Gully


Fresh autumnal rain.
More memories, less gain;
When will I feel real again?

Bricks in my lungs,
Ballast in my brain;
Cargoes containing offal

At the county dock detained
Host more value per grain
Than weights of my breath

Weights of my stains.
In a vision or a dream
Or pulleys in between

Leaf-angels concealed
In that forest unsealed,
A garland of garlic

And damp pine cones
Adorning a gully
Appears more comforting still.

In the distance,
Ambulance sirens,
Playground ebullience;

Good luck to the teary drunk
Trying to abstain.
This is the Year of the Ox

I explained, your wealth;
Deaf ears and ailing health;
I did not let that tiger inside you.

A cessation in rain;
In time, I came to realise
Nothing here will ever be real.

Vespers


She is in the trees,
She is in the vespers,
She is in the roots,
She is in the wasted
Space between my fingers.

She is my disease,
Depression yet sequestered,
When she bares her teeth
I forget to forage.
From my dramas
And catastrophes
She can reverse engineer
Her favourite comedies,
Pressed in pretty borage.

I passed a caulking boat
Upon a tidal ridge,
High-lining and abandoned,
Borax-white, saline scented;
I felt my head upon a rack
Within her unplugged fridge;
And when exhausted
I came to, yet unexplained,
I did not know where I had gone
Or who did expurgate.

Blues And Twos

Resting her guitar she said
I lost my boy that Sunday noon,
He fell far from a fenny ledge,
I hope I see him soon.

The sergeant in his car she said,
No need for blues and twos;
He placed his helmet to his chest,
All prayers I did not choose.

They found him in a peaty lake,
Body naked, face confused;
For other’s sins we do foresake,
A father’s hands abused.

Higher, yes higher,
They emptied out his stomach,
‘Duly Lord made me aspire,
Though I have not recovered’.

O that old marshland song
From where she lit a mallow,
Far too long, and woebegone,
A soul within the shallow.

Pick up my guitar she said,
Let’s drive to that lagoon;
Those missing must have been misled,
I hope I see him soon.

Those missing must have been misled,
I hope I see him soon.

Letters From A Misanthropist



If I laid stock-still
Through quietest nights
On my side
Would all
My naked thoughts
Fall out?

An earthquake of pain
Reverberates
In my tectonic mind.

In a dream
Through gritted teeth
And a sense of purpose
I did not own,
I wrote letters
To my son
And also everyone;
Letters of apology,
Letters singed by the sun.
So little left to inspire,
I decided to enquire
Into my mind and
Write down names
Of several men I admired,
To prove a value
More for my son
Than myself,
Than anything else.

Alphabetically
This dream-missive listed:
Alex Jeffries, for persistence,
Colin Powell, for cross-party respect,
Denis Mukwege, for making a difference,
Despite the circumstances;
François Villon, balking against
The injustices of
The See of Orléans;
Mr John Wheatley,
Same reason as Denis’s,
Only a different season
And in a different respect;
Louis Bleriot for his determination
In all matters aviation
And in love;
Richard Ratcliffe for his hunger striking
For a principle, for his wife;
Several Russian mid-nineteenth
Century poets, ditto Chilean,
Ditto Chinese and Japanese
And European and American
From predominantly before
1980 or maybe 1984.

I poured a molten moth
Back up into my skull
Through my broken
Ethmoid bone,
And woke up, exhausted,
In a sweat I must confess,
And wondering how
I had evolved
Through experience
Into this
Misanthropist.



Heliopolis

We are not a voter,
We are consumers and buyers.

These are not politicians,
These are bloated
Showboating liars,
Even then ineffectual,
Snakes eating
Regenerating tails.

There is no singular truth
From mouths of proven beasts
Gnawing on their sleazy deceit
And trimming with pliers
Their golden-tipped nails,
Helium balloons for heads
And guru gullibilities
For their beds,
Faux democracy
Feeding compliance.

I will not be beholden
To misappropriated rules
By the imbeciles set,
Held up like an orb
At the end of a staff
In which all greeds
Do swirl and laugh.

Rise up suffrage
From the dead,
Thrown under
Busses in blue
And also the red,
I do not need a uterus
To be this much misled.

I would rather chew
My own ear off
Than align myself
To the greater and
The lesser of these two evils.
I have fooled myself
As much as their
Legerdemain
Fooled me, but now aware,
And no longer scared,
In writing we will find
Our liberty, I have said,
So rise up,
Rise up suffrage,
And bring out your dead.

Annealed



Out from ice I hauled my heart,
Cauterized rings on my fingers,
Crimson crevasse, I restart,
The smell of smoke still lingers.

End of words, which subjugate,
My soul took shape before me,
I stood before an hour late
To know the snow and sea.

I peered back over the open lip,
Chaotic astral origins, be true,
Looking over my shoulder did slip
My ghost all ripped and blue.

And my soul took his place in my chest,
A precipice there was sealed;
That healing forest, I take my rest,
Within a blizzard annealed.