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Friday, 13 April 2018

Le Grand Depart


Le Grand Depart




Truro Station never felt so threadbare cold
as my dumped case found a pothole puddle
precisely splashing taxi-rank water on my clothes.
Exit papers in a malicious man bag muddle,
passport dancing the fantangle with boarding passes,
flight reminders and kiss my asses.


Now we’re off and running:
Competing in the customary
100 metre Olympic Dash platform bridge event,
beam balance across the tracks,
floorshow with tepid coffee half spent
while the suitcase gains points for trampolining off cracks.


Crotch clutched by the bitter April breeze
my skin sticks to handle metal at minus two degrees.
On platform three, the shivering audience,
double parked on brown benches,
cocks an ear:
acknowledge announcements with mute intolerance
soundless cursing and silent fear.
Frigid buttocks clench.
Constipated by the clock’s failure to function
trammelled by the engine’s paralysis at the junction.


Sodden thoughts sift their slow way through the brain
as we look to each ignore the other on the train.
Like, I mean, what’s the point of Ivybridge
and who are they that do what they do there?
Why the stop at Par for Newquay, anyway?
And who is the stupid bloke with no fare
interrogated incessantly about his Tiverton Parkway awayday
on two separate lengthy occasions by loud officials who care
for his safety? And are not troubled that the bugger pays.
Definitely not. No, sir. We’ll charge your ticket online,
for your security, sir, protection,
sir, nothing to do with crime.


A weak struggling sun is thick cloud tracing
as I’m shoved in the corner, backward facing
at Taunton, by a front faced, beany bonced
chin jutter-nutter, in seat squirming nonchalance.
She munches putrid cheese and onion in my ear
spraying chips while declaring she feels queer,
hacksawing brayed laughter at anyone near.
To please him, she got a room at King’s Cross
he’s cancelled but she’s on her way to check
in just in case any of us give a toss: well, his loss.


Two fat sisters, clickety click on phones,
plugged in;
opposite and together yet with each other alone,
vacant grin, in silent sin, and whatever world they are in
is preferable to the company of their skin,
while Westbury wrestles with the eye
and shards of vapour dash across the sky
at Reading, a concrete grip of the throat,
distant glimpse of departing planes that float
to other worlds and places
leaving sad traces.
Quick shook speed, rushing miles faster,
the imminent approach of the grand departure:
black brick beckons now beyond limelight fields
and all the trees that shield London part, unveil and yield
up the acres of grim concrete clinker.


Windowed reflections show some old, frowned thinker,
a sad smile, yes, but at least a smile of some measure,
forward looking back to the years we will treasure.




Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Demons and Angels


Demons and Angels


Angel, between the bare branches
and decaying leaves
in the forests of Albion
the guardian mists exhale
your great men of great promise.
Now, each man has his angel.
A swift exit and a promised return to grace,
just cut the cord, praise the Lord,
then swab the smile from your face.
The bubbling swamp mud
has barely belched them
erect from the sludge,
when all you angels swarm
to nest them in bushes warm.


Now, Angel, my dear,
these poor old eyes are hardly fit
to see which of you is witch,
    and which is not.
You write in nothings, you speak in vacuum,
you use the language of the chatroom:
And I fear something dire
hides horrid in the ditch.
The bluebell trembles and tolls
forgotten; forlorn forecasts
of bankrolls and soiled spread sheets.
Great men reveal their exit plan
as you angels open legs, sod on polls,
until rank shit hits the fan.


Oh, Angel, with your leased love,
these feeble arms with
fists balled and claws extended
dragging finger nailed dirt from the pit
where you took vague pleasures
from ducking me in the shit,
returned me to dry land.
Where television shows the great men,
counting Dollars, Euros and Yen,
you angels, wet weeping at their shoulders.
Truffling between your thighs
for pungent sick and soured honey.
Once sexed, shrug sad sighs
to see barefoot children shiver and lunch on lies.


Within the grove, dark in the bushes,
my lady shivers at the approach:
the rustle of rutting cockroach.
The wind trembles and the ancient stag
paws the turf, chained beside the bent bullrushes. 
Great men, determined to conceive
upon which tide we should leave.
My lady stirs, too old to resist, too weak
to scream violation or report outrage:
you angels have already scratched out the page.
Gashed the great oaks from the earth
fucked the soil and given birth.
Ripped forth from her moorings; tossed;
torn out from anchorage safe;
rocked, wrenched-wrecked and foully displaced.
Angel.
You leave on the tongue a bitter taste.


