Searchlight

It was your birthday
Twenty years or so ago;
We descended into a city
Of ghost re-rendered
Restaurateurs
Mostly only known to us.
Strange how
None of this exists right now,
Except perhaps
Within my pillow-bounded head.
(Can dreams be transferred
From my subconscious mind
Through or even then from yours?
Do you also walk these dead
Pedestrianised streets
Of the deeply-raised interred?
)
It is with a distinct sense of dread
That I am always falling asleep,
From fear of these cities
And people who are
No longer the same,
For they all emerged without me,
A subliminal sequence
Of years long ago.

You hadn’t changed,
Still good-humoured,
Still talkative,
You walked into an establishment
Named the Ho-Ho for
Whatever unknown reason,
And you told a silent joke
To a new waitress and her
Two dumbfounded customers.
And so it was your birthday,
And that Chinese eatery
We searched for
Where your coterie
Of twentysomething
Student
Aficionados
Had slipped, shifted
Away from its mooring
Adjacent to l’office du tourisme
Located by the river
Where eleven vessels
Ride the rip
In the seams of my dreams.
I am denim to a somnambulant
Nocturnal god’s demesne.

Inexplicably, my role
Suddenly evolves to carry your
Curry-coloured shoes,
And then also later a
Stuffed blue bear, a child’s toy,
(Still holding your shoes),
An armful of regalia
And vintage paraphernalia.
I held the door for your peers
But was not invited
To the benches where
The glitterati sipped
On bamboo juice
And green tea hips.

Your German teacher made a tarte,
The Chinese menu à la carte;
I wonder when my heart
Restarts.

I have had this awful
Gnawing sense my whole
Long life that I was born
For arduous tasks,
While with something inside me brewed,
Malformed to fail,
How the audience laughed
And now, half-formed,
I replay it all each night,
A searchlight from my
Buzzard soul above
A pre-dawn gorse,
Hovering over those very fields,
Hedgerows, lanes, old roads still,
For the fugitive source.

The Nightwatchman

Alarm in the distance,
A kettle of noise,
The Haddocks are woken,
The widow has poise;
A light in the window,
With sleepyhead sight
Orange from street-lights
Parry and toy.

Dogs are in mangers,
Fallopian heights,
I am the nightwatchman
On this new estate’s blight,
Built on hopes
In choleric graves hand-held
A paupers’ mate,
False-shamen cradled,
Done-dusted whoremen
And shoremen of late.

How words and meanings
Conspire to change
With time,
Like just deserts,
Fathom and Guy,
Dependent on favours,
Curried and climes,
The bailiwick is easing
The willow in rhyme;
Hell for leather,
Whatever the weather,
You can pitch on my crease
And I will not decline.

Several hours later
These policemen arrived,
Sombre and Sober,
Notepads with lines;
They’re taught a falsehood
Between black and then white
On the unturned pages
Of this error-strewn night.
The thieves long-dissolved
Into brightly-hued dawn,
I woke from my slumber,
Mute sigh, with a yawn.


Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road And Driving On The Right

In this recent dream, a series
Of reversions  and events
Only I could revisit in
Their random happenings,
Driving through this city
At night, accompanied by
Two people to the limits,
I have not seen them now
For twenty years
(We were friends back then,
It’s always an implied criticism
When long lost acquaintances
Tell me Nick, you haven’t changed a bit,
And I roll the eyes of my soul,
Disguised by this enterprise
Of living incidentally);
Into a one-way tunnel we drove
With two or three cars speeding
Towards me following a wrong
Direction, I see headlamps
Before their steel appears
And flashes away in to the night;
I brake, and a voice reaches me,
A girl who lives in a house
Above the tunnel, she transmits
Advice on how to navigate
This underground straight
And narrow. I send her a
Message of thanks, haunted,
Sweating in my sleep, before
Arriving at a dark parking lot
And I have all this stuff,
So much stuff I cannot carry:
Boxes with old work documents,
Condiments, sixteen years of
Abuse, a basketball, footballs,
A laundry basket and books,
A brisket and a wok, so we took
The unusual decision of opening
Another car’s trunk and filling it
With all my dreaming flotsam.
It seemed to me like baggage.

We are permanently eighteen here,
And in the next scene I cannot
Explain how we arrived at your bedroom;
Anaglypta wallpaper, a plastic bin,
An absence of parents.
I rolled up the skin of my memories
And threw those flaky balls
Into the waste. I expect you’ll return
Again tonight, you seem to want to,
Even though one is an architect
Who is hardly in need of contacting
A dead-end poet, and the other
I don’t know anything about any longer.
I don’t begrudge it, I cannot fight,
In the next dream, I waved goodbye
To my grandmother one last time.

So my unseen mind got stuck
In an eighteen year old’s plight;
Big deal in the schemes above!
Yet how foolish I feel now, to
Have lived for decades with a
Harrowing belief that I
Was driving against the flow,
These dreams have teeth to bite,
When all the time they were
On the side of my wrongs,
And I was on the right.

The Baleful Foal

Dreams swept down
Through the dale-deep village,
Seeking the sockets of sleeping
Minds and restless feet,
The muscles of the dreams
Are deep, but their feathers
Flowing over yeomen
Who kept their watch
With tired eyes
Are light.

A flock of omens,
A snoring of speech,
Like snake-throated
Cloud-birds hunting in pairs,
Reaching with blood
On their talons for
The granules of sight,
As rain falls from the loft
The grains plummet and
Nourish fertile fields,

Unobserved, unfelt,
Where mattocks tilled and
Machinery harrowed,
As sparrowhawks strafe
The wakes of mice,
So too the roots of
Their subconsciousness
Received the seeds
Of food, for sustenance.
I also encountered those

Dreams sheltered within
Other dreams,
Like a pregnant horse
Safe in waning hays
And felt-ceilinged stable,
You slept in the folds
And the hairs of a mare,

While I lay awake
In dark latent aches of

The baleful foal.