Poems by Martin Kratz (UK)
Published in issue 40 of The Ofi Press
When it comes to affecting touch through sound
the old kung fu film sound-effects engineer
is to my mind the undisputed master.
It's the way he tilts his chipped and dinted microphone,
recording the sound of a watermelon
plocked with a beater, to underscore a scene
in which a teacher drums his wisdom by hand
into a pupil's round and distractible head.
We may not always understand why it is useful
to blend image of one thing with the sound
of another (boy's wide face, watermelon's thud)
but we say, don't we, that something feels real?
And we know how unlike truth, truth can sound.
After school he played the mirror game:
standing stock-still, then ducking suddenly
trying to catch out his reflection.
He goosestepped, knucklehopped, flung
wild haymakers. He rabbbitpunched
the air until his skin glowed poker hot.
The Mirror Kid never gave up.
He matched him step for step, breath
for breath, always holding his gaze.
Oh, what a good boy that Mirror Kid was!
Did everything he was told. But how he longed
to lean back against the cool wall and blink.
There was a time when your mother's belly
had not yet balled out like an egg.
They said, there was nothing to be seen or heard
or felt. To be honest, we doubted
for a moment you were even there.
So I went with your mother into the cupboard
under the stairs.
I held a candle behind her back
and she emptied out her lungs in one long breath.
The candle fed itself bright
until her whole belly glowed a deep yolk.
No floating shadow puppet, no clumsy marionette,
but there, the heart-light,
turning on and off and on and off and on.
Martin Kratz lives and writes in Manchester (UK). His poem ‘The Man Who Walked Through Walls’ was highly commended for the Forward Prize 2014. He is coeditor of Mount London (Penned in the Margins).
Image: "Flame" by Rhett Maxwell","Microphone" by Gana Tronic and "Sprt Wthn" by Woodley Wonder Works.