The decaying fabric of everyday life,
Anarchy is never more than six feet away;
If I ever felt safe behind my own wall
I will visit again those who had nothing at all.
The salmon started swimming a different way,
I felt their magnets in my heart;
The statues of lions would tear me apart
If not preoccupied queuing for bronze.
I followed a ferrous stream to where it began,
Agitpropists on a Parisienne lawn,
There’s nothing like a contagion
For dispersing my personal
Mouvement des Gilets Jaunes.
In a former Time, statisticians reported
That we were not more than six feet away
From a bubonic-plague-incubating rat,
But now I expect it is a little less than that.
I toured the empty boulevards
Where literature once ferried me,
March has nothing left to give
When only two people with a banner meet.
Centuries before, children chimed
“A penny for the guy”
To commemorate the dismemberment
Of a terrorist captured under Parliament;
His quarters sent to the empire’s corners,
Now in their barrows they push without custom
A white cross on a shaved cat’s stomach,
While a plasticised ivy grows through the cellars.


How we suffer now from adventures
Both fantastic and more frivolous
Of our Nokken-locked forebearers;
Their revelling days of fortune and fray
Without thoughts for future seafarers;
Their consanguineous prayers all spared
For the vainglory of giant squid battles.
The Pompeiian partisan audience bayed
For gory blood-letting stages, and rattles
Through cattle wagons reverberating;
Woodstock, hemlock, sixty-eight,
All as if just yesterday;
Cavaliers hounding Roundhead saddles
Built bridges to last on sweetcorn
And apples. I looked in the cupboards
For a jar of Spanish marmalade
But every cupboard is stripped
And how they stare back, a ghastly stare
Like a stray dog’s dead eye socket
Devoid of its optic organ.
The entertainment of war endured
And the wars of lasting distractions;
Blessed were you to feel the blue sea,
But you left no more for her or for me.
Rest well within your heavenly shelter,
In bed your daughter, the Future, swelters;
This is your valedictory speech now failing
It trails from Paris to the pier at Grayling,
I wish her brave sailors would scatter and seek
The land where no more mothers are wailing.

Ode To M.

Your hair held sunlight in chamomile waves,
Freckles betrayed how the Nutmeg behaves.
Unlike others in summer, all others absorbed
With products, players, and uniforms,
Your handwriting divining sublime as cuneiforms,
We drove from Rhode Island to south of Concord

Where your grandparents’ cabin overlooked ponds,
A surrounding sea of green fern fronds;
Pine scents all-time standing sentry,
You brought your diary, heart-shaped lock,
On a porch of glowing feldspar rock
I watched as you wrote your last entry.

Yesterday I stood at your grave,
You did not know how much you gave,
Darkness defeated by a smile and a touch.
The unfinished diary buried beside you,
An ossuary jar with incense too,
A rosary in a rabbit hutch.


There is no satisfaction I have found
Where the talking heads abound,
Fecundity through a silver slither.
By their transmissions undeceived,
A different future misconceived
To my caruncle could deliver.

I’d rather wander worlds alone
If travelling lonely would atone
For those who stole from me.
Years to moments weighted gold
Which actors trapped and elsewhere sold;
Another time is remedy.


All I found on the furthest shore
Was dust and decay from the last world war;
Tentacles touched my outer fears.
No alarms, no fog horn warnings,
No afternoons or Monday mornings,
No offertories or confetti cheers.

No football scores, no pundits,
Neither bandstands now nor trumpets,
Seal-skitters sentinel the ebbing bar.
At a skate park unveiled just last year
And from the playgrounds disappear
Sedge warblers’ stolen repertoire.

No sewing  buttons, no lines in the sand,
No comeuppance and no endocrine gland,
No daffodils in song and no Siberian Iris.
From a throne he instructed the shogunate
To construct a wall, and call it great,
And that way he would conquer a virus.