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.

Fever

Fever surged like tides anew;
Well, my father said fever
But mother said he was a heathen
And nothing more could be said
About him, or her, or you.

My cactus-needle fever swept
His scraping rake on the sands of my back,
My back a long-lost Zen garden
Surrended to thistles and to feverfew.
My beard is ten miles long,
My ears as hot as a south-Saharan tongue,
A mirage of Madeira and mechanical raining frogs.

My white blood cells fought in Malawi
Against some boys in blue,
Riotous and corruptive on safari
Around northern housing estates
Sunk in those grains, like an eye,
Like the truth. Next day
The fever broke to my relief,
Though not before my mother
Retrieved from the loft
A grip of dusty rosaries and
A worn sackcloth, each sweaty bead
Counted by the market seller
Who wore lavendar
At his cart of wares
On a distant Thursday afternoon
In Cairo, and also Khartoum.

Endless Moons

Your smile lights up your face,
Your face lights up a room,
Light this world around you.

For you are vibrant candle-life
And concomitant fuel;
Within that waxing we will find

There burns another two –
Red and orange flickers,
In Chinese Lantern hearts

My lungs like old balloons.
Tea-lights in these lotuses
Over lakes, beyond pontoons,

Causeways through a thousand
Tiny, endless moons,
A route, a moment in time,

A kiss made statuesque
Within my memory of you.
Your smile lights up your face,

Your face lights up a room,
And when the night has found its place
Your light’s inside me too.

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.

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.