Look back upon the things you waste.
Never cry. Never weep. No tears -
the trail you blaze will curdle the years.
It is as it should be: selfish, foolish, stupid,
blabber your bile like some cut price cupid.
Leave us. Go to your great men.
Oh yes, Angel, you left your scent,
It stinks of badly scrubbed gusset.
Now my trust in you I do repent.
We’re all, I suppose, fortune’s puppet.





Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Dreams You Can Taste


The Dreams You Can Taste

Some say that, if you listen hard enough
you can hear when other people’s dreams cause cancer.
All they ask is a blank piece of paper
and a smart phone to steer her by
to look deep into the psyche for cupid’s answer.
Now awakened from a dream within my mother’s dream
like some nowhere man drifting aimless downstream
falling fully formed from Lennon’s scream.
Jumbled amongst his sheets, wringing wet with sweaty
tongue matted to the tangled taste of pillow.
Shaking, thrown awake by some vile Angel’s kiss
where Arthur’s still ensnared Merlin now insists
on singing songs half remembered from The Abyss.
She exists in our dreams now. Barely shocked awake.
Lionness. Poem in my heart. What of you?
You were there, of that I am certain,
the milk in your breasts giving life to my son
but only in a mirror, rear viewing you towards the left of my vision
the result of a young, brief union. Moving on.
I saw England, captured and fixed by stagelight,
limelight laughing, as her car overturns, takes turns and turns about
giving her barely time to shout and the blood will out.
Oh, lover, you think cartwheeling with you didn’t hurt,
my face with yours ground to nothing but dirt?
The librarian years spent dustily researching three times why
when all you did was crash and die,
even before you knew how to Google it.
The boys you kissed, the lives you risked, the angels wasted
our dreams of future bliss before they were tasted.
Pulling away from the wreckage, another face
lies smiling on a hospice bed, breathing shallow.
Skin sallow yellow, like bitter tallow.
He grasps my hand the candle flickers in haste.
He mouths love and I strain to hear, slowly paced.
The music once played, the lost games recalled,
the Angels have us here enthralled,
you settle back with blanket eyes,
to watch dark gathering clouds in the skies.
And Angel, why do you blush and rush to kiss
then disappear into memories’ mist?
Oh yes, we sat and talked. You took my hand.
Brushed off the debris and showed me dry land.
Released me like some rocket to orbit your star,
then told me I’d strayed off course too far.
The spell was broken, the dream was gone,
now set the joysticks for the heart of the sun,
where Lennon had already faced the starting gun.
Yes. Some say that, if you listen hard enough
you can hear when other people’s dreams cause cancer.
But others look deep and search for the answer.












Saturday, 3 March 2018

Tear Her All to Pieces


Tear Her All to Pieces

Wind riffling waves across fields of wheat
Richard the Lionheart crosses, sheathes, meets and greets
 in her pale remembered sun.

A warmed-over stream where sticklebacks swim
boys scream, turn over lost doors for rafts and grin.
to voyage downstream before they can run.  

Innocents peer deep into rushes and reeds
where small mammals tremble amongst the grasses and seeds.
Past her echoing ghosts of days long gone.

Yellow matted banks of tangled snapdragon
shot through with rippling nightshades, ochres and laburnum
she recalls reverberation of cannon and gun.

She flirts at the borders in the forest of the mind
her throat and breasts bare by thoughts and design
shudders to the shake of the drum.

Hem-locked Lords, now the lady Bella Donna faint smiles.
She listens with understanding to distant shouts of the child
strapped tight, bound to, never undone.

Her looking glass rubbed smooth by time, she still recoils,
when Lionheart raises sword, signals to bring him her spoils,
ripping limbs apart from each other one.

She glimpses returning boys, she watches and listens
to joyful shrieks, where tears on their cheeks now glisten
in her pale remembered sun.




