With Rhinoceroses

by A.J. Huffman


marching at midnight, I count the clocks
melting across this desertscape of my mind.
Tickless timebombed footpaths mark land
I have yet to traverse. I blink and fade
a new shade across this canvas. Horns pause
in prayer for their preferred pastel. Granted!
I am the god-
                           mother of garish self-
                                                                       portraits.
Say cheese, before I choose the next
beast to frame my shot.

METAMORPHOSIS

by Wynn Wheldon


She doesn’t smoke as a rule
but takes the proffered Marlboro
and sips at an alcopop.

Because, frankly, today’s been
well, fucking awful, frankly.
And it’s just about to rain.

Almost the last thing on earth
she wants to do is model
for this geeky young Russian.

And why here for heavensake?
At Elephant and Castle?
It’s due for demolition.

She changes into the frock.
Does everything she’s told to.
Between takes tries to wrap warm.

Still she shivers, scowls, and smokes.
The light is going. He wants
one more shot. Please my darling?

So once again she pulls out
the wings of the silken skirt.
His camera is gun and sun.

One week on. He’s so happy.
Shows her that very last frame.
Breath halts in her chest.

CWMORTHIN

by Wynn Wheldon


On sunny days I can see Cwmorthin
Where the flesh of the land is ripped away
To reveal livery slate that roofed the world.

Sheep safely graze in the ruined chapel.
The hillsides weep into the reservoir.
Water cold as reason refreshes feet

Swollen tramping from Blaenau to Croesor.
Were I a believer I’d hear voices
Catch the shadows of ghosts, smell labour’s sweat.

How many found solace in the sermons?
How many spat at rough hands, rubbed and shrugged
At what brought no extra penny, no bread?

Moelwyn Mawr is healing, a new skin grows.
Quiet is restored, shattered now and then
By local boys on shrieking bikes. I fume

But in the end they go and then perhaps
I might consider their temporary stab
A mere scraping to the gouging of yore.

And yet I like the slate, the slitted walls,
The peopling of place. I lick a finger
And benignly tag my name. It dries, goes.

I leave no mark in the place where Y Parch
Wheldon preached, but I’ve a chalk for this page.
I’ll scratch it up. There’s something of me there.