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.

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.

Tuesday Mornings

Tuesday mornings, bright
Sunshine, as white as
Appallingly lupine teeth
On the necklace of Life,
And so I close my blind;
Outside, a recycling lorry
Cruises through this
Bluesy estate
Like a finless basking shark,
Filled with impending menace
But with no fish in its reach,
Turning in circles
Of bottles of bleach;
Oblivion surfaces, and
I recalled how most of our
Recycled plastics are shipped
To Malaysia, or Indonesia,
(Such is the warp in our media
That one death on our doorstep
Creates an outrage equivalent
To twelve thousand Uyghurs
Slaughtered, fathers, sons,
Mothers and daughters,
And so we are not at all
Infuriated by profits
To be made from a safely
Consumerist sham),
This in their saguine halls
They call the Local Angle,
I call it a derelection of
Empathetic humanity;
We are always shifting our problems
Around as though brushing
The ice of our collective
Societal conscience
Will push these Ailsa stones
Of our hope just beyond the bar;
The green bins are rumbling
With caterpillar emitics
As their stomachs are emptied;
The trouble with recycling
Lies in it’s false economics,
Some plastics are usable
Just twice and many are burned
Or buried – people most in denial
Are those who sing their party notes
The highest, and they are marching
With placards to back their
Kleptocracy and their
Oppresors who wear
Their wigs with pride,
And clip-on earrings with
Mother of pearl and gems
Translated as woebetide.
I am surrounded by ghosts;
I surrendered my soul so long ago
I forget what she should feel like.
She too was salvaged and reprocessed,
Yet I do not recall acceding to this,
Thrown into a blight where
In the night we are comandeered
And the worst-off disappeared,
Blessed are those left only
Disappointed.

I live in a world of the
Politically-appropriated woke
And their tokenistic gestures;
This last week a sportsman
With whites and willows was suspended
For racist language beffiting
Our idiocracy, only to be replaced
At the very next wicket
By an interchangeable
Transposed
Xenophobe;
Social media is an oxymoron.
We have international footballers
Being asked to consider
Not taking to the knee
In solidarity for our worldwide
Sisters and brothers
Because although they have been
Subjected to abuse for
This symbolism, this feeling,
So as not to offend those
Of this idiocracy no less,
Who took offence and in
The ample caverns of their minds
Transcended their affront into
The boos of the unevolved
Who thought their bleak
Cause more potent, more worthy,
Those from the grossly inflated
Self-imposed judiciary
Of moral impotence and rectitude,
While our Government of Pelicans
Introduced a Bill wherein they are
Proposing to traduce the aid we give
To reduce the hurt and pain we made
From Sana’a, and Aden, to Gaza
And on to Tripoli and Khartoum,
Not to mention Hong Kong,
Chittagong and everywhere else
Our forefathers with their
Bigotry and intolerance
And slavery and injudisciousness
Would tread on the neck
Of sovereignty, well, these people
Are still bleeding and our
Blessed parliamentarians
Are cutting the cord and
Cloth of humanity they said they spun,
A dress on the men disguising such brutality
There’s four billion sterling less
Dispersed to those we made worse off,
While the liver-gazers protest
At consecrations, statuesque,
Of those now deposed in rivers
Where on that barren plinth
The future racists and despots
Are already being sculpted.

The day we ask the careful
And the kind, the thoughtful
And considered, to moderate
Their conscience and their
Language and their actions
So as not to offend
The racists and the zealots
We may as well burn our books
And drown out all law-abiding people
We once demeaned and diminished.

I pulled up my blind using a Roman string.
The laughing, noisy workers had gone.
The sunshine still blinded,
So I pulled the blind back down,
Made a coffee, thought of times
I knew of human tears,
Went upstairs, undressed,
And fell asleep exhuasted
On my single bed
For a hundred thousand years.

The Reason For This Evening’s Tailback

Deathly onyx cold,
When the layering curse returns,
As it always will and still unfolds,
Ravenous, his satiation made
Impossible, implausible,
Bringing new brocaded covers
With images of his solace
Although its story is well told,
I then become cold to my bones
And proximity is no requisite
For shivering from his grimacing
Chtonic, unobvious presence,
Timeless and with flashing teeth
On gums of gangrene and mould.

In this grim palace
A choice is not a choice,
Any meaning is void
And made obtuse,
Made meaningless;
Debased, your imagination
Weighed the same as gold,
Which he bought, and
Which he melted to
Gild the dumbstruck throats
Of statues in his home.

Unwilling guest, dreaded party,
I had torn up his red invitation
But a taxi arrived regardless.
Now I am bound with his
Interminable shadows
While he plays a consummate host,
Debonair, with silverware,
He spins on a cane of liquified hope
And this bleak trope is complete,
Gone with all cares,
They were strafed from wastelands
And in his darkness I grope for
The one way home,
That one truth path
He scattered within
A million mascarading bluffs.