Saturday, 24 February 2018

All Tomorrow's Partings


All Tomorrow’s Partings


Many, many years from here; who knows when:
we’ll meet. Maybe coffee in a Costa,
bean counting, awkward grinning across rims
like mugs. Drunk and punched by a past we've lost.


We will, I’m sure, refuse the offered cake.
Talk much about nothing for half an hour
or so, snipping each other’s phrases; words
bitten in accidental halves by nerves.


Disputing the bill will make our hearts ache,
who wants to be in debt to the other?
Fumbling for coins that change like false lovers.
Then leave. Forever, I think. Love's last showers.


Count your brief moments and lust in love’s luck:
Your futures lie like dregs in coffee cups.





Friday, 9 February 2018

The English Roses

The English Roses



Sun blistered ghosts of glass
do splinter-bleed my finger
nailed me to the past
where autumn leaves whisper.


Bullrush border frozen water. White
lily tremble and undulate. Brisk
breeze, clear sight hides night 
shade that light must risk.


Static sterile hours leaf shake
trees left barren and bare.
Just the ghost of love forsaken. 
Just a blink, glimpse of her.





Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Angel

Angel

Casual? No, no, it’s more than just:
smacking you up with daggered trust.
It’s offhand backhanded down the line buggery,
some kind of sugar coated, so what, shruggery.
Leaving you for another you and you’re left with fuckery.


Heart warped thumping, life barely pumping,
pounding blood. Gorse gored gnawed flesh.
Lungs seizing, flighting, choke-piping breath
and trembling the wrists to the very brink,
stroking; stoking remembrance, throwing back drinks,
spasms, chasms, abyss black tunnel-visions
cold fire sweating, water boarding, mindless schisms
until the body swims, muscles waste:
Then, the wraiths jump us to some other place.


And the Angel smiled and said to him,
‘How now, my love, my love, my love?
Why did you sit and stare, amongst the foxgloves?’


So, the little boy looked up, alone and hurt,
and his bare toes pushed at the dirt.
And I think he said:
‘You promised. You promised. It would last,
that faraway spell that we cast,
your future is my past,
our two lives
linked
together
our love
forever.
Unbreakable.’


‘Ah, my love, my love, my love.
Those were but foolish sounds you must never speak of.
Scatter those words amongst your foxgloves.’


So, the little boy, still sad, threw down his pen.
I think it shattered as it hit the ground, then
he frowned and cried:
‘But if I’m writing the words in the book you gave me,
then how can they then ever save me?’


But she was gone in a thrice.
leaving him to spell her name with ice.


Jump cut. Shark snip. Dissolve and fade,
switchback-swim channels, flutterback the page.
One year when we were sick-tired with grief,
robbed of our self-beliefs, no energy to turn the leaves,
honour lost amongst the honest thieves.


Judge me not, your honours,
when I say to you all,
there was a cupboard set into the wall,
a recess, a flaw in their world’s design,
scarcely there at all.
A door into the fabric of the facade.
More a wardrobe into another time.
Ask yourselves: was this a crime?
To enter with her there.
No witch seemed she, and myself scarcely a lion.
Or if so, certainly a cowardly one at that.
Even a lost knight might step across the threshold
with the hand of an Angel there to hold.
Oh, kind old Lucifer, I was once her truest love
But, my Angel, she has crucified me on a cross.
Well, I could cast my lot in with the infidel
approximate paradise here in rebellious hell.


For once I stood on ripped green, scarred Cornish cliffs,
where the rain beats ten thousand tattoos upon the gorse.
The trees are bent blasted, twisted shells.
The weighty sea crashes in swollen remorse,
lightning scores and slashes a terrified heaven above,
tearing the sky in half without a care in thought
to wreck us where we our passion sought.
We stood there together, released the dove.
And, my Angel, soon after took me, in hunger and love.


Come, Angel, I summon you.
I can do that, you know. Never think I cannot.
Because you threw your soul in with my lot.
We entered that place, there is no return,
never think that you and I won’t yearn,
for what, in there, could have there been learned.
I know I can arouse you hot and screaming
as you flit on the border of yesterday’s dreaming.
Beyond buried hedgerows, the mudlark scrapes
in riverdirt, scavenging deep down into our mistakes.


And the Angel caressed his hair and said:
‘How now, my love, my love, my love?
Why amongst this sterile sand so far from heaven above?



