Adelle Stripe


I listen to you
tap tap tap
on an underweight keyboard

gain some kind of comfort
from the rhythm
and your cough

outside the snow is falling
like moths burned by
a nitrate moon

silence envelopes
these once busy streets
footsteps are cushioned
in the ginnel of dust
where the pink reflected halogen glow
is the tone of my cheeks
just half an hour ago

You Don’t Know Jesus
plays a codeine drone
from the speakers downstairs
somnolence drifting up through the air
condensation in fuzz guitar notes

I open the window,
hang my legs off the sill,
let the snowflakes collect
on my Clara Bow lips
soft and sweet
I dream of vanilla

and listen to you
tap tap tap
on an underweight keyboard

on this February night
under stoned
Titian clouds.

[1] Note – I had remembered this image as a teenager, but couldn’t remember where I had read it. I wrote this poem in the winter of 2009 and looked up the phrase ‘moths burned by the moon’ online and found Richard Wilbur’s First Snow in Alsace from 1947. I suppose I am indebted to him as the poem is closer to his than any other I could recall. It must have had more impact than I first realised, and apologise for the unintentional similarities . . .

Adelle Stripe is a Brutalist poet, journalist, editor, copywriter, window dresser, raconteur and rat catcher. She is the author of Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid and the forthcoming Cigarettes in Bed (Blackheath Books).

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