The Hawser-Husband’s Song

All seafaring folk
Reasonably discharged
Understand deeply 
Having travelled so far
Frequencies of rope;
Clews marking time,
Demarcating fate
Like crow-wrinkles carved
In a late man's hope,
Smiling sublimely
While his body bloats
And slowly floats away
Within a curlew's ode;
They count in knots,
They measure briny-time
With bights on the lee,
And sometimes by 
Their cat-beards' growth
Upon a beaming sea.

There are far more purposes
For well-made ropes
Than horse-dreams harboured
On wayward western slopes
Of blue infusing hollyhocks
And sadnesses of heliotropes.
Beyond those voyer-headland folk,
Such a balch-length I do know
Is coldly devoid
In a dead man's grope,
Unfeeling, careening, 
So from humanity we eloped.
Her colours change as suddenly
On a breeze as the piskey-cheeks
Of whiskey-infused 
And maudlin mopes
Who sit beside the steps
At the plentiful village pump,
Sometimes straight as a butter-cross
And sometimes they do slump;
One day as grey as a bassam,
The next day graily eggy-hot
And bald as a wreaking coven.

Knowledge of how to fashion
This mission's cabled spires
Is memorised by barning-ghosts
Under varying fires;
The future slips through
Their misty furtive fingertips,
Fewer than before
Their green immortality.
Sailing some more,
Nothing abounds;
Within our creel ribs
Old myths rebound,
Waves make landfall
Permanent and yet somehow
Without existing at all.
Breathing in
And breathing out,
Hessian fodder,
Oceanic Frisian cow,
Horizon unknown
For years from now,
On slowly floating ice-breaks
My vessel is aground.



N.B Cornish dialect in this poem includes:
Balch - a rope
Barning - phosphorescence
Bassam - a bruise
Eggy-hot - a warm beer
Graily - an aged beer
Piskey - drunk
Varying - lightning, St Elmo's Fire
Voyer - a headland

Toenail Soul

Wanting to wallow
In the wrongfulness of me,
I found a form of failing
Became my artistry.

My anuran tongue swallowed
In their final masterpiece;
The eight great lies in my life
Found at last assemblances
And momentary pangenesis
Like lizards in a creek,
Initially protozoic,
Then a simple slow unfurling
Inwardly, of tails and brains,
Until such time as galaxies
And all their hypothesised junkets
Unplugged and drained,
Seen through a
Telescopic lens
From beyond the maddening planets.

I've been painting the toenails
Of my soul again.
The dead have this tendency
To disregard boundaries,
To interrupt, to mishear,
And so I misappropriate myself
With many colours brushed,
To stay their ways
From being near.

When We Were Giants

Revitalised by rain
And changing directions of wind,
Supercharged by
Their grey and warming manes,
Reminded me that I am a giant
And I only took this smaller form
To be suppliant, as ever,
To the Goddess of Discretion.

The southern farmers are churning
Mounds of Friesian manure again;
Even my dandelion friends
Hold their delicate noses,
Those whose seeds
Gave birth to Time herself
Before disappearing injudiciously,
Slipping through their progeny’s fingers,
Disintegrating as swiftly
As a conscientious objector’s hopes.

I have a greater affinity
With the dappled fingertips
And gold-green keys
Of silver birch
And willow trees,
Those all too slender
Harbingers of water, of Life,
And my favourite, my old friend,
Those Lombardy Poplars
Which grew through my youth
Until they touched the lower sky,
Fastigiate-shaped as my soul
With burry words and
Blackened folds inside.

I sensed all this on my evening walk –
The scale of the task,
The age of the talk –
Before returning with my homeward self
And losing, until the next new winds,
The memories of way back when
We few men were giants.


I Am Not Unique

I am not unique.
There are another ten thousand
Just like me (sub-meaning being
I am far from irreplaceable)
In these unredemptive moments
Which fall like old snowflakes
In baubles and saucers,
In reflections and in tendencies.

I am not unique.
This sadness is ubiquitous,
(Engulfing and never retreats)
We are woebegone experts
In the ravenously bleak
Mapless frontiers with our
Purring batteries
And silent artillery.

I am not unique;
Stone-filled arteries
And bruisewort disease,
We sit in our cages
As cycles continue
On the last of the piers,
Or lost, haplessly,
While out at sea.

