Pelotons

This breath is the breath for an ending;
This breath is the breath for defending;
This breath is a breath for befriending.

Under this gourd are skeletons;
On unseen frames ride pelotons;
Steered through hands of Telamons.

This beat is the beat descending;
This beat is the beat for a mending;
This beat is the beat never-ending.

Whitehorse

A headful of future, lesser the happened,
Helpless and hapless, a past still unfathomed;
I assumed my own death, ineffably seamless –
Life passed me by, recurringly dreamless.

A handful of future, brighter the tearless,
Time observed Her curse in a helix;
Manoeuvres of Grace, abased are the fearless,
Measured in friendships, kinship and feelings.

Jāta

Evolution is testing me;
Her step-sister, Society
Arrested me, complicity.

Canal side paths I cannot walk,
An ancient pump disused
Within a bruising of hedgerows;
My gaumy brain encrusted
With tawny bone and moss.

Deep within me,
Peaty bogs, a cairn stone
Beside a waterfall’s spooling locks
Where thoughts swirl in a pool,
Froth, and only downstream still.

Tell them, tell all the kilted boors
When their universal chores are done
And the last absconders have gone
That I rejected it all.

Empty Jug

My mind on a table
Like a bare empty jug,
Portmeirion ewer,
Red matching mug.

Welsh dressers behind me;
Pine shelving captures
Low autumn light,
Meticulously managed

Commemorative dishes
And lilac bone china –
Beside me, a bowl
For imported delights.

Periwinkled rims,
Porcelain basins
Brimming with season –
Apples, squash and

Hawthorns for jelly,
Trim spindles for reasons
In Bible quotations
And needlework hymns

Sewed by our Nelly
Blessing the bins –
A dawn frost already,
Hair starting to thin.

A door in the corner
To a deep pantry leads –
I can’t turn the handle
Or let myself in.

Iron pots, cupreous pans,
Hung high across a range,
Everything brightly polished
Because I polish every day.

Abandoned baguettes,
Gavaged pâté delivered,
Braces of pheasants,
Gifts from Our Giver.

The party returns
Merry, lighthearted,
Mine still burns
For one less departed,

With tales of heroics,
Gusto and laughter,
For love of their flush,
Unmet ever afters.

Until then – only echoes,
Hall clock chiming three,
I filled up the jug
With milk for their tea.

My Body A Prison

All that I’ve been through,
All that I lost,
All that I valued,
All that I cost,

All my inactions,
Fully embossed,
Old malefactions
Buried in moss;

My body a prison
With cells unaccounted,
My past in a frame
Unglazed and unmounted.

I’m who you shake
For seeking your answers,
My heart in the arms
Of thorn-fingered dancers;

I hear in my mind
A ceaseless alarm,
For I lost every key
Cut to disarm.

All that you’ve been through
All that you lost,
All that you valued
All that you cost.

Parables

Black squid ink
Descends through
These pebbles
Of my body,
My teeth,
My blood black,
Purple ribs,
A deep infusion,
A bruising
Poisonous sea,
As I sit at my desk
And reflect
On how I failed
And O yes, how
I failed again.

Unprepared,
Unmade for this,
Steam from heat,
Pendulums for
Pencils and
Abeyances
For where I am
Both sitting
Semi-respectfully
And not sitting too,
Fitting and yet
Not quite fitting,
Neither into life
Nor, of course,
My death anew.

Drinking Partner

Perhaps, drunk with my death,
Yet death my drinking partner,
Passed me every refilled cup,
Every tankard foaming after.

Death who did the yeasting,
Death who farmed a barley,
Soul-beer for our feasting,
Prone to darker parley.

He drove a Harley-Davidson
And dumped me on a porch,
His wiry eyes were gnarly,
His pupils held a torch.

Each morning his reversing
Equipped me for his bar,
And though he kept me burning
I felt those rains afar.

Tombolos

Sometimes I could not feel
My feet or my hands,
These extremities
Of my experiences,
Socially tied
Like isthmuses
Providing havens
For radicals and
Eminent pariahs
From the edges of
The Hesperides,
Unable to return
To our homelands
For fear of persecution
Or reprisals
(Or if not the Hesperides
Then the Cyclades
Or Sporades, or if
Not the Sporades
Then the Great Orme
Or the Rhins of Galway
And also Blakeney Point
Where my tame grey seals
Sunbathe on sandbanks
And I know each one
By name for we are
One and the same),
I grew up believing
Radiators were designed
To handcuff hostages
By the mist of international
Politics – in lands
Without plumbers or
Thermostats, but wild
Celebrations which also once
Blinded a man as shotgun fire
Fell back down to earth –
Before returning by
Diving back in to
My childhood, one day
I remember vividly,
Colluding in my empty room
With an atlas,
A tiny life ahead
In parentheses,
Until I observed,
Dropping that great book,
My feet and my hands
Turn in to translucencies
Of lapis lazulis and shiny jade
And my wonder reverted
Into horror then
As I climbed up inside
The used husks of my future,
Where my whole long
And arduous life filled
With silent furores
Became a faded photograph,
In a family album
No one opened ever again,
Nor blew dust off
In that boarded-up house
From its light blue cover,
And what was once,
A long time ago,
A gold leaf letterhead.