It would be akin
To climbing back in
To the belly of a dragon
Having seen the knight
From within eviscerate,
Daylight sharply juxtaposed
Between swordtip and entrails
As he slices me out.
No, life, sunshine, heroes,
No you don’t.
Put me back on the shelf,
On the bleak rib and distral ropes
Where gastric flames
Did many a stronger man well-roast
And more so, yes, than me.

So, then, these true happenings
(With heavy heart I am re-telling)
Are made manifest
In men driving their many cars,
(Cars they keep on selling),
Parked by central reservations –
Early evening drifting snow –
Tailbacks ensuing,
Vows for renewing,
And with nowhere left,
Nowhere left to go.

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.

Foxhole

Straggly sprouting rust-coloured roots
Define my vulpine life;
At dusk, I stare up from my earthy-bedded
Denizen, up this red tubular shoot
I dug out with my snout
To observe a dutiful Moon,
Rusty too, old ruby shoes,
With my paw I claw for an awful truth.
Distant Moon, you are unrepentant,
Occluded too,
And unlike most other liars
Have nothing to say that’s new.

Dark chute, daylight blues,
I rest my head on my outstretched legs
And watch the ostracised humans
Moving to work.
I once had whiskers of fire
And I would dream about you,
Fearless dreams, dead dreams
Starving mutual fuels of desire and truth.
Along with those roots there are
Long-buried plastics and also bones
From crones and a Viking tooth.
At times, it is stifling down here and
I have nothing left to chew.
Our litter, by some absurd urge
Of the Great Dictator Nature
All outgrew their rooms. Of course,
You were the apple of my eye
And I thought, I believed
Habitually, against my better sense,
Ritualistically, squeezed beneath a fence
That I could not live without you.
This was a lie, for whom Nature
And I inevitably colluded.

New bins, broken lids,
My nose is still the same as yours
(Although olfactorily mine is more highly
Evolved), and I am not immune
To crossing busy turnpikes
In the early evening light
In the hope, as thin as the unblinking
Eyelashes of Moon, dodging lorries,
That a car might careen
Through a new reality or two.

Ode To Loss

I missed my coast-path daily,
Habitual old rabbit-paw friends;
And daily my undressed heart is
Stopped, sunk and restarted.
This is why a government
Installed defibrillators
In disused telephone kiosks
In every town and village.
For Dear Lord knows
I was not born to enrich anything,
Nor with only obals to pay,
Those coal-pennies tied by my wrist;
Nor to be so opportunistic
In blustery thoughts
And deeds as unrobust
As the grounded rusty trawler
Rattling in abandonment
As to dismiss
My heritage. I am from
The northern fringe
Where death is expected
And life’s an acquired taste.
Spare me accusations
Of being awfully maudlin
Or as morose as those unfed mosquitos,
Lethargic beneath the cliff-top lamps;
The near-dread ghosts unappeased
On their deathbeds are
Entitled to lucid oaths
And tiptoed pleas.
What use is a coastline, anyway?
An edge, ellipse, an ending;
Good grief is not for mending.
In those silent dunes to our left
Just over your shoulder
A young boy died,
Tunnelling with plastic spades
The sands gave way to
Somewhere colder inside.
I carry that family’s sadness
Compassionately and completely
Yet without their approval
Or knowledge.
Unwanted gifts,
The authorities in joint-wisdom
Installed a wooden sign which reads
Non giocare su queste sabbie;
Back then I misinterpreted this
As do not live now or then again,
Not more than a day or two,
That’s all there is remaining.
And over there, beyond
Greenish sea-sump pools
With seaweed symphonies and
Cruel ghoulish-claws of June,
Is where that lad’s car
Fell fifteen metres down the scar
Then through lagoons
Only to reach its rest
Wedged between a dream
Or two. He survived;
A farmer’s daughter now his wife,
And if not for him and
Loss of loss
The authorities in their
Infinite wisdom glossed
Would not have installed
A heras fence on this eternal cliff-top,
Although in autumnal winds
The fence would drop,
Often taking flight just like a
Dull metallic gull or
Mournful curlew’s song
From last year’s furloughed crop.

The Withering Tree

The leaves upon the withering tree,
What’s good for him is not for me;
Mid-March grey, by May green,

Where he went cannot be seen;
Do dreams prolong without him?
Those stowed within his mind, it seems,
Harboured for my doubting.

Changed my clothes, change of scene,
Their remedies, a routing;
Bury me under a withering tree,
Atop the Oxen Mountain.