I am not unique.
By our army united
And spirit-siphoning industries,
We comb our hair
And wash our beards,
We go to bed,
Amazed when we wake up
The same way as someone else.

Karagöl

This shortening life,
This thickening life,
This blink of an eye
Left on a continental shelf
Life, (devoid of the I
Which ego contrived
And relies upon having hatched
Like a blind hag-matriarch,
And who underneath our
Inexplicable surfaces
Survives and thrives
While my egg-timer soul
Is turned over again),
I felt my sense of self
Not to reside inside me
But externally derived –
Fermented and distilled
Across our guarded borders,
Lifelong out-of-body experiences
And my many other disorders,
Then the near-death experiences,
Lifelong too, (my witness,
Who is a pawnbroker
Of disasters and also
Fathers, who sold
Ink perpetually
To stain my sinking skin,
Told me this is so),
It is well-written
With strange hieroglyphs
Throughout, ever present,
Every sallow thanklessly
Tantalising day
Behind my harrowing eyelids,
That clear and imprinted
Rendition of my deep,
Impending gallows.

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.

Thought-Flotilla

A depression sinks
Thick teeth into my bay.

Brazen, sharply emblazoned
Within my beacon’s sleep,

One final action
Before the king of myself

Exiled himself in a fit of treason
To his most inhospitable island in

Far rough southern waters
Beyond starry St Helena and

Tar-deep lavas of
Tristan de Cunha,

And even beyond the other island
Of shimmering immateriality

And such impossible wealth,
With more lakes than land,

More puffins than people
And fathers’ mouths

Mastic with less teeth in number
Than they bequeathed children,

And statues of elders
Each chiselled with just one foot;

Well, he commissioned hundreds
Of such pitch-pots over

Coastal paths and marshland routes
To alert his nation’s duties

Towards resurgent armadas,
A thought-flotilla

With canons trained
On peace and seasons,

On woodlands and hope,
On fisheries and reasons,

I woke to an ocean of
Platitudes in old Spanish

And also Greek calligraphy.
Blood on my wrist,

Alpha is Omega
In this new script.

Why do I enjoy numerically
These blood-clot sensations,

These idyllic notions
Beyond posts of my death.

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.

Guadeloupe

Our little band, our merry troupe
Had just arrived in Guadeloupe
Filled with mirth and junipers.

Island clouds, mangrove lush,
A chartered man from the Hindu Kush
Landed us where a giant dune occurs

As high as three knees of the God
Of Iguanas, verdant mountains at odds
In their majesty with smaller dwellings

Of colibri, territorial, proudly emblematic
Of a land where a slightly rheumatic
Castilian caraveller (and with swellings)

Imported moose to banish snakes
Like San Patricio of the Lakes,
Only those Eurasian deer grazing would devour

With gazes obtuse as atheists as they chewed
All native flora and fauna viewed
A few hundred years ago, an hour

Of ingestion at a time, and no longer.
At the harbour I found a fishmonger,
Lobsters as bright as the famed red paint

In the sacristy and the credo
Of Santa María de Toledo,
He boiled the claws and prayed to his saint.

In a fever my genuflecting libido
Summoned dreams in a white tuxedo
Worn in that club at Les Abymes –

(The club they told me not to frequent,
Entrance shaped like a one-eyed serpent),
Where a barman garnished a large Ti’Punch for me,

Where a Caribbean singer
Whose hips within my view would linger
Gave birth to the shape of Guadeloupe.

I woke in a deep and heated sweat
And for a moment I would forget
That I had not flown before, nor my troupe,

Nor travelled to her sheltering lore
Where I lost my mind before
On the blue shores of Marie Galante,

And in that hazy nightclub smoke
Holding someone’s panetelas, I woke
In the concave dreams of an Ashanti

Slave-trader, only I was the slave
And he softly spoke and gave
Advice which has ruined me to this day,

For I was to be imprisoned in his seam,
Neither stirred nor sleeping with a beam,
But somewhere in between the fray.

Still, somewhere out beyond my prison cell
My people there have smiles to quell
Storms which filled a holy stoup

Of less green seas, their hills of gold,
Where rains remain our friends of old,
We steered our flight, to Guadeloupe.