Bonfire of Certainties

A bonfire of all certainties
has been built under me –
of timbers – by unseen hands –
crossed over and lain
on a cold heart – that core
of devoutly-snapped sticks

The ninety year old fell
and they discovered
her riddle of cancers –
She shouldn’t be alive
But her bonfire was doused –
I’m happier  – she sung –
I have assurances

This told to me as I was driven
by the old woman’s nephew
through Puglia’s stone veins –
I saw my own pyre lit –
and you – my wife –
have to bear the still low heat
of this
the slowest of fires

The Mower

He has cut the grass around Stonehenge
for twenty summers, end-to-end,
ever concentric, from outer to inner,
he pulls out blades with the retreat of winter.

He knows each slab, the Welsh-ness within,
those dragged-erect stones and the truths they contain.
As the mulch and spewed grass build high in his bin,
the circling grass-cutter is again sucked in:

His subconscious cuts to a dream-fixed rout,
knots him in whispers, which the stones still shout,
and so he is sliced, chipped, and re-worked,
to be the defender against the road works.

Cast up by the ‘Henge, as its final guard,
he has been armed with the last sharp sword:
the defender of Arthur, protector of Albion,
in the dream he fills UK Highways’ tunnel.

Under cries of crows, and missives of sheep,
the lawn mower man is then roused from his sleep,
that disturbed warrior wakes at his wheel,
to return to his mowing, because dreams are not real.

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam.

I delete another email
‘from Michael J. Fox’,
and his evangelist cry
that ‘PD rocks!’

And other such homilies,
of which my eyes do tire,
these in-boxed meaty missives
sent down the thinning wire.

And then I’m mailed an offer
to re-double my shit pension,
but the fuckers forget
this luxury that they mention

is only afforded now
by the lucky few,
the politicians, the unionised,
but not for me and you.

We’ll earn less in our dotage,
but will still eat the same,
forever supplied in old age
with those five spams a day.


He is accelerating
into a compression
of constant slowing,
of rusted muscle,
and crumbling time.

He sees a narrowing
which you, an assured,
ignore at your peril:
there is no five year
warranty on your life,

you are not immune
to any of this, no matter
what you do at the gym,
in sweated Lycra-hours
of wrist-tracked time.


You tinsel town criers,
signatory luvvies,
calling for the blood
of a band of brothers,

crying out ‘gainst doing
Tel Aviv this time,
because the Israelis
have fucked Palestine.

“Make the contract in dollars
give me everything I need,
fuck the Palestinians,
this gig’s all about me.”

You actors, singers,
and cultured orifices,
would never pander
to such states of attrocities,

you’ll boycott those countries,
you high-and-erudite,
except the fat miscreant,
the U.S of Apartheid.

“Make the contract in dollars,
give me everything I need,
fuck the tribal nations,
this tour’s just about greed.”

You shouters took America
many years ago,
touring that glasshouse,
throwing no stones,

turning your back on
the fucked Indian tribes,
making no fuss
about that genocide.

“Make the letter in italics,
and sign it as one,
let’s lash another artist
with our long luvvy tongue.”


Sat close
and finger-locked,
with your thin press into

there is
almost nothing
of you to take,
except where
my fingers had

days before,
with no audience,
no surround sound,
apart from us,

Flag Stoned

The bunting had fallen
and strung in its place
long blown metres
of roadwork tape:

Our town had spent
all the developers’ tax
on wider footpaths,
which will now crack

under the weight
of various vans,
part-parked on kerbs
by the delivery man,

who will still take up
one of those lanes,
blocking the street
back to the library (again).

Ask the shop-keepers
if it was worth the chaos,
screwing the high street
for a developer’s pay-off.


That pond of politics,
where amphibians crawl,
over arched backs
to gorge in the pool,

feeding, growing,
on the bottom-fat crud,
to rise from the Commons,
to ascend as a Lord.

To claim an allowance,
deigned for the rich,
to age into bitterness,
in the House of Old Gits.

To be buried in a churchyard,
“not some Commoner’s grave”,
to die as Lord Muck,
not labelled a knave.