Pyrena

All the processed meals
And all the steady cravings;
All those times I’d mostly feel
My esurient sense of failing;
All these glands within me
Like silkworms masquerading,
Blind their burrow-mouths must be,
These ever-unworldly sensations;
Saliva in my pancreas
And bilious in my breathing;
Memories bladder-manacled
To strangely knotted bleachers
From where I sat once witnessing
Impassively, all my days receding;
With those who would abuse me
Only then, to obliterate
And smash these blistered benches –
Refuting my existence,
My purpose; those perpetrators,
Those missing old soul-eaters.

Incomprehensibly then,
Such totalities
And inexplicable mythologies,
I step out from shadows
Framing my toxic profligacy
With rhododendron, rose
And briar-choking ivy
Bordering my inadequacies
Made tangible from the tacit,
Born out from yellowed ivory.

How odd, I reflected
In afternoon relapses,
That our connections,
These mysteries,
Regardless neither of
Cooling distances
Nor cold absences which only show
Just how much we know
Each other’s oldest ossified routines
As we trespass through boundaries
Only then, again and kneaded again,
Transposed into our folded selves,
Our living sea.

Natasha Renewed

You were the envy of centuries,
Your love the unplundered loot
Under plum-coloured helmets
From mud-lusty Danes of Harthacnut.

You moved into a house
On a slope (made hazardous,
I imagine, by frost and ice
That yet must be a long way off
Along another horizon),
Next door to my grandmother
Who rested dutifully
In the annex
(Like an old mole
Upon your jawbone,
You resigned yourself
To her perspiring presence)
Carved from a former saloon
Where of an afternoon she snoozed
While keeping vouchsafed in a jar
Her one last sandstone tooth.
O how a home that could not exist
Yet appear with a simple veneer
Much like any other rooted
On this strange village street,
The only difference being
When you opened the door
There was nothing beyond
A jaded porch, lavender
And heather turned to dust
Along with dried
Forget-me-nots and
Compass points made moot.
You had changed your name,
I do not know why,
To Natasha, your eyes
As wide as a frontier
Where swirled surprise
And regret in those glass bowls
Once burning like calderas,
And in your hands
Scentless celeriac,
Cauliflower florets
And a head of herring.
Somewhere along the line
You bought eggs from a garage
In a parallel place and time.
At the very extremeties
Of our dormant love,
I knew too late to appreciate
That which I could never touch,
Neither ending nor the essence.

This dampening dream-like nature,
A long green duffel coat and hair
Once vibrant as sunsets
Over Mediterranean ports
And on to far Aden
And golden Sharjah,
Cities we knew a long time ago,
Now grey as a downpour in May
With a woodland scarf,
A husband – I could not meet his eyes –
Two children and my phone
Running low of charge
Like my soul, which is why
I step through my dreamcatcher
To wherever you are present,
Mapless, stateless revenant,
In a rendezvous pretences,
Preferring to be this lost,
I would rather be surrounded
By all those silent deaths above
Than tortured by the humdrum sounds
Of life removed from your love,
Modern and irrelevant.

Gravitate

You gravitate towards
A sadder song,
Ended the being
Where you would not belong,
Hurts to return
And hurts to move on;
Autopilot, Rubicon.

Sometimes, insurmountable
Are these feelings
To survive
An eggshell minute;
To contemplate
Is too much pain,
This world without you
Fingerprinting
Permissible limits.

Sadder, yes,
For if only you lived
To know the joy
In light you sought
And thought beyond
All your perceptiveness,
All your intelligence,
Instead, permeated and bled,
Permeates to this day
With all such grace
And truly intangible poise
Of miracles, abundantly
Transfusing through
Everything we did and yet can do,
In this safely stored-up knowledge
Would you still have demurred,
The abdicator absconded.

Valedictions

Valedictions for you,
We do not accede;
Valedictions for you,
Nor do we recede;

None superseded,
None to subscribe,
No more spun your wool
For pulling our eyes;

No souls contorting
For far-faulted causes,
No more conforming
Under horse-trammeled forces.

Valedictions for you,
No longer we thrive,
Only lessons unlearned
For liars survived.

Azalea Eyes

I am resigned into being
Terrified by Time,
A body ageing before my life,
Tendrils thwarting limbs entwined,
Elongating through nostrils
Conducive to a waking mind.

With azalea eyes
This day is the same day
As forever and a moment;
The contents, mostly illusory,
Dilatory, dissatisfies;
We sometimes see a fleeting glimpse
In passing of what would later
Become dislodged
And permanently broken,
Acknowledging all we always knew
But which was never spoken.

Samphire Coast

I was made, long ago,
Stirred in a broth
Of pigeon legs
And prisoner bones,
To carry on my back
Weighted packs
Of ingredients tossed
In plastic entrapments;
A jar of pain, like star anise,
Hurt, like saffron,
And for loss, lovage,
Samphire coastlines
And a bay leaf
Or two spared from a frost.
I make my payments in salt,
Mostly, though sometimes
Also in a love that’s lost;
How easy it seems
To touch the golds of this
Inadequate ductile god.
All this explains why
I peddle the boards
With eternal spinal loads,
And why I am magnetised
To saddest folk songs only;
Miasmic mallow the marsh –
A spacious, sacred place
To autograph my heart.

Slowly The Silenced Soil Awakes

Slowly the silenced soil awakes
In great uncoilings of morning;
With heated blades their gas escapes,
Funneled from a foreign space,
A foamy, loamy environ
Beneath this heathy earth
Where truths are boiling in cauldrons
And with sediment recoiling.
Up here, for now at least,
Cold air, hoar frost,
Joggers puffing underneath
Skies as thin and grey
As dreams in a mute swan’s fleece;
Dog-walkers convene
With latent conversation,
Still wearing knitted hats,
Last year’s scarves
And woollen gloves,
Their feet patting paths
Like rain-charming starlings –
Only, the worms that emerge
Are solemn words reverberating
From our lost and lonely interred,
Their vapour trails rising
As blinding reminders;
The weeds and moss
As speechless as froths
Of periwinkle –
Embosser of Murderous Time –
And snowdrops huddled
Within a darkening corner,
Nervous, fragile ambassadors
Held fast to those Masts of Time;
Spring’s contract is unfettered
And these vernal lows are bettered;
The Goddess of Dawn stretches
Indolently, and is yawning
Before her audience
Begin their eternal dance.