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.

Karyotype

Trapped in illusions
I myself have caused,
This world continuously
Seeping people as
Exfoliants strip us all
From its existential pores;
I do not want your phones,
I do not want your cars,
I want to be alone,
I want to be unadored.

These thoughts, then,
With contours like enormous
Connected isopleths
Conformed, in time,
To new rhubarb leaves
In my compost-sodden borders,
They themselves shaped
Like a huge rose-breasted
Bird’s throne, although
The red-throated male
Reincarnated and his chair
Became fit only for
A cutpurse with enemas,
For that’s what rhubarb
Is best-known for, a purge,
Or repurposed and reworked
Rhubarb-threads into
The hem of a green dryad’s
Arboreal wedding dress.

Obscene protusion,
How thoughts appear,
A universe’s canula
Dripfeeds iodine,
Feeds my vernacular,
Suppresses my dreams
In false vanillas.
Yet this annual resplendent
Explosion of rhubarb
Reminds me of reasons
And the seasons encoded
For this existence’s
Unknowable purpose,
And in that singular moment
I wanted a phone,
And I wanted a car,
I did not want to be alone,
And I would have travelled
No matter how far,
In that moment reborn
As The Stone Roses sang,
I wanna be adored,
Drifting through into
My waking thoughts,
A garden party next door,
A tournament match,
I woke with seccateurs
Held in my left hand,
Needle in vinyl,
Seeds upon grass.

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.

Unencumbered

I have no misgivings
That Life is for the Living;
Go forth with your luminous

Lustrous and flourishing
Heart! You are the beginning
For so much cherished and loved.

There is nothing so urgent
As the higher sirens unencumbered
Proclaiming emergencies above.

You are the dock leaf
To my meadow-nettle sting,
Salve urticarial rashes;

You are cotton-light soul
To fill such holes
Within my spirit-dwelling;

You are in my tested toll
And heavy eyes at nine o’clock,
Drifting asleep in the old armchair

Where once you sat and sang to me
Until the next alarm. Know this:
Just because I am gone

Does not mean you are lesser loved –
Do not believe all you are told,
Do not descend a buried half;

Do not be deceived
By pre-constructed episcopies,
Do not settle for their losses;

If something is free
Then you may be the product

Of consumerist albatrosses;

And when the expurgating racists
Run our ruinous parliament
It’s time to move abroad.

Life’s a little better unscripted,
A little less choreographed
For the garlands in your heart;

Regardless, I cannot yet
Apologise for the pieces in our
Backwards path those others broke

So long ago, a squandering,
Anonymous in their parts
And we are stranded, poles apart.

Another ending is a start;
For eternity you will be
The finest creation I could conceive,

Yet Death again is stalking me,
And though I called numbers
Their manual did not include

My quicksand thoughts, and I
Become his maddening habit,
He takes comfort in my residency,

The rest is just formalities.
I cannot forestall the inevitable,
I cannot distract tomorrow

From chasing the tail of
Its sadness in gardens of
Summer sun-drowned lambs;

All I can do is remind you of truths
Ever preserved in this poem,
For how proud of you, my son, I am.

No One Here Will Now Rejoice

No one here will now rejoice,
Standing at your place of rest,
Mellifluous music lost its voice
With secrets in your chest.

Your breath had softly pressed
A flower for love to linger;
In my dreams you’re still caressed,
A ring’s still on your finger.

This may be my one last visit,
Horror’s living longer;
Torrid, turbulent, once exquisite,
What kills me makes me stronger.