Protest Sonnet

There are such currents, filled with sediments,
Prospected where earth’s bedded elements
Dam the fishless rivers, fill Red Cross tents,
And in the furthest caucuses ferments.
Some blamed the devil, some called it strife,
Hurting worse the urban-huddled tenements;
The Church accused a husband and a wife,
There’s little time left for sentiments.
The cells are filled by mildew, swamp and sludged,
Bypasses burned through blue-buttercup pastures;
Signed-off as urgent, but now seem misjudged,
For there’s no traffic since the disasters.
With our chains we paid the bridge-keeper’s toll,
A protest verse poured through siphons of soul.

Untitled Poem #7

I’ve been cleaning again;
It is a reward to myself
For cheating death.

I organised the albums
I bleached the sink and cut the nails

Of the lawn on my knees.
The daffodils are resisting.
Bread does not rise with a corpse in the kitchen.

I have a conspiracy theory:
Particles are added to polish
Which after I’m done allure dust and grease.

Similar scientists shot men to the Moon,
But not yet any women;
They will shoot them on Mars one day soon,

Yet baboons at the zoo
Masticated bags for lunch,
Ethylene red, white and sometimes blue,

Which my leaders could not recycle.
There are less post offices now
Since we dispensed with writing letters.

Outside, Spring has woken the workers;
I’ll sanitise the windows awhile,
Prepare a curry, and sleep.

Last Laugh

My namesake unearthed me again,
My nemesis perhaps, my friend
At the pre-arranged place of his choosing.
Below him, not England’s green fields gone,

But the abyss which beckoned his backbone
And swirled the spleen, abused with doubt
And confusion, a waking and constant stream.
There are no tracks at the viaduct now,

Demoted by lemongrass, lavender-time
And sorghum seeds on a breeze,
Soft and endlessly fine,
Eyes closed, I savoured their caresses on my skin.

It was a challenge too far to know friendship,
Even mere acquaintances and incidentalists
Outsourced self-judgment and harm
Without realising its bruising impact on you.

A gleam of green herrings hung from the arches;
Your tongue was cold and grey when they found you.
For Victorian appliances we still have some use;
I saw an ambulance stuck in the marshes.

I thought about the last time you probably felt
You were ignored regarding something which
With the aperture of hindsight was trivial or mundane.
Your first and last fleeting kiss with the girl

Who had a bandage on her wrists, extra melanin,
And in her stomach a whole world waiting.
I saw the hunting season, the cat got your tongue
And toyed with it, as if a dead fieldmouse,

Not hungry, just bored. Nature is fastidious.
Your last bath, your last word read in the last book
You felt inspired by momentarily, without finishing.
Your last dinner you could not eat,

And a last diary entry; the ink ends
Where you lost the pendulum that thinks.
Your last laugh, when you were younger,
Before the goddess of the moon infused you

With her curse, stung by a bee in its skep.
Your last time to sleep, unconditionally.
I saw haunting stigmata cauterizing your mother,
I saw unholy water supplant the blood of your father,

I saw silencing stones in the bronchi of your brother.
Blessed are those oblivious
To the some-time sheer effort of living,
Feeling our lungs automated with bellows

And pulleys, feeling as though we were
Conceived as a different species: frog-skin,
Toadstool, or the rare and protected beetle
That lived in the marsh below the bridge

Which in later years was drained of its matter,
Suffocated with copper-clad wires and cement
For a housing estate; the planners
Ordained the place with one or two willows,

And named the streets, vainglorious fellows,
After flowers bountiful, wild and yellow;
By your body blossomed, abundant show,
But all that was lost, many years ago.

Suicide Watch

There were faded posters on the wall,
And beside his bed a watch that did not work;
A gift from his grandfather, years ago.

A family legend reverentially mentioned
That timepiece stopped when the old man died
On a Tuesday, November, 2005.

Talking on matters neither here nor there
The guardians displayed their daily concerns,
When they entered his cell looked anywhere else.

Having crossed the dead threshold
Those orderlies obese with checklist and chart
Complemented his writing

Where he obscured his heart;
At a dispensary counted Duloxetine capsules
On wheels which had squamous ellipses.

They would say “it’s a shame, he’s not like us,
Some people are born without any luck”;
His arms were grazed and his eyes were black

From the day he had tried to take himself back.
There was an alarm, painted cerise;
The staff would have to break the glass.

A girl kissed his cheek a long time ago,
Then her family fled to some antipode.
They coated the tablets with hemolymphatic

Secretions of lac; the powder had the patients gag,
Diverting minds away from where they had sagged.
They said that the watch contained a curse,

Reality caused a deep dereliction.
The parents wear badges as they sign their admissions;
Hope is not with prescriptions bought.


