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.

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.

Subliminal Hooks

Dreams are hung on sunbeams,
Out in a garden to dry,
Steam I have seen rising,
Subliminal hooks in the sky;
Ancient as an argument
While no one remembers why.

There is an unseen world
Within my organs, my tubers,
Where moving creatures thrive:
Spermatozoa,
Micro-organisms,
Carnivores in disguise.
Should my body burst
Like a vodka-soaked melon
Standing in only my socks
In a hosted dream
In your backyard,
Please do not wake me up.

I wonder how far into madness
We can stray before it is
Too late to return.

Over the river
They have set seven festival fireworks off.
I heard applause, distant,
A languorous dog breathes
In my ear and tells me
Life is not for living;
Her voice is husky and
Her beard is coarse;
And i wonder whether all those moments
Are locked, unchangeable,
Or if variants spin and gather
Like a Catherine Wheel
In a clear night sky.

Somewhere then, I am worse off;
I would return to that place
Though not at that one time –
There’s too much pain in the host,
And the river there offers nothing,
But sinners floating, and ghosts.

On Homelessness

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a roof for my head.

In truth, those cold stars
Kill men with their draught;
Stratospheric, crystal glass.

I knew a man who died that way,
On a bench rain-soaked
In a well-loved park;

Several cars had slowly passed,
Narrow tailgate margins;
I didn’t have the heart.

He started somewhere far apart;
So much at sea drifts
Listlessly from where our hands

With a planetary love did chart,
Yet Truth has no use for straw
Or for bars, nor Justice, too,

Constantly miscarrying,
She chews on rue like
An ancient Appalachian goat

And her rivers are in my bones
And bath. In the long grass
I lay there waiting, in hiding,

Until the shadow of my self
My life, flew slowly,
Silently above those hills,

A giant airborne stingray,
Inexplicable, mythical,
I cried at the sight of my

Childhood loss. Returning
To my humble shed from roaming
Through my gloaming spirit-loft,

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a pillow for the lonely.

Withering

I woke within sounds appalling,
Crow caws on my pillow mourning;
Rolling over, window-way,
Found jackdaw claws on the other;
Jaundiced wallpaper,
Sunlight slithers,
Only believing such dust
From their claws are withered.

Sell my books, sell the lot,
Donate my bones to charity shops;
Do one thing well, no polyglots,
Place my plea in a local plot;
Gasoline dreams, gardenia rot,
I woke in a dream I then forgot.

Topaz

Underneath two ribs
Of a lunar-like mountain
You exist.

Underneath incipient
Residual intent they buried
With ritual laments,

With your future there
Scattered, Time’s amulets
Mattered, these grimly

Iridescent moments
Stuck in weathered endgame
Frames of dunes and rocks,

Like emerald in oil,
Like a child when locked
Within the habitual dragon’s eye,

Though you cannot burst through
To our labours of today,
However much we may wish

And no matter how much
We think about this,
There, you exist.

I travel to that mountain,
Dull-brown slopes
Smooth and exposed

By denial, or worse,
Colluding through
The exclusion of truth,

The Athabaskan sun.
In my mind sometimes,
Touching barren surfaces,

The inner host’s recipient,
Tomb of an empty womb
Imprinted in my thumb.

Amethyst gates to a park
Stay resolute and fast,
By hematite chains, padlocks

And the timings of hearts,
Some are beating here still,
And some we can’t restart.