Scylla

Sea-millipede hair,
Ocean groundhog mare
And coral-hog stare,
Mouldy Gorgonzola-stench
Infused and clenched
Into the newly drenched
Visions of whalers
As they sail too near
To her slowly growing
And highly attuned ears,
Two harpoons in array
Aimed from the back of
Her thoracic majesty
Towards their deepest fears,
Ironic demise, inevitably.

I dreamt of this revenge
Bare chested in my bed,
Possibly to escape from the thought
That I am the cause
Of my own death.

In this way,
This is why I stay anchored
Under my duvet all day.

I Give The World Back To Nature

I give the world back to nature;
A waxwing with a breast of songs
Calibrates my credences,
Re-writes years of wrongs.

If gnostics, also stoics feared,
Divined this branch’s end,
What other laws acceded to
Make tools for our amends.

I give the world back to nature:
Conjugate, Platonic fox –
Milk may curdle, wood will rot –
As brambles smother brickwork clocks.

All my beliefs retreat in nature,
Moorland horses, forest boars;
Language seldom for relief
Nor remedies the source.

I watched a guru wash a lake,
His oily face was aged and cragged;
Flowing ocean, growing marsh,
Have me slowly backwards dragged.


Polyphemus

Bareback-riding blue whale stars,
Stirrups smelted fishing scars,
In his grip, sea-scimitars,
Poseidon’s hooves in necklace jars.

Poseidon’s blood his tattoo-paint
Across his nose and briny face,
Proteus blind, a drowning saint,
These brutish oceans will embrace.

Reins abrasive, totems clutched,
Trident eyes tell of a place
Where skin’s by sun so rarely touched,
Where islands sank without a trace.

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.

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.

Damoclean

Lifelong I have walked in sole-bare shoes,
With the trapdoor of my thoughts
I am going through,
Like an inverse Damoclean sword,
Like a parapet above a bamboo pit,
Each stake sharpened
By your silence as wide
As a black hole’s gingival abscess
Or a behemoth’s grin.

I walk with a shadow
Owned by self-sabotaging indiscipline,
Infrequent in me, your company,
I trod the floorboards while you
Flossed your wolfbane teeth
With cider-froth and
Complacency.

Only lately,
That lateral door’s secured
By love,
A love that endures
Longer and more fast set
Than a Trappist’s bloodstone whetting,
More than the Gordian knot
Where once we tied to dogwood
In this self-same moment
An ageing satrap’s ox;
And I, my love,
I will no longer drop.

Symptomatic

Is this world both one and true
As that within my mind,
From Argonauts, Thelassian crew,
A golden fleece to find.

I felt the sea the same,
That gentle Aegean lapping;
Did Peloponnesian navies tame
The inlets I am mapping.

Or is this landscape’s manifest
From minds divested only;
Symptomatic, I am a guest,
Devoid of fleet and lonely.

Don’t pity me, a juvenile,
These sands and weeds aren’t homely.
Owned by ones I could not find,
Wandering lost and lonely.

Isabella

We loved in a realm
For spirits reserved,
Though if this residency
Permitted permanence
I could not tell.
Perhaps it was supposed
To be a turbulent
Temporal visit, until you
Punctured me three times
With love and said I should
Dismiss all thoughts and
Earthly worries, and
Deposit our hearts in the
Underground streams
Which feed the willows
And lawns of Surrey.

The wounds were in me still,
So you coated my coma
With love like a varnish;
How time must tarnish
And blemish and steal!
I blushed in my sleep
While you blew the cobwebs
From my dry and dusty body
And my lungs were refilled.
What I lacked, you crafted;
What I did not know, you thrilled
Me with impossible, vertiginous
Stories beside our windowsill
Where we merged our words
And when I awoke annealed
In a different Time
And different world,
My Isabella, our bones repealed,
I found my soul in your soul sealed.

Libertas / Columbia

There is verdigris
Where copper plates
And audiences

With top hats
And massive moustaches
Used to be,

The great weights
Welded pre-Dreyfus
Excommunications

Shielded your aorta
And encased liberty
Before the disease.

Now ferry-fetched
Tourists who delight
In the Bedloe Island

Greenery tag you
On Instagram veneries
Whilst unknowing

Of your origins
In the patisseries
Of sculptors

In Paris and
Amsterdam, and your
Expedition in bonds

On barges, in parts;
Locals flocked
To riverside paths

To cheer you off;
Ceremonies, champagne
Bottle shards bobbled,

Magnums, Jeroboams,
Signifying nothing
In the frothy water.

They did not endure
Your journey over
The Atlantic blight,

Now tourists flock
Like a mazurka
Of seagulls;

New frock,
Statuesque,
In that capital

Men use coins
For the crossings
Which also turn to green.

In time, perhaps their
Souls do too,
As they stand and salute

In front of a diluted
Version of you,
On an island

Of the self,
On a sheet of green,
By a European shop window.

Swan Song

This is how it begins,
Because everything is
Born from beginnings;
From alpha hatchlings
To supplements of omega,
Although one is not
Necessarily completely
Distinct from the other.
Even the Miseries of Achlys
Were initiated and embossed
On the bronze shields
Of Athenian hoplites,
Before Time made remedies
In the form of Poetries,
And reminded me of
The birth of sorrows
Growing like
Bone marrow
Inside me.

It takes form
Like honeysuckle
Seedlings,
Which we may mistake
At first sight
For pervasive weeds;
A season later and
The fragrances fill the
Nostrils of bees
And the space taken
By souls we remained
Quite oblivious to,
When in reveries
On sun-soaked lawns
In June. It pollenates
On the tide of a Muse
Who exudes the words
And the words turned into
The life of poets,
Prior to their
Metamorphoses
For swans reborn.

Painful, humid days
Swept away by prevailing
Blustery trespasses
Of outlaws from
Atlantic squalls
Bring rainfall.
Sometimes the downpour
Is sufficent, Muse-willing,
And the songs of the rain
Are recorded as they land,
And some we give to the fields
And the valleys,
The water table’s replenished
From the peaks,
So that we can
Return to the springs
And the streams and feel
Inspired again.

These days,
Do not write if not
To unify something
Whether the schisms
Within you, or the
Disagreements of a family
Of nations, something
To chime with the
Pendulum of your soul.
Do not write unless
It terrifies someone,
Whether yourself, the poet,
Or someone who would
Rather mute the swans
Of their language,
Shackled on a
Stagnant pond
Of compliance.
Better to write something
And have authenticity,
Your poetry will flourish,
Than keep the words inside
As someone else’s charity.