Water Slide

We enter by a dark
And elevated chamber;
People do this, apparently,
For their own entertainment.
Yet atop those chlorinated
Steps where re-used water
Pours back down rusting
Spiral stairs beyond where
Semi-naked people stare
Up towards me
Or at least the
Approximation
Or vicinity of me
Expectantly and patient,
I have nothing to give.
Instead, I observed
On this heady pilgrimage
A phlegmy edge of
Chewing gum,
Masticated and
Impressed behind this
Aluminium balustrade
I cannot touch.
An English teacher
Some thirty years ago
(Although I recall
This moment as if
Furloughed by Time and
Just further below
A moment ago), expounded
On how gum survives
Within large intestinal
Tracts for three years
Or more, which he imparted
As a matter of fact,
And though that Mr E.
Is now deceased and outlived
By you and I and all
Those innocent eyes
On those rows below me,
All I know is how
He used to pull me by
My ear until my ear
Then reddened, and there
And then, my soul was
Deadened. He also said
Or instead proclaimed
That should you drink
From water fountains
Within the central city,
That very same fluid had
Reduced and sluiced through
Eight other bodies already.
From where I am standing,
Inner tremblings
Vertiginously,
There is little difference.
So in this hellish place
I find amalgamations
Of my two severest fears:
Water, and the populous
Within this easy confluence.

For a vast majority
Upon this downward
Uncontrolled trajectory
Where I am shouting
With all my internalised
High cacophonies
They are having fun
And bless them yes
They are laughing.
Buffeted from side to side,
Elbows bruised,
Points confused,
My soul paramedics
On standby, they know well
I create and decorate
My private forms of
Self-inflicted torture.

Far north from here,
The heavy skies of Scotland
Brew a murder or two,
Or at sixes and sevens,
Whilst I am thrust from
The open mouth
Of a rusty and very
Asthmatic serpent
Into this new heaven.

On Homelessness

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a roof for my head.

In truth, those cold stars
Kill men with their draught;
Stratospheric, crystal glass.

I knew a man who died that way,
On a bench rain-soaked
In a well-loved park;

Several cars had slowly passed,
Narrow tailgate margins;
I didn’t have the heart.

He started somewhere far apart;
So much at sea drifts
Listlessly from where our hands

With a planetary love did chart,
Yet Truth has no use for straw
Or for bars, nor Justice, too,

Constantly miscarrying,
She chews on rue like
An ancient Appalachian goat

And her rivers are in my bones
And bath. In the long grass
I lay there waiting, in hiding,

Until the shadow of my self
My life, flew slowly,
Silently above those hills,

A giant airborne stingray,
Inexplicable, mythical,
I cried at the sight of my

Childhood loss. Returning
To my humble shed from roaming
Through my gloaming spirit-loft,

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a pillow for the lonely.

Fumina Bianca

How sweet the sombre Moon,
Her constant timbres
In tremulous rhythms and
Crepuscular hues.
I have my own yellow
Contusion or two.

How easy for you,
Overdue now the Moon,
Permanently pregnant,
Your statues in temples
Are resplendent and nude,
Only a subtle
Lightless
Subdued.

Pendular Moon,
Appearing too soon,
Indulging indolent soldiers
And causing seven hundred
Saboteurs in your shade to
Swoon. They planted a flag
On your granular calcified
Caldera where entombed
Pulmonary metastases
Are cultivars which once
Were those sluggish
Bedfellows’ scimitars;
They rest on
Their thuggish elbows
Your silence,
Your rays on their chest.

I reached for my own sword
And found bread
Shaped like crescents
Instead.
The sharp tip of the route
To the Moon
I witnessed,
Its lactating tip bore
A causeway from my bed
Into new nocturnal views again.

A witness to misfortune
And efforts in mute,
Disasters reduced to mere
Moments, and the life cycles
Of the great and ancient
Volcanoes rendered into
Wispy smoke,
As the dragon incarcerated
With potent stones
Woken by a cough,
Or announcements
From His concave staff,
Heralding a Pope.

The Drop

Familial disasters
Bore disasters in me;
I am a master of nothing,
Not even Serendipity.

If only I could have such feelings,
My soul made for annealing,
But I am not for kneeling
And that is all there is.

Be wary of the door you choose,
For one is black
And one is blue;
Deeper than the lake
A bruise,
Deeper than the mines
A truth,
Where the Lady is buried
In an old borrowed tune.

Ballad Of The Paradigm Bar

We thought it was over,
At last we had won,
When my friend on the left said
We forgot someone.
The first time’s defeating
Took only a sneeze,
When for so long we had strived
With barrels and pleas.
Answers revised
Aide memoires ease
More questions answered,
Future disease.

