Pulse / The Logic of Circles

Oz Hardwick

Pulse

 

Just when it seems like silence, I notice the bass. It’s in the water running under the floorboards that I didn’t think I could hear, and it’s in the gas, the electric and the fibre-optics that I didn’t think made a noise. It’s in the cat’s throat when he stops purring, and in the lawnmower as it’s swallowed by weeds. It’s the ache in my jaw after the tooth’s gone, and the ache of familiar scent in confined spaces. It’s John Entwistle carving mountains with four fingers and a thumb, and Holger Czukay hammering one note for a whole show, just because. It’s the kick-drum of insects that I feel in my stomach, and the grind of the Earth’s machine heart turning. It’s the sleeping beast that swallows all words and, just when I think I’ve grasped its rhythm, it is silence.

The Logic of Circles

 

The hand on my wrist moves in circles, stirring memories. Stretched across wind and waves, there are few certainties, but this slow undulation of skin reassures me that, between life and death, some reactions are more propitious than others. It’s like one of those puzzles in the morning paper: If it takes Emma 75 minutes to cycle 14 miles, where is she now? How many cards did she receive on her 7th birthday? What about her 19th or her 40th? How many of them does she still have in a drawer or an old suitcase, and does she ever look at them? I know I won’t buy tomorrow’s paper, so will never be sure of the answers, but in the syncopated beat of my wristwatch and my pulse there’s a hand moving in circles while, out there on the coast path, her salt-stiff grey hair caught wild in the wind, there’s Emma on her bicycle, panniers packed with birthday cards and an old-fashioned telegram from the Queen..


Oz Hardwick lives in the north of England and writes compulsively. His chapbook Learning to Have Lost (Canberra: IPSI, 2018) won the 2019 Rubery International Book Award for a poetry collection, and his latest publication is the prose poetry sequence Wolf Planet (Clevedon: Hedgehog, 2020). When he is not writing, Oz is usually taking photographs or losing (or finding) himself in music. Fortunately, these activities rest comfortably with his role of Professor of English at Leeds Trinity University, where he teaches Creative Writing. www.ozhardwick.co.uk

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