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.

A Solitary Oystercatcher

A solitary oystercatcher’s cry
Found my likewise mind;
Migratory, too far inland,
From my distant depths
I couldn’t discern meanings,
No matter how much I tried
To orthographically identify
And arrange taxonomies,
Avian alphabets and
Seventeen semantics,
The range and extent
Between an urgent alert
And a call to act
Was lost on me.

In isolation
We are not unique,
Nor our abandonment;
Despite a thousand words
For loneliness
I made much the same sound
From my fish-mottled beak
On returning from work,
On falling asleep.

On The Banks Of The Pripyat River

That Galatian draper
Of parthenogenetic
Golden grapes
And apples of sapphire,
Oceans of lapis lazuli
Divined in her eyes
The mother of Aphrodite,
Born from waters high
Beyond heaven,
The tortuous waters
In stellar torrents
From braided brushed hair
In plaits which cascaded
Like Venezuelan or blushed Kenyan Falls
Down the hellebore back of
Our great Goddess Gaia,
With a samphire-scented brace
The ancients traced to their doom
In primordial hazelnuts festooned
About her neck, and seven
Phoenix eggs a grandson
Stowed from Yemen,
Born from fragrant desire
In such fecundity, such abundance
With celestial semblances
Impressioned in seven arches
Of her firmament above me,
Sufficient for holding up heaven,
With new advances in
Seminal-fermenting broth
Resolved in a garland of yawns
And languorous delicate touch
To spare her first-born’s tubers,
And so with a delicate cough
Which paradoxically would snuff out a
Kindred thickness of stars
By their redundant, hapless wicks,
(And from where pinnate-plants
Bore the name of Cosmos
In their penance),
Expunge black holes,
Drain oceans from skies
With catholicised taste,
Poured her boy’s illness from a
Terracotta urn
To secure his safe arrival
From shores of the leprosy-coast,
There he had sojourned with all those lame
And all those made infirm by wars
And misadventures; and their survival
The entertainment for their progeny,
There are two things we have observed
About the foibles of men
And their disciples –
Firstly, that they never learn,
And secondly their egos are
By nature never sated,
And they always get
What they deserve
From the immortal populous
Of Nemesis and Comeuppance,
And the Goddess of Depreciation
Turned to me and lifted
A curtain of dawn choruses
And spoke with thelytokous words
She counted three;
I have no enmity with truth
And far be it for me to displease
A Goddess with a neck and depths of
Merriment and pleasure that,
If She chose, She could make a man
Immortal, although she pledged instead
To deny this atavistic talent.

And so this is why men existed,
Unfathomable predilections
Became a habit, and the cloak
Of the floating planets unwound
The charred distress, the ancient
Razing of rivers and forests,
All to preserve the life blood
Of her son with pleurisy
And tuberculin
As wide as the winter in Chernobyl.



Virgola Pergola

Virgola, questa è la mia ode a te,
Ladro di spazio e tempo
Annidato tra costrutti più solidi,
Gambe di lettere e pilastri
Di parole e cuneiformi
Che senza di te
Suonerebbe assurdo.
Una goccia di inchiostro, una macchia,
Inalando prima del preferito
Riverberi di avverbi
Che non può essere differito
E non sarà contestato;
A volte rosso come il petto
Del pettirosso nella boscaglia,
Chi, dice la leggenda
Ha ottenuto tinture nel petto
Dal bagno nelle acque insanguinate
Del nostro Signore crocifisso.

Edenless / Endless

A lioncub played with hyenas
And complained
When they laughed
At his pride;
And a cuttlefish caught in nets
When striving to retreat
In longcoat-lines
Is poor man’s salmon disguise;
And a sparrowhawk’s
Airborne shortening,
Quickening breath
In the heat of the heart
Of a wasp nest demise;
These creatures died
With a startled sharpness
Keener than their births
And the girdle
Of this whole earth
In their eyes,
All are victims more to mankind
And man’s disease of language,
And man’s demeaning mind,
To subjugate, and classify;
Nature is nature’s intent alone,
There’s no greater or lesser divide
Than between you and I,
So I won’t be so shocked
When I rest my sore head
On an Edenless bed,
Aspic words preserve the lie.

Innings

All this time I’ve been sinning,

an unknown will was winning
I wreathe my own self with regret.

It was ever this way, beginning
To end, where the word innings
Is used by Englishmen in debt

To euphemisms, tongue-pinning;
Now their relevance is thinning,
Notes on a plummeting language.

When they say ‘ he had a good innings‘,
This means dutybound death’s spinning
Through the roof of our anguish.

Yellowfin bellies, sashimi de-finning,
Abbatoir beating-belts are skinning
But sin is how I’m scarred by a knife.

All this time, ever since my sinning,
That devil down there may be grinning,
My inheritance is only my life.


Someone Else’s Song

I heard the end of your song
Before you finished singing;

I found the end of my life
Before I finished living.

Now I’ve been singing someone’s song,
Their words in my mouth, verbatim,

And over time their phrases replaced
Everything I had forsaken;

Routed out, vicarious mouth,
Only my soul’s voice was not taken.

Comfort Del Sud

Quale uomo a sangue caldo non poteva confessare
A te che sei l’imperatrice divinamente erotica.
Ho imparato l’italiano solo per riprodurre i suoni
Del tuo bel corpo nella mia bocca,
Possa io invocare la dea minore dell’amore
Per mostrarmi le vie del sud
Dove vivremmo in tempi tranquilli e altri
Riottosa esaltazione dei frutti e delle agavi
Delle nostre fatiche, e alza un bicchiere
Al tuo grande cuore e alle labbra morbide,
Perché in questa compagnia troviamo la nostra beatitudine.

Ode To A Wife

In my next life
There’ll be no such concept
As husband and wife,
All will have been addressed,
Thoroughly rectified.

No more paternalistic
Nomenclature,
No man-made linguistics
Where women are subject
By pronoun or clause, and

Where the word woman occurs
In Middle English, wife of man,
But people stand as they are
Not based on gender
Or bodies and bodily functions

But on our own higher terms,
Individual and unified
By more appropriate words.
Why societies do not challenge
More often customs and

Collective idiosyncrasies
From the centuries prior,
I’ll never be able to learn.
That said, if you wanted me to,
I’d kneel for you, my love.

No-one ever says the phrase
In English wife and husband,
And yet why ever not;
Because for centuries the man
Was all a woman got.