The Bell sounds heavy and fast

The Bell sounds heavy and fast,
Important that there are muted bells too,
A telephone ringing in an empty room
or a dead telephone who cannot channel.
Who is ringing? Who goes? Who took it too far?
You who took it too far in the fun.

Dug-up from gurgle ground,
Pulled out blowing silly bubbles.
Not that the phone is dead,
But the struggle is to animate it properly
with a smile.

Neighbour’s party, I’m invited in silence and I accept,
Although I don’t have a choice.
In every choice you prefer the or anyway.
Or or or comes the kick drums,
Part-dissolved in tenement.

Objects are more locatable than people,
Especially strangers. Some kind of dented
self-assurance and more to hold onto.
I might ring you later,
To find you aren’t there. Seven peals to a stop.

The way listening clambers over things,
It feels like enriching. If bees’ legs
put the pollen back. Carry this meaning,
Object, I promise it’s light leaning
on the heady side.

Two go and to come back, sighing
for all tasks undone. One more,
Point at our end. Rooves for seeing
sea in, what inlet is that? October daunting
the powder of dusk. Read it in wheat.

You press the dead phone buttons like timpani,
Whose sounds are micro, meant for
the invisible air tightly.
Bark you tom-toms!
Bark you seagulls!
I’m here for the music of the locale.

Remembrance is hidden and waits to be exploded:
How light feels to the woodlouse,
Who lives under that that was removed.
Cool corners with loss in the deepest angles.
Absences pushed right up to the wall.

We live on top of that that is being pulled away.
Life like a cobalt tarpaulin, rich enough
that the colour barely changes in the movement.
Hear its rustle deepen as your cochlea is desensitised.
I won’t lie, hair cells here
are not able to regenerate themselves.

The washing machine is flirting its potential
from the other room. It asks us
to recognise what is missing,
Like the sadness in piles of leaves. It’s our sadness!
The grey in Grünewald. That sadness is shared,
Panel to populace.

I tried not too hard
not to. Laughter rising in volume
but getting further, what? Compute until
your heart singes for redistraction. Explain it
by rescinding. Have me
a seasonal. All.

You keeping things and pretending
they’re keeping you. I like the lightness
of your contract. Don’t ask if you need it,
Distil; ask if it needs you.
Self-care for situationists.
Only dream of losing.

A clack asks you not to be content.
Is there time for that.
Drips into a bucket nocturnally,
It gurgles I’m fully full
of your wrought interpretations please.
Tip me.

The Glass is too smashed to go,
The human has fled the scene.
Do you read a difference between:
Evidence of absence and
Absence of evidence?



Ben Redhead, 2021

Ben Redhead is a Leeds-born writer based in Glasgow. Two of their poems written collaboratively with Lucie McLaughlin are forthcoming with Death of Workers Press, Glasgow, in Periodicals, Summer 2021.