Two Poems by Alan Dunnett

These two poems by Alan Dunnett reflect a sense of a threshold — with a vertiginous drop — to be crossed in the name of a clarity, a revealing…

Art by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison

by: Alan Dunnett

You Took My Head

You took my head and placed it beside another's.
My head grew heavy so I lay on my cheek.
With my left hand, I held the other head upright.

This other head was more still than me.
Its lips were stitched fast.
It seemed to hold some small thing in its mouth.

Its lower lids were drawn up as if in sleep.
Then I thought: not sleep, but consideration.
Its hair was tightly arranged, like fingers.

You said your camera would take my soul.
Under the circumstances, a bad joke, I felt.
I resisted the captivity

of each shot, its suspending of animation.
I held this other head and gave it instruction.
If you are the sleeper, then I must wake and watch.

after 'Noire and Blanche', 1926.  A Photograph by Man Ray.
My Turn

It is the wind opening the door just
the wind; then the wind drops and the toothpaste
falls from the shelf and moves across the floor.

No one is here except me. Still I call
out to you not to cause fear. Your silence
is a cold balm on the skin, another

baulk in a lost rhythm of exchanges.
Our sayings to and fro in my head
have owned the twittering of ghosts. I set

my teeth and make as if to call you again.
The night air sounds a single note. Outside,
are other voices of this world. Step up,

I think, or let this all be stopped. The word
at the door waits for release, waits again.

Alan Dunnett is a former theatre director and has also been a Course Leader at both the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Drama Centre London. His poems have appeared in Poetry and Settled Status For All (2022 anthology), Apocalypse Confidential, Dodging The Rain, The Crank, The New European. Film-poem Assassin awarded a 2020 Best Rhythm & Poetry for Berlin Deadline at Berlin Underground Film Festival. Wrote/voiced the film-poem Interrogation, Best Experimental Film at the Verona International Film Festival 2019. A collection, A Third Colour, was published by Culture Matters in 2018.

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