The mannequins

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I try to enjoy my book
but the mannequins
  keep tapping
     at the window

When I look up
    they vanish

       Outside
fibreglass clouds
  are kept in place
by invisible wires

—–

Sometimes the mannequins
   get behind my eyes

I feel them tugging the strings
                 of my nerves
playing with my mechanisms

They make themselves at home
in the lumber room of my skull

—–

Asleep
     I’m most vulnerable

Last night I dreamt that
   after a stock-take
the mannequins murdered the staff
dressed them in fashionably ugly clothes
     and displayed them
           in the window

     The night before
cold hands placed plastic flowers
       on the graves
of fashion designers

—–

My persecution
isn’t all bad though

It has its benefits

When the mannequins
   possess my hands
I tap out little poems on my phone

The index finger
                of my tweeting hand
                    pecks the touchscreen
          like a nimble bird

Words chirp
in the kingdom
of their cage

      But the hand
   holding the phone
is made of fibreglass

—–

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

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Nine views of Wells Cathedral

1

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in copper light
Wells Cathedral
is a palace
made of iron

at noon
a bell clangs
dispersing
a cloud of birds

2

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rounding the corner
the cathedral
becomes unreal

contours sharpen
verticals warp

a dog’s bark
scuffs the silence

3

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during winter
the building
takes on the properties
of ice

4

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he photographs the cloister

that evening
looking at his work
he can’t see history or ghosts

so he fixes the picture

5

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the minotaur
in this labyrinth
is invisible
ethereal

it gorges
on muttered words
mumbled songs

6

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please remove your hat

elsewhere in the cathedral
a baby’s screaming
its head off

fear Christ in His meekness

7

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the nave of Wells Cathedral
never looks
like this

the photos you took
were humdrum
washed out

and people kept getting
in the way

8

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stand back
look around

a green
a cathedral

an observer
a camera

alchemy of light
and lenses

9

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later
in a dark room
a dream remembered
a memory dreamt

—–

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

The fox

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1

The mannequins build a mechanical fox.

The last piece they put in place is its voicebox.
But it’s faulty. It whines and shrieks all night.

2

The mechanical fox is rust-red.
The mannequins see through its eyes,
hunting nocturnal thoughts.

Never have a wet dream when it’s near.

3

The mannequins enjoy playing with their fox
so much,
their blankness suggests
a smile.

The forelegs bend up and backwards,
the spikes of its ears twist into a crown:
it’s the Bird King!

—–

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

The Dream Shop

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From nine at night
   until five in the morning
the mannequins staff
      the Dream Shop.

Customers sleepwalk in
         and murmur their enquiries.

Some of the patrons are very demanding.

They queue outside before opening time,
             pressing sleeping faces
      against the windows.

Last night an old man died in the Dream Shop;
    the Yves Klein blues blew his mind.

The mannequins dialled 999
         but couldn’t speak.

—-

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

Three views of Wells Cathedral

1

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in copper light
Wells Cathedral
is a palace
   made of iron

at noon
      a bell clangs
   dispersing
a cloud of birds

—–

2

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rounding the corner
the cathedral
    becomes unreal

       contours sharpen
       verticals warp

a dog’s bark
scuffs the silence

—–

3

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stand back
look around

a green
a cathedral

an observer
a camera

alchemy of light
    and lenses

later
in a dark room
     a dream remembered
     a memory dreamt

—–

All of the texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

The mannequins are only playing dead

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at night
the mannequins leave
    their glass prisons

         and hunt owls
   in the forest

***

sometimes they dance
      a slo-mo tarantella
            in a clearing

bone-white
      in the moonlight

***

in the morning
back behind glass
their blank looks
give nothing away

behind them
          tills open with a yawn
          and close with a sigh

***

This poem was constructed from several tweets on the theme of mannequins. I tweeted the picture (very much a part of the poem) about a week ago.

I’ve got quite a lot of material on this theme. Further poems are planned, as well as a collaboration with an artist.