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.

Incidental

Surfeit of loneliness.
Meditating cursively;
I found him thriving
In my surf-marrow,
Hollow as a sparrow’s
Dulled midnight blinks,
Loneliness to end
All lonelinesses,
Searched for and found,
Pure, eternal loneliness.
Friendships shed
Like ended skin
Akin to showmanships
Before a circle closes.
A Higgs Boson loneliness,
Citculating endlessly
Until I resurface
Within entropies
Until they multiplied,
And see them,
See how they sink
Their teeth.

Ngurrumugu Ganbi

Adolescent kangaroo,
Outgrown mother’s pouch,
Pack of dingoes in pursuit,
His gawky form falls out –
Upside down, furry snout.

A wilderness deserts him,
Blind to why, though atavistic
Legs might kick, defensive surge,
Unprotective mobs disperse;
Understorey blending blood
With senna and sun-soaked gorse.

Fugitives found a fleeting feast.
Did you only exist –
Immaturity barely behind you –
So you could fix
The minds of beasts.


N.B In the Guugu Yimithirr language ngurrumugu ganbi translates as ‘kangaroo blood’.

Empty Jug

My mind on a table
Like a bare empty jug,
Portmeirion ewer,
Red matching mug.

Welsh dressers behind me;
Pine shelving captures
Low autumn light,
Meticulously managed

Commemorative dishes
And lilac bone china –
Beside me, a bowl
For imported delights.

Periwinkled rims,
Porcelain basins
Brimming with season –
Apples, squash and

Hawthorns for jelly,
Trim spindles for reasons
In Bible quotations
And needlework hymns

Sewed by our Nelly
Blessing the bins –
A dawn frost already,
Hair starting to thin.

A door in the corner
To a deep pantry leads –
I can’t turn the handle
Or let myself in.

Iron pots, cupreous pans,
Hung high across a range,
Everything brightly polished
Because I polish every day.

Abandoned baguettes,
Gavaged pâté delivered,
Braces of pheasants,
Gifts from Our Giver.

The party returns
Merry, lighthearted,
Mine still burns
For one less departed,

With tales of heroics,
Gusto and laughter,
For love of their flush,
Unmet ever afters.

Until then – only echoes,
Hall clock chiming three,
I filled up the jug
With milk for their tea.

P Versus NP

Might I dream that I can see
All pathways laid out clearly,
For life and death are industries
Without a prize for nearly.

Do we all resign to bed
Believing in this age instead,
Oblivious to a night ahead,
Or am I by my age misled.

For life and death are mysteries,
P v NP – problem unanswered,
Solution out from histories,
God is not a dancer.

A Painted Sign In Green

Pool-black thoughts,
He moves through doors,
A scent of herbs,
Descending spores,
Trace evidence
Of cloven-footed
Carnivores.

Waiting for a call;
A scratch on the wall,
A cuneiform.

In a dream a donkey
Beat me with a stick,
Berated me with flehmen lips
For eating grass
(He said was his)
From pastures therein dwindling
And with the evening kindling
I pointed with my thoughts
To where three days before
A painted sign in green
Had clearly said to me:
‘Welcome, Pilgrims,
Rest Awhile Your Feet,
The Hay And Harvest Here
Is All That You Can Eat’.

A Birthday

I forgot about you today.
That is not true.
That is another oxymoron.
But I did not know what to say
And all my candles are blue.

I forget about you most days.
That is not true.
I reused a tealight this morning.
And yet, it does make for an easier way
To dismiss all that you did

And did not do.
There is sometimes no greater gift
Than memory. Deny it,
Not even to refine it,
And grown men panic

And split themselves in two.
There was a future form of you;
We did not meet, touch, or approve.
And yet, sometimes it is so much more
Helpful to forget a resemblance,

Where dreams become punishment,
And hope is meted in knots,
And comfort in blots of confusion,
And when there is more hindrance
By remembrance consumed.

Tuesday Morning Observations At The Supermarket

“Give him milk to make him sick”
A gravelly-throated grandmother spoke,

I chose this wrong time
To hear choking from the other end

Of her connection, waiting to pay
For pharmaceuticals and confectionery.

Disabused queue, end of the line,
Kissing in public is frowned upon;

Improbable healthcare professionals
Talking behind me, irresponsibly,

Garrulous, gaseous
Logorrheic overspills

About a young female client
Pleading with herself to kill

If she could just have seven pills.
I heard their saturnine eyes rolling.

We all have our conditions;
Some degrade us,

Some deceive and some distill,
I stood blankly at the automated till

Because all the alerts had run out.
In a patriarchal society

Fecund machines are bestowed
With women’s names

Or pronouns used pejoratively;
Olivia, Marion, Emily.

It reminded me of a former colleague,
Cigarette-blonde hair and eyes

Like falling rain, deceased,
Cancer grabbed her and drowned her

So quickly her doctor
Did not have time for prognoses,

Akin to a storm unforecasted
Or a cast of crabs

Swarming on a tourist beach,
Dragging her into the sea.

Less and less people are wearing
Poppies of the season because

More and more are forgetting –
I met a man who went to war

And nobody wore a flower at all.
Departing the store, someone

Walking four and a half seconds
In my wake is singing words

He heard on the supermarket radio
And I want to find a way

To travel between two worlds,
Suture the irreversible wound,

Turn on a kettle,
Welcome myself home.

On the way, however,
I drove by a broken-down car,

Middle lane, hazard lights,
Annoyance of drivers,

And I observed to my horror
A shell of that disillusioned client

Moments after she did what she had to.
I later learned her name

Was and still is somewhere
Miriam.