Numbers

How many parts
Might contribute
To the entirety
Of me,
Made on production lines
Might I say
Like automata,
Might I say like
Serendipity,
How many nuts and bolts:
206 bones,
32 teeth,
1 brain or maybe two
Or three,
Or ten to the power of
Fourteen synapses;
Add ligaments,
Add damages,
Add follicles,
Add freckles,
Add moles,
Add imperfections
In their millions,
Add my eyeballs,
Add my feet;
Add my nerves,
Add my ancient pleas,
What numbers then
Do we reach?
Only one,
Less fallacies.

The sad irony being
Unencumbered,
I did not ever really believe
In numbers.

The Blinded Deer

Secrets stored within you,
Only you could know,
Frozen in five fevers,
Melted in a snow.

You stood within a blizzard,
Tied against their drums,
All those ghosts surrounding
For whom no few succumb.

A blinded deer in forests deep,
You memorized her ways,
Awoke within an hour,
Head circled in a daze.

They found you on that ferny bed,
Emptied by your hand,
Lost to all who you adored,
A future fire fanned.

Nubian

My head is compressed
(In cartouche contents
Made for dead
Languages and archaic
Aspirations traced in
Plumes of incense,
Haunting nisba-laden
Conjugations with lists of
Nubian fisheries, bakers,
Haberdasheries and fabrics
From a starry peninsula,
Often misread and
Always missaid aloud,
My name was poorly
Pronounced somehow),
As I tread these deserted fields
Devoid of other dog-walkers,
In colder shrouds and clouds
Formed by exhaustion,
Pressed and re-pressed
Like a dried dandelion
In a volume unread,
My pages of dread speak
Into the breach of
Time and space,
From marbled halls,
A minister disgraced,
To a Baltic beach
Beneath the dacha
Where their children
Reach to impossibly touch
Vapour trails the gods
Of cacophonous oligarchs
Inhale from within their
Sarcophagi (and we are blessed
They said to be able to travel
And sunbathe and have sex
In the toiletry aisle
Of a Balearic supermarket
While a bored middle-aged
Checkout attendant with a
Name badge which reads
Catalina files her red nails
And rolls her eyes
With a fed-up expression,
Until we unknotted our lives
Into marriages and false promises
Or if not false then unwitting
And no less juvenile,
And jobs, and downfalls,
And a vacuous
Repetitiveness of Dawns),
Spumous offerings
And votives and how futile
To think otherwise,
Or to fume with such
Unprecedented fury
Our peers denied,
And all through that time
They were the ones in a happier crowd,
They were the ones burning
A once-fabled cow,
Oiling a river on fire,
Standing up to their knees
In effluence clotted
By our keenness to deliver,
By our kindling desire.

Over a different horizon
I envisaged a raft, far adrift,
Where I was alone and immersed
Therein eternal solace
And a certain bliss.

Lexington

They made a product out of grief,
Surfaced lower lurking teeth,
An out-surviving mother’s briefed.

A promise, props, facsimiles,
Curses labelled remedies,
Justice in subscription fees.

How many others seek their rest
On death row in a grocer’s mess;
How many more might confess

For future crimes immersed
And later studied in reverse
Within a popcorn universe.

Inheritances

This interminable year
Of dustbowl polemics,
They argue in circles
Over single drops
While townspeople drowned
And totems they found
Amongst unwatered crops
Brought nothing profound,
Only their gain for
Our grateful loss.

Consistency in frailties,
A raffled upbringing
Under bunting days
And tattled nights;
Remembering fallibility,
I was brought up to respect
And venerate
Without algorithms
Or forecasts for
The awful days ahead –
My irritable and
Complacent elders.
Now they have mostly died
Or fallen asleep
Or disappeared,
A bleak retreating tide,
An impoverished bequest,
The flags in their sandcastles
Of my childhood
Have washed away,
Only black lugworm blasts
Prove they did exist,
In damp grooves and piles
They flew through
And grew the scratchy
Source of itches and smears
Seeping through
The unending seams
Of my dreams in tesserae.

Why do we settle for anything less
Than our future would bless?
O how our past instead
Will steal, and profiteer
For their own cheer
And compromise,
Obviate, obliterate
And deviate from
A delicate and infinite line,
An alchemy smelting
The radiant and the poised
Into prosaic rearrangements
For our everyday demise.

A Conservator’s Son

There is a hidden off-switch
Within my restless mind,
Wound-up, pre-electronic,

And though I search and search
I stay here, quietly supplied.
From time to time I realise

My overwatching
Wingless guardian
Has such primacy!,

Looks after me, misguidedly,
Surging through my monkshood-blood,
My sub-generated supply’s backed-up.

Karagöl

This shortening life,
This thickening life,
This blink of an eye
Left on a continental shelf
Life, (devoid of the I
Which ego contrived
And relies upon having hatched
Like a blind hag-matriarch,
And who underneath our
Inexplicable surfaces
Survives and thrives
While my egg-timer soul
Is turned over again),
I felt my sense of self
Not to reside inside me
But externally derived –
Fermented and distilled
Across our guarded borders,
Lifelong out-of-body experiences
And my many other disorders,
Then the near-death experiences,
Lifelong too, (my witness,
Who is a pawnbroker
Of disasters and also
Fathers, who sold
Ink perpetually
To stain my sinking skin,
Told me this is so),
It is well-written
With strange hieroglyphs
Throughout, ever present,
Every sallow thanklessly
Tantalising day
Behind my harrowing eyelids,
That clear and imprinted
Rendition of my deep,
Impending gallows.

Blues

In youthful days
I could not know
These ways of you
Would change and grow;
Not for better,
Always worse,
Yet if abeyant
Fate
Is versed,
Who will wear
In blue
This curse.

Considering
These tired enquiries
Distractedly,
Quietly,
Little more than frayed
Boot laces left in a shed,
I trod upon my anguish,
Barefoot, pierced through my soles
By rotten and forgotten branches
Underneath a rosebriar bush
Where foxes were thwarted
And ladybirds courted
A flagless border imparted,
These remains are still
Too sharp to handle
Ungloved, though many years
Have waned in truth
Since numbers were pruned
Beneath a single glass eye of
A newly shot moon,
Long before
The dark in the dew
Of my tears would pour
On the eglantine proof.

I found a long-dead mistle-thrush
Beyond my unwaxed gate,
He brought to me a message,
His gassy eyeballs glazed;
Lividity, a beaten breast,
Downy pall for his heart,
Stiffly pointed scaly legs,
No more worms for the beak.
Absurdly straight, those legs,
A spindly, wiry
Duet of prayers
Offered to our blithely
Tergiversate universe
On my starless
Tarmacadam path;
One last breath
With flames as blue
As the one true host,
One last herald
Too late to restart.