La Ville Rose

Switching from black next
Into pink-red ink,
I wrote to you
On a postcard
From a cruise ship
In Tolosa, a city you know
As Tolouse.
Strange how dreams
Shift and slip
And casually blend,
For you and I know well
It’s a few hours drive,
Through foothill climbs
And Alpine screes
With views, O such scenery!
Bridging rivers in spate
And by old Limoux,
To reach the sea
Though give if fifty years
Or perhaps fifty two,
And Toulouse could be
A Venice anew.

Forgetting to keep
My writing hand removed
From a postcard’s edge,
I smudged the ink
And forgot what to do.
Though I had not seen my
Friends for half that time,
There they were travelling too
On our erstwhile cruise.
I could not find my shoes,
And so they disembarked
With cheery ‘see you soons’,
À bientôt!
With dreaming ways
Approximating every day
You moved away from the group,
Grabbed my hand, urgently said:
Retrouvez-nous au bureau de poste
Sur la place de la ville
And though the memory
Is firmly impressed,
You did not speak French
And our meeting proposed
Did not take place,
But blew away
Like seeds escaped
From a dandelion’s tooth.

On the postcard
I wrote about
A dream preceding that very
Same night; I felt this need
To communicate its birth,
Its bald and blind occurrence.
We were back at that bungalow
Our grandmother built
And owned; after death,
The parcel of land
Divided up, small acre
Made unhindered by
Childhood imagination,
Where once we played
But do not any more,
We drank lemonade and
A home-made sponge,
Harvested peas and
Mowed the lawn,
Buried now beside
All future capability
To cope.
Well, a revolting mogul
Bought that land and soon
Demolished our home of hope,
With apartments compressed
Where once we roamed,
I entered his bleak building site
As if the shift in ownership
Remained unknown, observing
With deeply absymal passivity
His carpentry, in the hall
Where we shared a meal
At Adventide and Easter,
He crafted four ingenious stairs
Around a trunk revolving,
Other rooms – tarpaulins smothered,
And I realised an awful truth,
And ran as fast as I could
To the family car,
Outside that place
Upon an unadopted road.

And so I relayed this dream,
This apparition, on a card
In a dream that followed;
A card I did not
Otherwise post,
I woke in sweat,
Somewhat soaked,
Desperately attempting to
Achieve a meaning in
Those hollows, and finding
Nothing instead but sadness
For those unborn forms
A waking morning swallowed.

Taraxacologist’s Song

I've been foraging for borage,
Buttercups and a certain
Salving parsley, floral
Wreaths and silence,
Foxgloves floating in their thousands,
Beyond
My soul-tsunami.
Above love's undergrowth
Billow seeds of lion's teeth,
Also known by cankerwort,
Irish daisy,
Witches' gowan, take
Your pick dependent
On your parlance,
Slowly drifting by
Like the quietly
Glowing intentions
And desires of
Subtle snowflakes.

No greater miracle we need
Than Nature -
Germination, regeneration,
We packed away our overcoats
And umbrellas and crumbs
Of conversations to stand
With crowds in verges,
In suburban lanes where
Carnival celebrations
Passed us by, a smile,
A photograph, a wave.
For this self-renewal,
I saw that same procession
With elephants and acrobats
And other-worldly fruits,
A girl with second sight,
A vial of dust did sprout legumes,
A great-great-grandmother
From the coast who met
Her son exhumed; flags
And banners and drums;
And there, within
This entourage's
Centrifuge,
A quite magnificent
Lioness, born from leaves
Through penury,
Through belief,
Through ritual and rosaries
And into then beatitude,
Never better expressed than
In some jagged leaves
Of a weed, upon
A kerbside edge,
Recipient of our wonder,
Thereafter born anew.

The Mime Artists

We occupy a space
In Time, on the tip
Of the tongue of
This forked existence.
Within this place
We do not move,
We have no names.

A smaller theatre than many,
Off chicaneless straightened
Motor-roads, we persevere
In aspic rote.
Performances to schedule,
Although audiences
No longer shuffle through
Ornate clicking-ticket
Turnstile posts;
They observe from afar,
Some dead, some remote,
And some these days
Just watch from home.

