Friday, 17 July 2009

Seventy-five and counting

We didn't question her about the minor complaints,
we didn't trouble ourselves with her grieveances
or with whomever over she was grieving;
we didn't ask about those years that tumbled past before we did.
Years that didn't exist -
being composed of impossible numbers;
myths that only served to sell history books;
history books that were only stories written for us,
to keep us entertained,
that we wouldn't have to ask any real questions:

she was always this age,
she was always this grandmother,
she didn't understand computers;
we patted her on the head
with pots of tea and told her not to worry:
it was difficult to learn new technologies,
it was difficult to live through wars,
to live in poverty,
to watch one's relatives die,
and to lower the body of the only man she ever loved into the ground;
into a ground she had been slave to
for the best part of a century,
a century that never existed,
a century covered in tarmac
and soft veils of litter
with use-by dates stretching further and further into an ever patronising future.

She buried her tears into a ground that still listened,
into the only feature still recognisable
or that still understood;
and the lines of ploughed fields were the lines of her brow
or her brow was the furrowed fields,
was her timeline;
and as the fields were turned over to make way for new high rises
so she rolled over into a ready-made grave
of which we had the sheets off ready,
the pillows plumped up:
we wanted to make this as easy for her as possible
and write about our loss on the internet.

Friday, 10 July 2009

A Safe Distance

Let me brim with mediocrity,
let me stand in the middle of crowds,
posturing my average height,
and flying the 80 gsm, A5 flag that exclaims
in lower-case
the enormity of my anonymity,

let me graze every 2-3 hours on lite snacks
of 200grams with little flavour and
let me relish
in that blandness,

let me burst with muffled feelings,
let reams of watered-down pain and vague memories
of anguish come pouring out from me
into inoffensive river beds,

let my joy never out-climb my torso
and let all that is rational
place it's steady cloak upon me,

let me remain silent in dying rooms and
let birth fling me no surprises,

let me speak only in unstressed syllables,
carefully annunciated,

let my life consist not of verbs but as
a simple stream of conjoined conjunctives,
the line-spacing of which will slowly diminish,
the letters finding themselves closer
and closer together
until I exist only as the word 'then' printed
and reprinted on the same spot of paper,

let me die in such a way that
even my own mother couldn't notice
and please
don't let my last words
be a metaphor for your name.

July 2009

After One's Own Heart

up and down
like some grand old duke

who never quite hit home
or heads of nails,

who never quite got over
the fence he was lying

who couldn't quite stomach the broth

he was spoiling,
the broth

he was beating too hard;

who couldn't help recoiling
'neath the whims of loose limbs
in vain
for a change

of the heart
I refer to,
of the heart.

I prefer to
look the other way

as he slips down from out of my sleeve
and marches himself up
and over the hill,
pumping away
for another ten thousand days,

before his one final flutter
and his lonely column
of marching back down again.

July 2009

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Rainy City

June 2009

Monday, 6 July 2009

An Age of Carting Cartilage

Our bodies were not built for this much living -
see the stretch-marks on our stretchers -
yet another imperfection
as we drag around our wretched temples:
pillars of
salt of the earth.

Each man is an island;
long-abandoned. Stubborn
clumps of dirt and nails clinging on
to life-

lines getting thicker.
Useless threads
caught in rhetorical sewing machines,
our damage is elaborate -
we are being delicately destroyed -
our blood is set in rubies, our death
throes weaved by hand
and laid out neatly
across three-piece suites
because this is what we've come to believe in,

this is what we've come to live in
and I only ever saw the grass on tv.

I line my bedroom walls with diagrams of leaves
while rocking back and forth to imitate the breeze.

I have been smashing glass bottles
because I can't find the beach,
I have been shelling out hundreds on life-insurance
in case I'm ever swept away
or off my feet.

Yet I can feel the wind on my ankles,
my muscles ache:
I am doing something right at least.

July 2009

Friday, 3 July 2009


i am scared of lips i cannot connect with

below your eyes
is not blinking in time,
when eyes are closing
lips open;
this does not add up

and i cannot kiss a s
-love-nly sum

it is two parallel lines i will stick my tongue between
not this arrowhead, point
whose two arms increasing
-ly assure me
that the rest of the world is greater

although we speak in unison
the intonation is not quite the same,
while my lips are swinging
yours exhort morse

and i cannot get my head around
a mouth that shape

there are tonsils i could never chew
teeth i would never tell my secrets to

i am waiting for the day when none of this matters anymore,
when it is time to settle down

your arms will be around me then
and we will not touch mouths

July 2009

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The finding of a namesake

Trains of Thought:
A Word Game 19/11/07

My hands are wringing,
are forming rings
like the underside of eyelids, or impatient fingers
tracing tabletops with their things

The chair took a beating
as I sat down too hard,
I was down
I was beaten
by my brethren
and their heavy even breathing

I was beneath the weather,
beneath the ether,
n/either here or there
n/or someplace nearer

Getting over the moon
was the hardest to do;
running in celestial circles,
I was heavy with heaven,
I was wishing
in my own milky way
of lying down with my boy in a spoon

Under the thunder
and beside the lightning,
I took to it all like a flash in the pan
I stretched my arms to the atmos,
pushed my thighs to the sky,
I was trying my utmost
not to sink into things
with my clumsy unthinking upended appendages
and this forceful unflinching flinging of limbs

My eyes clouded over,
the fault line not with me,
the mortar ‘round me crumbled
as did my own
too soon flown

The ringing in my years
soon stopped;
I outgrew my sun-spot

the rain was dying off,
we were drying off and
it was the mind that I heard winding down
as at last the moon went down
on me.

July 2007.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

82 words per minute

I have forgotten how to make fire
and how to write by hand

I cannot hold a pen any more
for fear of carving outlines of failed bison into woodchip

I spread sheets instead of wings.

I bury my biros' unwanted heads in sand and
turn the plastic casing into legs of tables for new computers

I have forgotten how to throw a stick
I have forgotten how to use my feet
I have forgotten how to bask in sunlight
but my fingers are remarkable.

June 2009

the last time I was anywhere

The last time I was anywhere I wanted to take the ground
up in my arms,
to feel more than I was able
I wanted hues to stream out of centres -
from dark innards marches blinding light
- I wanted my retinas to retain that
I wanted to hold hands
and squeeze until the colours bled
until we all ran into one
and turned to mud

The last time I was anywhere
you pointed your trigger-finger and I danced accordingly,
that behind the blushes I was not screaming
to be recorded;
my organs are expanding
I am slapping my plumage on the table
de-contorting my only posture
and this,
this is how it really happened!
this is the immortality of my lungs

The last time I was anywhere it reminded me of something,
you see,
I am always in the past or in the future
and like time, I do not stop
I am the second hand running past idle hours
I am the pendulum swinging between the green-grassed walls
of grandfather clocks
I am standing by the sundial again
with an assemblage of lamps and mirrors
I am parading through time-zones,
writing in abbreviations,
giving the days each two decimal places.

The last time I was anywhere I took you to one side
and spent the evening explaining how I longed

to be

more completely.

June 2009