So, the little boy looked up, alone and hurt,
and his bare toes pushed at the eternal vast desert,
And sand hour-glassed through his fingers.
And I think he said:
‘If spells were only made to break,
then what becomes of goodness sake?
Does the future lie in the sand,
never an outstretched hand,
and nothing
left here
but the
waste
land?’


‘Ah, my love, my love, my love.
These foolish thoughts will bring the rain.
Scatter these thoughts amongst the grains.’



So, the little boy, still sad, tore up the pages.
and the fragments swirled against the ages
he clenched his fist and cried:
‘But if I’m writing the words with the pen you gave me,
then how can they then ever save me?’


But she was gone in a thrice.
and the desert sun had melted the ice.


Once
we had driven for hours, seeking a wheat ripened field,
there from the world our passion to conceal,
and every opening in every hedge had refused to yield.
Until I saw the Angel by the church.
The sun beat down upon the hay.
And so, we lay.
We tasted each other.
You were sweet. Like chocolate.
You ripped into me as though I was the last supper.
branding my flesh, scoring my thoughts,
swallowing my smile, everything I am.
Angel, in your sole, you promised rolled up protection,
you calmed, you soothed and sought nothing but affection,
and, indeed, you were perfection:
Your breasts, your thighs,
your glittering eyes
your moans and sighs.
Oh, you swore it would last,
the spell was cast.
Now do I lie sick and pale.
Fevered and shivered,
threshed and wasted,
arrows quivered.
Angel,
just some ailing knight:
punishment metred
out and delivered.
Once.


Long before all of you, there was just one.
With the power to sooth the cuts and bruises,
she showed me books and that pens have uses,
and taught me that kissing should be fun,
as she watched my back in the Maltese sun.
She warned me, though, as she ran her hands through my curls,
that you will break the hearts of many girls,
Grandson,
those eyes are too deep, that frown will scar your brow,
and the weight of the cradle will break the bough.
If you gaze into caverns, you might never return
and rue what in there should never be learned.


Face me, Angel, because I can make you, if I wish.
Before you dismiss me with a kiss.
Oh, we hide our destructive deceiving shapes,
from each of us, but we can never truly escape,
the rocks and cliffs of careless fate.
I loved you all. The heart bleeds, my scars weep,
from words never true and the spells slashed deep,
so many loves, so many faces, Angel, and time, she ever creeps.
Look me now in the eye and never assume that I will cry:
Shred me with your venomed scorn,
as your wings are crushed and torn,
your halo extinguished; your hair stripped shorn.


And the Angel stroked his frown and said:
‘How now, my love, my love, my love?
Why in this cavern? What thoughts and visions do you talk of?



So, the little boy furrowed, creased and scowling,
stood at the edge of the eternal howling,
And observed the brink.


And I think he said:
‘If spells can save you from the fall,
then why does this hold me in its thrall?
Downwards into black murky pit,
a tumble into nought but shit,
to lie bleeding
and crushed
with a head
that’s
split.’


‘Ah, my love, my love, my love.
These idle fantasies but need an Angel’s kiss.
Now throw yourself into the abyss.’



So, the little boy, took up the book.
He turned and faced her with some look,
he seized the pen and his voice now shook:
‘So perhaps you should give me a helpful shove?
my love, my love, my love.’


But she was gone in a thrice.
because she saw he’d spelt her name with ice.


Come my hearties:
Like Lucifer from the gates of hell,
march we back to heaven, against the swell,
we will man the galleon and fight the flood,
where Cornish shanties stir the blood.
Trelawney shall we this vessel name,
never more hang our hearts in shame,
We’ll breast the seas, we’ll battle for life,
unsheathe the sword, cut free the knife,
fearlessly contest the thrashing Kraken
with lust and blood the Gods awaken,
clash we all against the conflagration,
until we attain the sacred nation.
Never more to gaze into the abyss.
Never more betrayed by an Angel’s kiss.



Perhaps many years passed.
Who can say?



But Angel touched her scar and said:
'My love, my love, my love,
she has cast me down from above.
She says I sin,
she tore these wings.'

And the man looked up and barely said:
'My love. Well, that is the way of things.'