Last Laugh

My namesake unearthed me again,
My nemesis perhaps, my friend
At the pre-arranged place of his choosing.
Below him, not England’s green fields gone,

But the abyss which beckoned his backbone
And swirled the spleen, abused with doubt
And confusion, a waking and constant stream.
There are no tracks at the viaduct now,

Demoted by lemongrass, lavender-time
And sorghum seeds on a breeze,
Soft and endlessly fine,
Eyes closed, I savoured their caresses on my skin.

It was a challenge too far to know friendship,
Even mere acquaintances and incidentalists
Outsourced self-judgment and harm
Without realising its bruising impact on you.

A gleam of green herrings hung from the arches;
Your tongue was cold and grey when they found you.
For Victorian appliances we still have some use;
I saw an ambulance stuck in the marshes.

I thought about the last time you probably felt
You were ignored regarding something which
With the aperture of hindsight was trivial or mundane.
Your first and last fleeting kiss with the girl

Who had a bandage on her wrists, extra melanin,
And in her stomach a whole world waiting.
I saw the hunting season, the cat got your tongue
And toyed with it, as if a dead fieldmouse,

Not hungry, just bored. Nature is fastidious.
Your last bath, your last word read in the last book
You felt inspired by momentarily, without finishing.
Your last dinner you could not eat,

And a last diary entry; the ink ends
Where you lost the pendulum that thinks.
Your last laugh, when you were younger,
Before the goddess of the moon infused you

With her curse, stung by a bee in its skep.
Your last time to sleep, unconditionally.
I saw haunting stigmata cauterizing your mother,
I saw unholy water supplant the blood of your father,

I saw silencing stones in the bronchi of your brother.
Blessed are those oblivious
To the some-time sheer effort of living,
Feeling our lungs automated with bellows

And pulleys, feeling as though we were
Conceived as a different species: frog-skin,
Toadstool, or the rare and protected beetle
That lived in the marsh below the bridge

Which in later years was drained of its matter,
Suffocated with copper-clad wires and cement
For a housing estate; the planners
Ordained the place with one or two willows,

And named the streets, vainglorious fellows,
After flowers bountiful, wild and yellow;
By your body blossomed, abundant show,
But all that was lost, many years ago.

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