Alice Tarbuck is a writer and academic based in Edinburgh. She works on the relationship between innovative poetry and the Environmental Humanities, and is completing a PhD with the University of Dundee and the Scottish Poetry Library examining the poetry and practice of Thomas A. Clark. Alice programmes and hosts the monthly poetry night Hear Hare Here. Her first pamphlet, Grid, appeared in 2018 with Sad Press. Her twitter is @atarbuck.
Don’t mistake yourself for Joan of Arc
You’ve had enough:
‘enough’ here meaning several of an ABV of 8%, ‘enough’
a rough 12g torqueing through the stomach lining into blood,
until the line of boys sways,
your breath the same fast rising breath that stands
inordinately small before a king, to tell the truth of something in the air which
speaks unbidden. Glass in the thumb from a cracked phone screen
blood on the scarlet dancing girl emoji/skin fleck on the flame emoji
that’s the bit they all like best.
The Virgin Orleans
crouches under the skull, the pilot light flares first green, then blue
and the Archangel Michael is leisurely turning away
decked in the black and white of bouncers everywhere,
his Bluetooth headset blinking, his eyes not anywhere when she is marched,
triumphal d’Arc, out to the shining pavement, or off to Compeigne.
Curl up in the space of suffering, claim the scorch of ground
now tarmacked over. Lineate the crackle of her burning,
locate at the white heart of it your own, live, heart
but don’t cut and paste her eyes with yours. Remember that she spoke
with tongues, peeled a Compeed patch and then kept dancing,
lent a tampon, comprehend that she was
nineteen and mardy, that the jeer of men was as loud
as thousands of struck matches, that their hands and arms
tied ropes and stacked up wood. Are you sure, now, that you
can see in her yourself? It is a better view than looking down
in the taxi, flexing your hands and wondering
about the beauty of the flames from the expensive seats.