesticulates a competitiveness | guests

are created | reinvigorated | her mirrors flash

on & off a parade of iconic transparencies

  the naked wrestler

a flurry of wingbeats flogs his back

he feels an archangel’s vengeance

the kiss of her beak hardening his veins

a frenetic engagement | her hunger | his


muscled recalcitrance | the ground

accommodates this version

of a clamped-together divinity

the wrestler peels off her soft armour

  the starman’s daughter

diadem-packed | the girl swallows selected

lumps of the universe | he loves how

she filters shadows through holes in his visor

how expertly she licks her silver spoon clean


her tongue tasting new harmonies | enigmas

new astral orders | he loves her feeling

for his facial cracks | the ones getting wider

brighter | but more difficult to conceal

  the grass whisperer

amongst the plum’s skinny stripped girders

when the mist is frosting | & white animals

roam the earth | his voice is calmest

is visible & steaming blue syllables | he


pouts his lips into the deeply flabbed ridges

of his friend’s ear | a living gargoyle bent

into the iron of a gate | his friend calmly

crouches & pulls hungrily at the grass

  the bridegroom

no ordinary man | he watches the sun

warping beads of light | beads

bouncing off windows | morning

unveils his wife-to-be | squatting


washing off yesterday’s birthday wishes

premonitions of schisms | martyred salesmen

he watches how she dismisses Xmas abuses

& takes comfort in a legend’s breathing


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