Over spilt milk I cried,
Underneath thirty-nine ladders hiding;
I seasoned a crow’s bladder,
Brushed it with sage and tidings.
I held a bird in a burning bush,
I watched a pot unboil itself,
I was the man for whom time waited;
Your absence made my heart grow harder,
Bones of chalk, and isolated.

My trawler moored to a bollard,
I foresaw a storm from the gunwale;
Back to the cabin I was pushed by a gale,
Inside a sailor was fricasseeing a pig
On a hob, with brothy stock I’m reasoning.
The sea in the harbour spat me out in a fit,
Regurgitated tablets, and rose into sleep.
The king banned all of the windows
For defenestration not to exist.

I cleaned for an agent of devilment,
Vases fused to flowers odourless and dry;
Tomorrow en masse toss the pancakes,
Rain falls from the angels’ eyes
As they floss the gates with albumen.
Moss now clouds the garden and barks like mown grass;
A plume of peacock feathers I found there,
An opulent train, the bridesmaid was doomed;
Seven fissured mirrors cracked with the moon,
Poetry is my aposematism.




All At Sea

If I will be a child again
I’d disbelieve curriculums
And pithy sayings for comfort.

Lovers were taught to write manifestos,
The people lied to the populous,
And worse things happen at sea.

Churches were stuffed with atheists,
Saints’ Days diluted to market promotions,
But worse things happen at sea.

We replaced parental misdeeds with lithium plates,
We gave all our savings to marketeers,
Worse things happen at sea.

They drilled from the earth what should have remained,
Like removing perfectly healthy teeth,
But worse things happen at sea.

The Ministry of Tidal Waves
Is paid to deny the profligacy;
He will send memos from a smaller island failing.

We are deceived to believe it’s acceptable
That the issues remain for a further age;
At sea a captain is sailing.

Comfort in strangers’ fallacies,
Sharpen your dance and songs of old,
For worse things happen at sea.

I recovered a friend who had recently died,
A piece of plastic in their head wedged,
But worse things happen at sea.

Worse things happen for you and for me,
But when the truth’s mythology
In a watery bed we can sleep.

Stubble Burning

Just one more week, if I could
See this through, survive, outlast
The plot of harm to my self.

Just this week ahead to eradicate
The one thought-place I could not escape,
For seven hundred journeys hope was surpassed.

The promise of time like a plundered trove
In my hands, I can trace the dates
And diadems, unburnished on its surface.

A progress of letters, a thunderless storm,
All that potential, in kernels of time
Stored like dreams in hibanatory forms.

These nerves to be scratched from the hypodermis will flow,
The urge for receiving dreams is established;
A catch of haddock to the ocean’s returned.

Outside, it is that awful dawn again,
It yawns and with vast arms stretches.
To accept its contract I am forced, I forged

A signature which brings me a trawler, and fish for the prospect,
But no rest in rains, asleep standing up;
I met myself in that week ahead.

My mouth was empty, my stubble burnt,
The workers had gone and would never return;
We passed by each other without saying a word.

But a finished letter you pressed to my palm,
Paused dreams for a moment, I felt better restored,
As arms excavated to a statue returned

Caused a nation’s collective applause,
Somewhere the shrew and the bumblebee stirred;
I opened a window, to one week more.

Going Through The Motions

The conundrum for modern-day laureates
Is not that you’ll never be published
On bedroom-wall posters for teenagers,
Or into the heads of parental nostalgia
Like punk haircuts in the 1970s, or
Chants from Wembley’s terraces in 1966.
Teenagers were not conceived when a fairy queen
Forged the first garland, nor also a sport
Where grown men wearing garish shorts
Chase a bladder around a blustery garden.

And the laureates’ problem is not
That the souls of our fathers were hived
And siphoned in vacant slots because
Everything, the bureaucrat says, is short-term:
Indeterminate’s best, bamboozle with science,
Arguments are suppressed with lies and defiance;
Forget the foundations of alabaster
If the majority will take a six-by-six grave,
A daffodil bouquet, and a nameless granddaughter.

Nor is the problem that you would receive
Like a medal on a ribbon ripped from a corpse
The garland with insecticide sprayed;
There are neither hedgehog nor elephant thoughts
On display; the mammals were all being slaughtered.
Duty-bound to extol abusers, defilers,
De facto xenophobes praised, geneticists
And drone pilots. You did not capture the age
Of protest and dreams and love and disease;

You watched as an enchanting king
Danced with his navel and his trousers unhinged
Drunkenly upon a podium.
He clapped his hands twice
And said for ten years you’ll write
Encomia for my bland republic.
And therein is the problem you are intrinsic to now,
The older and hardy too long are disgusted,
Your role pushes the souls of young poets down.