A band of fourteen,
Four in the quiz,
I changed my commission,
Ministerial mistresses
None of my business;
A bowlful of pears,
Furnished with access
To high state affairs –
A royal parade,
Burnishing stairs,
A wide walking hat,
A yukka bears witness,
At my chamber window
Tap tap taps,
Provoked by a gale,
The sheltered despair,
Sometimes you lose the ones
For whom you most care.

Empty church Sundays,
But today people flooded
The aisles and the pews,
Hypocrisy lives
In televised queues;
Panicking vicar
But a subaltern knew
Just what to do.
In a village park grounds,
In a VIP queue,
I held your hand lissom
And said under pink blossoms
Can I now stay with you.

Impossible questions
Know their own answers;
I am always the author
Of every disaster.
He landed with impact,
(Give devil his dues),
Clearly on schedule
Though the landlord was new.
He was maddenly-made
By air dissolute,
Absconded with Judy,
The air turning blue.
Inaccessible realms
He vanishes through,
Stalks with clawed pride
Or licks his were-wounds.
A chalkboard sign
At the paradigm bar
Promoted a prize
For a bet on a horse.

End of the world,
Girl and a boy,
He summoned me forward,
Determined with ploy
To settle the matter
Of whether the planet
Would be swallowed
Or not, (my love on the floor
In white lace collapsed)
He challenged me
(As if I was a saviour
And not, instead,
A man of small means
And compulsive behaviour),
To a game of
Shove ha’penny
By the bar’s exit door.

I always lose games,
What chance did I have?,
As I took hold of some silver
From his crumbling hand;
My coin landed flat
On that crucial puck,
At the opportune Time
I found my friend Luck,
What happens next –
Whosoever could tell,
I rose from my sleep
As if from a spell,
Kettle boiled yellow,
Ham on toast,
The yukka outside
Asked who is the Host.

We thought it was over,
That we had won,
Yet in any winning
Is the end of a song;
Enjoy every moment
Before it’s over
And gone.

The Wheel

This is the music,
This is the dance,
This is the child
And this is the trance.

Hear all their whistles,
A belt with blue bells,
The buyers are selling
The source of our spells.

I tried to swim
For the dim furthest shore,
But Spring tides returned me
To churning Death’s door.

Chinese lanterns,
Mountain-side dell,
Where it all went
I could no longer tell.

Veracruz

Ah verdant Veracruz,
Inquisitors landed
With seminal footsteps
On your sandy shores,
Anchored in foam bluer
Than undry eyes of lonely
Brides who cried like ghosts
Each night, for they
Knew the truth by then,
The truth unbound about
Those men both intrepid
And yet also afflicted with
Scurvy, to whom they once
Curtsied in courts, in
Galicia, and Castile.
Praising their gods with
Spongy gums, rashes infernal,
Thousands of miles from home,
Finding exotic diseases and
New fruits for their horses,
This coast too was a ghost
Of a nation destined to kill
Itself. They swore they saw
In those first loamy forests
Evidence of snakes
Eating their own tails,
And carvings of aroused
Totemic beasts whose tidings
Could block out the most
Ardent and stifling sun,
If rubbed with a little belief.

Those forests turned with Time
Into fields, the terraces and
Mesas of modern Mexico,
Where memories are as long
As the potential in doors unopened
And mines are as rich and fertile
As the self-sanctified appendage
Belonging once to none other than
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna,
Who, having traversed from here
To Baja California, was injured
By grapeshot fired from
Obusier de vaisseau on board
French blockaders, during
The Pastry War; they stretch
From unsung Sonora and Sinaloa
Which later sadly became layered
And synonymous with bloodshed,
To the caudillo’s hacienda above
Seagull nests and roadsteads,
And the hotel where we made
Ablutions, and took our rest.

That night I dreamt of seven miles
Of Atlixo, somewhere south of
Popacatépetl and the myth
Of the sleeping woman,
La Mujer Dormida,
A strip of land turned by arts
Within humanity’s hand into
A colossal supine statue
Much like Cristo Redentor
Only flat, yes, and not sculpted
From concrete with soapstone
But fashioned from the soil,
The land, into the shape of his
Image. I viewed this from the air
And marvelled at the ineffable
Grace and scale of his creation;
I wondered if something spiritual
And filled with meaning had been
Hidden under this humble yet
Hot-headed, passionate and yet
Disconsolate continent’s seams.
It reminded me of another dream
More than twenty years old, when
Two giant statues of a bodhisattva
Glided down a river, both imposing
Yet serene, navigating rapids as if
There was nothing inbetween
The reality, and the artifice
Of a mastered stream.

Kindling these memories, I forgot
That I was in a dream within a dream.
May the Mexicayotl transcend,
May the Malinchista be forgiven,
For there will be time in the end
When we too can see between rivers.