Night Owl

Thank you for your photograph,
Passport-sized, white frame,
On the reverse side in red ink
You wrote your name and
Number. The image I received
On the spine of a silently
Howling owl in a dream
Last night I placed beneath
My pillow and in a dream
Within a dream you emerged
From the portrait large as life,
Your lipstick as red as the ink,
A deep red, deep as blood in
The whales stampeding through
The caves of my sleep searching
For their calves already hauled
Onto the harpoon-stationed
Entrail-made slippery deck
Of hail-harried vessels in
The steep Pacific breaches.

You gestured to me not to speak,
Finger over your lips and I was
Transfixed. I watched you
Carefully, devotedly, as you fell
Asleep in a red dress, your blonde
Hair falling over your eyelids and
Your nostrils and I reached to
Brush those beautiful strands away
When your mouth opened and
An alarm fell out and I woke
Sweating, and drowning, as
A refuse collection vehicle
Reversed outside my apartment.

Buffalo

I am no more privileged,
I have no further gains
Than Bison or Buffalo
Southwesterly migrating
In fated waves and a
Great obstinancy.
Their carcasses spiralling
Over yellow Plains,
They shot so many
The carrion could be seen
From space, to near
Extinction, annihilating,
Through Nebraska and
North through both
Dakotas too,
We were only feeding
Progressive trends towards
My detriment and death.

These are the thoughts
I couldn’t discuss with you,
Not about Buffalo
In the end, but men
Who did not return home,
Feathers in their scalps,
As I drove through the
Border identification checks,
Like the mind of a solitary,
Lonely surviving Buffalo,
And on to Saskatoon.

Father’s Day

It’s been so long
Since I’ve seen you,
And since he
Has seen me,
I completely forgot
The day of the week.

No cards with a joke,
No hugs for a bloke;
I lost contact with
Kindness, ever since a
Moment of madness when
My best friend would seek

Approval for Life’s tough
Terms and conditions
To be revoked, and
Succeeded, whether
He meant to
Or not.

The closest friend
For sons growing up,
A teacher, confidante,
Learner and leader
Standing up for you
When no one else would.

There at his first
Mistaken application
Of shaving foam,
And advice for a date
Which makes sons groan,
And I didn’t go on.

This was exchanged
For a place with no
Coastlines, no cosy fires,
But that which consumes
And turns truth into food
For clowns and for liars.

The high street in this
Sorry town is dead.
Days felt the same
For so long, a numbness,
A means of just getting by
Without really coping,

Because there are no
Hugs, from me or your
Diaspora of daughters and
Brothers, across from
One universe
And into another.

Exfoliant

Harm’s made in many molecular shapes,
When we were younger, we stood in its way;
Before cats could taunt, nine lives became drapes,
Rabbits’ fecundity taken away.
Orders received, burnt twice after reading,
Sweltering thoughts of factories in May;
Sweat like small bombs on bleached floors were bleeding,
Wishbones of Peace on a warm metal tray.
The harm in life is always organic,
Find antidotes in your heart’s poetry;
Hoods malfunctioned, contagions of panic,
Where organs once authored, there’s irony.
Untold men died, several years after;
Deprived of love, natural as laughter.

Ode To Taipei

Let’s land you in Taipei,
I’ll gladly meet you there;
The monsoon strips will throng
With blossom, pink and bare.

Let’s bring you to Taipei
By Bangkok, Three Gorges rested;
Hold my hands, it won’t be long,
Harbour floodgates daily tested.

Let’s see the Taiwanese fireworks,
I know exquisite spots;
You’ll contemplate the high-rise perks
Of living with your polyglot.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is filled
With roads downhill
And greyness still,
Timber yards
And paper mills,
Mist, and rain;
Houses built
With wooden slats;
A girl in the pines
They left for dead.
Furnaces, steel,
Forests feel
Endless. Settings
For a thousand films
And TV series will
Give glimpses but
Never the essence.
Rain on my mouth.
Interstate routes,
Rivers, bridges,
Flow until just south
From the ridges where
We met and loved.
A glove, a rustbelt,
A Methodist church,
I dropped my prayers
In roadside dirt.

A Second Meditation

These moments
The mind repackages

Like well-used clothes,
Worn with both human
Necessity and splendour,
Vivid colours, from
Taffeta to cotton,
A logo, a label,
A sari from Goa,
A fashionable dress
You’d forgotten,
Esclavage necklace
A friend had lent
Before they moved
To the continent.
All these thoughts
Eventually deposed
And posted to buyers
From Guildford
And Frome,
(Or if not bought
Then decompose),

Yes, repackaged,
A repurposing.

In the end,
All will seem
Not moments,
But times long ago
Where we wore
Different clothes
On our bodies.

Death Of An Obsessive (Twelfth Sonnet)

Lunch after Sunday, a walk with our dogs,
Over stiles clambered, some lumberjacked logs,
Through cowpatted herd-fields, a traced rabbit path,
And beyond the axe-pond where sometimes we’d bath,
To find that cottage, abandoned and dark,
From lintel and jambs hanged swallow and lark;
Roofs sunk to woodworm, gnawed holes from the rot,
A cracked window showed the home of a sot.
Children had played on the rosebay-raped swards,
Supper’s at seven, your heels on the boards;
White linen’s fresh, pegged to washing lines sang,
Before words turned beneath ivy to slang.
These losses framed by a mind’s fatal breath;
An airbag inflated, scene of a death.

Dina Morgabin

These kisses we missed
In other lives elsewhere,
These exquisite moments,

No wonder we arrived
At inevitable reunions where
I dreamed for years

Of lifting you up in my arms,
Passionate embraces,
Time repaired.

For as long as the seas
In our heritage are green,
And as long as the skies

Are propped by the dreams
Of atlases may we continue
To breathe and complete

The abstract truths
Dormant within our ribs
For such profound time

We almost forgot we exist.
My focus here is solely on
Your beauty and your gifts,

Your experiences,
Harmonising pleasure,
Retuning the truth

To satisfy the needs
Of an uncompassed ocean.
Here on this island,

Here with your bliss,
Now and forever
We will exist.