Ode To My Son

Do not count our losses
Like loose blue beads that save;
Though bruisewort and wild mosses
Overwrought my daily grave,
In your deeds I only see
Hope devoid of hegemony,
And how a heart embosses.

Those fathers who fulfil their duty
Know the mark of every day;
Self-assured, and inner beauty,
You are both the prayer and way.
In your deeds I only see
That I made you and you made me,
Undismayed by aged mutiny.

If I revived myself to life undone,
Though they recant such powers,
I’d expunge the knife and shun,
Take rain from May-time showers.
In your future we will find
Solutions for my weaker mind;
Happy Father’s Day, my son.

Hepatic

Same thoughts,
Get over it
The counsel said,
Belly-brewed
Within a witch,
When she stirs
I start to twitch,
When I twitch
I start to think,
Gears will shift
And skin will itch.

Same thoughts,
Same day,
I was born
To be betrayed,
I was born
To know the stray.
Why this cursed,
I cannot say.

Death herself is
More or less
Conceptual,
Somewhat experiential,
A bruising myth
Handed from fathers
To their children
Like unwanted gifts;
Ushered in,
Silencing,
Rather than die
For certainties
I fly on a whim
That skims
Weatherfronts
In the far Hesperides.

Flatlining,
Drowned by
Duck-stooling
And cajouling Fate,
Stateless sister
Wearing midwinter,
A bleakly
Wielded and
Formidable
Conglomerate,
Unreformed and
Strange
Opponents.

One of my
Hispanic
Diseased
Hepatic
Blackened
Dragons
Is emerging in my
Synaptic troughs,
This one headed with
You are not good enough‘.
His thoughts are in crimson,
There are eels in his blood;
When he moves, I tend
To expend
Entire mornings lost
Watching windscreen wipers
Swiping in the same
Parking lot
I mentioned before.

Death is whittled
On whetstones of Time,
Sharp bladed Time,
And I am frightened
Of a place that is final,
A place definitively
Made without rhyme.

No Way Back

Forever will it be the case
That those I love most deeply

Are not the ones most likely
Dissipating in vague apparitions

To be missed every long grey
Overcast day.

When Love and Loss entwine
Through ramshackle

Outback outposts
In my abandoned mind

One suffocates the other
Until there is only ivy,

No jasmine for fragrance,
No berries for wine;

A vast and dusty plain ahead,
My road home, my signposts

Disappeared without a trace,
And I am standing here,

A village sank in sand
But gravestones remain standing

Throughout a land made parched
And perilous, so very long ago.

Interstate / Intestate

Is my soul conceptual?
Is my soul pre-occupied,
If my soul exists at all?
Like foetus feelings in a womb
I heard her moving
To a tune, or maybe
I can explain this all
As simply a rumour or two.

Midnight driving,
Interstate,
All the lights askew.

Dear soul, if I neglected
You, I will provide my
Penance, armistice
From parlances of daily
Dues, and I am certainly
In deficits accrued.
Next time around,
I hope that there is one
True guide to growing,
Nurturing and
Preserving you.

Meanwhile, intestate,
I remain convinced that
Souls of Popes
Are one same great weight
As souls within
Our populous deprived,
The homeless and
The destitute.

But for now, dear soul,
There’s nothing more
I’d say from my deep
Emptiness and sorrow,
No, nothing more
That I could do.

Water Slide

We enter by a dark
And elevated chamber;
People do this, apparently,
For their own entertainment.
Yet atop those chlorinated
Steps where re-used water
Pours back down rusting
Spiral stairs beyond where
Semi-naked people stare
Up towards me
Or at least the
Approximation
Or vicinity of me
Expectantly and patient,
I have nothing to give.
Instead, I observed
On this heady pilgrimage
A phlegmy edge of
Chewing gum,
Masticated and
Impressed behind this
Aluminium balustrade
I cannot touch.
An English teacher
Some thirty years ago
(Although I recall
This moment as if
Furloughed by Time and
Just further below
A moment ago), expounded
On how gum survives
Within large intestinal
Tracts for three years
Or more, which he imparted
As a matter of fact,
And though that Mr E.
Is now deceased and outlived
By you and I and all
Those innocent eyes
On those rows below me,
All I know is how
He used to pull me by
My ear until my ear
Then reddened, and there
And then, my soul was
Deadened. He also said
Or instead proclaimed
That should you drink
From water fountains
Within the central city,
That very same fluid had
Reduced and sluiced through
Eight other bodies already.
From where I am standing,
Inner tremblings
Vertiginously,
There is little difference.
So in this hellish place
I find amalgamations
Of my two severest fears:
Water, and the populous
Within this easy confluence.

For a vast majority
Upon this downward
Uncontrolled trajectory
Where I am shouting
With all my internalised
High cacophonies
They are having fun
And bless them yes
They are laughing.
Buffeted from side to side,
Elbows bruised,
Points confused,
My soul paramedics
On standby, they know well
I create and decorate
My private forms of
Self-inflicted torture.

Far north from here,
The heavy skies of Scotland
Brew a murder or two,
Or at sixes and sevens,
Whilst I am thrust from
The open mouth
Of a rusty and very
Asthmatic serpent
Into this new heaven.

The Empty Chest

Pity those you left behind
From your fifteenth circle;
Sighted yet by you left blind,
We wear these robes in purple.

Grieve for those who unlike you
Refused to die through choice;
All moments ever lost anew,
Death sings without a voice.

Warm yourself with winter cloaks,
Sincerely, I hope that you do;
No hearts here carved on homely oaks,
No candles for the untrue.

Some loss cannot be quantified
No matter how we measured;
There are no numbers left to guide
To those we would have treasured.

Stepping Stones

River started, river ended,
Broken bridges never mended.

Plenty there to get through first,
Don’t know yet I’ve even seen the worst.

Brown water, light dappled,
Twisting trees and rotten apples.

Ice, thaw, ice, more,
Rivers rise with bicycles,

Like canals in Amsterdam
Rise with fallen bodies.

I am someone’s story,
Someone else’s narrative,

And only on their stepping stones
Am I allowed to live.

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.