At the end of the programme’s
Print – a colophon – published
In diverse archaic languages
For our final footnotes.
All that’s there are
Epithets and anecdotes;
See these fading photographs
From our mute community;
This troupe, a trope,
Broken Truth’s fraternity,
And there, I pointed out,
I jabbed my wizened
Old man’s finger, look there
Where you should see mine!
Instead there is that space,
A smidgeon of flaky glue,
A residue of DNA.

Foxhole

Straggly sprouting rust-coloured roots
Define my vulpine life;
At dusk, I stare up from my earthy-bedded
Denizen, up this red tubular shoot
I dug out with my snout
To observe a dutiful Moon,
Rusty too, old ruby shoes,
With my paw I claw for an awful truth.
Distant Moon, you are unrepentant,
Occluded too,
And unlike most other liars
Have nothing to say that’s new.

Dark chute, daylight blues,
I rest my head on my outstretched legs
And watch the ostracised humans
Moving to work.
I once had whiskers of fire
And I would dream about you,
Fearless dreams, dead dreams
Starving mutual fuels of desire and truth.
Along with those roots there are
Long-buried plastics and also bones
From crones and a Viking tooth.
At times, it is stifling down here and
I have nothing left to chew.
Our litter, by some absurd urge
Of the Great Dictator Nature
All outgrew their rooms. Of course,
You were the apple of my eye
And I thought, I believed
Habitually, against my better sense,
Ritualistically, squeezed beneath a fence
That I could not live without you.
This was a lie, for whom Nature
And I inevitably colluded.

New bins, broken lids,
My nose is still the same as yours
(Although olfactorily mine is more highly
Evolved), and I am not immune
To crossing busy turnpikes
In the early evening light
In the hope, as thin as the unblinking
Eyelashes of Moon, dodging lorries,
That a car might careen
Through a new reality or two.

Cloud Topiarist

Clouds shaped like lovers,
A giraffe without a neck,
And skeletons in cupboards.

Cloud topiarist,
We seek perfection and yet
The nearest shears are in heaven.

Metallic balls on a yttrium string
Swing rhythms on a table;
Dead offices; disconsolation.

Was there ever a collective
Endeavour roaming
Worth our reminiscence?

It remains an open secret,
There are many dead men walking
And living people buried;

This is what occurs
When graves within my sleep interred
Are kept broken, undelivered.

I hear recurring prophecies –
Spiral vortex dreams –
A financial offshore tremor,

A van concealing hostages
In flags of white and blue,
Loaded guns, rooms in rubble.

If over nations clouds remained
They often gave that day a name,
Apartment diaries, online news,

Then happy in this skylight citadel
Are those murdered few,
For at their graves

Where clouds give shape
They’re brought to life
By a drama or two.


On Time

Time, Grandmaster Illusionist,
You can try and hold it like water,
These richest minerals taken for granted,
And as a dream likewise disappears
Without warning or notice,
So too elusive Time evaporates
In my field of view,
Far and otherwise near,
Far and always untrue.

Within a dream the other day
I saw the Law in stitched array,
In a pantomime ass; in abeyance;
One end politicians, the other the press
For which the gutter has provisions.
Which end was which, I’ll leave you to guess;
Flies her wishing-tail would sway,
The flies beheaded horsehair days;
I felt feverish cold when she brayed.

Loneliness of their abyss,
Where those betrayers
Now perilously live
In the grizzly sanctum
Of their own belittling myths.
If Time
Is a construct for such benefit
Of Life’s gardeners and of taxmen’s
Ophelimity, then what of this rose,
Or distant bridge, who knows
What really connects
A rubber oak, or dripping sink,
And perhaps there is a calm
And therefore finally
Meditativeness, a pledge,
That despite their best efforts,
The void of missing you
Through which my heart pours
Daily and effortlessly,
Will be sealed,
Padlocked in eternity,
And timelessness.