the trouble with words

constructing a poem
word on word
mortared with space
it’s tricky
how quickly words lose their edge
and fall to pieces in my hands
for example. if I used the word tree
as in: last night I dreamed I was a tree
(not true, by the way
what I dreamed last night
was a child I found
curled up & drowned
in the cistern of a toilet)
anyway
if instead of that horrorshow
I’d had a lovely dream about a tree
what sort of tree would you see?
an oak? banyan? bristlecone pine?
for me, it would be a fallen birch
with a bracket fungus snacking on its veins
like a glaucous, vampiritic ghost

all in all,
I suppose the lesson here is:
be specific
use the tree you want us to see
not some flat, google proxy
there’s precious little control else
meanings will leach the boundaries of things
and you’ll find yourself losing track

like that time I made a wall
from bricks scavenged
from the bottom of the garden
I thought it was okay
a pleasingly rustic structure
but Val, peering over the fence
who’d lived next door for years and years
and knew the farmer pretty well
who even raced round that night
when he lay on the kitchen floor
choking on a chicken bone
Val knew much better than me
those bricks were once a pig shed

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