Haiku #779

779.

‘Product may not match
Description in the advert’.
Subtext, would I buy?

A Painted Sign In Green

Pool-black thoughts,
He moves through doors,
A scent of herbs,
Descending spores,
Trace evidence
Of cloven-footed
Carnivores.

Waiting for a call;
A scratch on the wall,
A cuneiform.

In a dream a donkey
Beat me with a stick,
Berated me with flehmen lips
For eating grass
(He said was his)
From pastures therein dwindling
And with the evening kindling
I pointed with my thoughts
To where three days before
A painted sign in green
Had clearly said to me:
‘Welcome, Pilgrims,
Rest Awhile Your Feet,
The Hay And Harvest Here
Is All That You Can Eat’.

Tuesday Morning Observations At The Supermarket

“Give him milk to make him sick”
A gravelly-throated grandmother spoke,

I chose this wrong time
To hear choking from the other end

Of her connection, waiting to pay
For pharmaceuticals and confectionery.

Disabused queue, end of the line,
Kissing in public is frowned upon;

Improbable healthcare professionals
Talking behind me, irresponsibly,

Garrulous, gaseous
Logorrheic overspills

About a young female client
Pleading with herself to kill

If she could just have seven pills.
I heard their saturnine eyes rolling.

We all have our conditions;
Some degrade us,

Some deceive and some distill,
I stood blankly at the automated till

Because all the alerts had run out.
In a patriarchal society

Fecund machines are bestowed
With women’s names

Or pronouns used pejoratively;
Olivia, Marion, Emily.

It reminded me of a former colleague,
Cigarette-blonde hair and eyes

Like falling rain, deceased,
Cancer grabbed her and drowned her

So quickly her doctor
Did not have time for prognoses,

Akin to a storm unforecasted
Or a cast of crabs

Swarming on a tourist beach,
Dragging her into the sea.

Less and less people are wearing
Poppies of the season because

More and more are forgetting –
I met a man who went to war

And nobody wore a flower at all.
Departing the store, someone

Walking four and a half seconds
In my wake is singing words

He heard on the supermarket radio
And I want to find a way

To travel between two worlds,
Suture the irreversible wound,

Turn on a kettle,
Welcome myself home.

On the way, however,
I drove by a broken-down car,

Middle lane, hazard lights,
Annoyance of drivers,

And I observed to my horror
A shell of that disillusioned client

Moments after she did what she had to.
I later learned her name

Was and still is somewhere
Miriam.


Letters From A Misanthropist



If I laid stock-still
Through quietest nights
On my side
Would all
My naked thoughts
Fall out?

An earthquake of pain
Reverberates
In my tectonic mind.

In a dream
Through gritted teeth
And a sense of purpose
I did not own,
I wrote letters
To my son
And also everyone;
Letters of apology,
Letters singed by the sun.
So little left to inspire,
I decided to enquire
Into my mind and
Write down names
Of several men I admired,
To prove a value
More for my son
Than myself,
Than anything else.

Alphabetically
This dream-missive listed:
Alex Jeffries, for persistence,
Colin Powell, for cross-party respect,
Denis Mukwege, for making a difference,
Despite the circumstances;
François Villon, balking against
The injustices of
The See of Orléans;
Mr John Wheatley,
Same reason as Denis’s,
Only a different season
And in a different respect;
Louis Bleriot for his determination
In all matters aviation
And in love;
Richard Ratcliffe for his hunger striking
For a principle, for his wife;
Several Russian mid-nineteenth
Century poets, ditto Chilean,
Ditto Chinese and Japanese
And European and American
From predominantly before
1980 or maybe 1984.

I poured a molten moth
Back up into my skull
Through my broken
Ethmoid bone,
And woke up, exhausted,
In a sweat I must confess,
And wondering how
I had evolved
Through experience
Into this
Misanthropist.



Hustings


Blink and you’ll miss it,
This modern cynical
Pinnacle of contempt,
Political legerdemain.

People’s lives under pots,
One, blue, two, three;
Never mind about life
And death issues

And O how they issue,
As long as there’s comfort
In a cable, an act.
The universities will empty

And our world will contract.
A man in a church lay dead,
A city is your bed,
I wish the rest good luck.

South Of Somewhere

South of Somewhere, Fairburn Road Car Park.
Small town, off from the main route.
Or large village? The first two hours parking is free, but you still have to go to the ticket machine and press a button for a ticket. The information display has yellow print on a black background. The municipal Council crest includes two mythical beasts either side of a shield, also yellow and black. There is a whole language for heraldry. There is a misprint between two symbols for a disabled person, which reads ‘Dabled badge holders FREE’.

I wish it was colder, or raining, or cold and raining. I prefer the rain. People tend to stay indoors a bit more.

I haven’t been here before. It’s only 8 miles north west from my house, but the journey includes country lanes with tall hedgerows leading into hamlets.

A local transport intersection, freight trains and East Coast LNER trains rumble by. Commuter belt, I expect, for workforces in the not too distant cities and larger towns. Smaller Northern Rail pacer trains, liveries of purple and white.

You can draw a straight line almost, from the southernmost city the one furthest north. This is somewhere inbetween.

I feel supernaturally tired. I will be unable to drive again, post surgery, she said. I said I will make for a moaning chauffeur.

You video-called me yesterday evening. You were wearing a silver chain with a silver crucifix. You ask me if I like it and I lied and said yes.

Days merge. And then I feel bad for feeling envious of those who moved on.

People I have seen arrive here are now returning to their cars, laden with shopping and misplaced hopefulness. They seep out from corners and sidestreets, like waxy by-products of my inexhaustible life, like tears. As I drove away, I remember thinking, if there is anyone as hermetic as me, I would like to meet them.

8-8-8

In the UK,
On average
Every three days,
A woman is murdered
By a man, and
More often than not
Someone she knows
Very well,
But also often
Not as she fell.

Our most
Blessed
Governmental
First
Response
As two more women
Died here this week,
That same way, on
This sceptred isle,
This floating exile,
Is to suggest
A fucking tech solution,
(No surprise when
The cabinet are in bed
With a silicon press)
An app, a number,
Because, of course,
Apps are now salvation.
It’s suggested
This bleak service
Could be named 888,
The numbers you strive for,
You reach for,
You fail to press
As another man attempts
To assault and degrade
And humiliate
One more woman
Again.

I expect it was one more
Male bureaucratic
Whitehall flannelist
Who unimaginatively
Dreamed of channeling this,
Missing nuances
Of the online casino
Entitled this same way,
Their peacock libidos
Obfuscated, getting
In the way.
This system is stuck –
Our chances of survival
Are synonymous with
Gambling, and luck.

Call the number,
Roll the dice,
And if you’re challenged
By fakeries of officers
Or mockeries of ministries
Do not think twice
To run from suffrage
And into your life.