Excerpt for Needlework: A Collection of Poems by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Published by Suzanne Hocking at Smashwords

Needlework: a collection of poems

ISBN: 9781370320936

Copyright 2000-2017 Suzanne Hocking

Also by Suzanne Hocking:

The Matchstick Girl (8th House Publishing)

The Way to Love a Girl (Smashwords)

Needlework: a collection of poems


In light of recent events and the tendency

of good memories to fade too quickly

I have this to say.

Firstly, that there will always be a couch

in a room twelve degrees above zero

where the clock reads 03:00

and the door opens on a dark stairwell

that could be anywhere in the universe.

You don’t know this, but time is a spiral full of

hollows and alcoves paneled with dark wood

and the anglerfish of deeptime

patrol these rooms endlessly, peering in

like fat security guards

with flashlights and beater sticks

making sure all is as it should be.

And it is.

Secondly, that no matter the currency in vogue

a thought does not need to be cashed in

to find fair trade in someone’s eyes,

on their lips, upon their skin. Even forgotten,

in the cluttered twists of time nothing is lost,

only transformed. Your most private moment

wears a nametag and a mackintosh overcoat

somewhere on a rainy film noir street,

safe from the disfiguring sweep of oblivion.

Thirdly, it matters less than you think (whatever it is).

It’s all in hand. Determinism succumbs to a red pen.

What you choose to put a stop to.

What you splice or divide with a perfectly placed comma.

In other words, and so on,

we are all sentenced to make sense of ourselves.

And we do.

Fourthly, there is this:

When a body breaks, everything that was

inside it is set free. So, come the end,

memory is just a spilled jar of beans

travelling outwards…


What is shame

but the futile knocking about of a dead thing?

Like any other ghost, it exists because

it has overstayed its welcome

and can't be convinced to go.

Shame is a waystation to a bad moment.

Shame is a seedy motel on a highway somewhere

where the traffic zooms quickly in both directions and

the smoke of old cigarettes lingers in the arm of the sofa;

and when the manager knocks at 11pm

to remind you that you owe the going rate

by 9am the next morning

you nod tiredly and close the door in his face,

sink into the sofa chair,

not sleeping at all that night,

instead reviewing maps

of all the destinations you have been,

and all the ones you could go

if only you weren't committed lock and key

to the dingy confines of a single bed

and the cheap picture frame that throws

a ragged smear of light across the TV screen,

so you are always squinting at it

through the reflection of what's behind.

Table cloth

A café. A table, bare.

Two cups meet and turn frontier

to settled territory.

Your easy smile

crinkles the space between.

Stroke it flat or

reach out fingers

and lace the air;

I’ll make sure my sleeve is there.

Finger the fringe,

eye-step my seams.

Seems to me

you curve my brain

and make of me a spindle,

winding knots where

stillness used to be.

Ravel me a heaven –

a stitchless universe

between the draping of our hands.

You never held the needle

yet I’m full of holes.

The heartspoiled land

I endeavour to

hibernate away

from the blanket rockfields

of the heartspoiled land.

In spite of reticent genes

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