Kelley

You could be renamed
Siddhartha

by that forced passing of
your own marriage act
without my consent or seeing
your hotel-safety certificate

You had checked out exits
and did not look back
at soiled sheets and towels
which you had rubbed

I pray you find happiness –
I rename you – Kelley Lynch

Bee

Their massed die-offs
are merely statistics
fixed by white-suited
pollinators
in huge trucks of profit

who are forever re-filling
their hired-out hives
between pollen buyers
and ramping-up bee prices

Colonies will collapse
under modern diseases –
by man-spread illnesses
and by slicings of trade

Neonicotinoids may kill
the striped-arse armies –
but other – larger forces –
shade their sun-dance ways

Ah Wel-a-day!

This is my fifty-fifth year of birth
and on my over-rehearsed day
there are fewer cards and family
to mark my unintended arrival

This is a turn of further mistakes
made worse by another weight
set around my neck –
my huge bird which awaits blessings

but such luxuries are not sent –
not in time for unwrapping today
and not as easily bestowed gifts
to be untied from this tired birthday

A Crossing Point

We walk with affray as our guide
to find another crossing point
without repeating our last mistakes
and so putting all forms of trust
into reverberating beaters’ sticks –
our almost guileless diviners –
on stepped along routes laid
flat by others’ boots on
this meadow’s rush of grasses –
and not yet finding that stream
but – instead – standing alongside
a blown mead – a seed-top lake
of wind turned waves of green –
it talks to me of bared contact
between opposed forces –
of only compromise
in where to cross – If only
you could see

Chesil Beach

Will it ever happen? My voice falters
through this late illness
Oh to be reborn (higher)
as Mr Ian McEwan –

which is a fictional acclaim
of another person

Let us measure the worn pebbles
strewn by his ins and outs of moons
along his old pile – his stretched bank
of slipping shingle

See how his beached fishermen
can assume their sailed-to distance
away from where they launched off
just by looking at relative sizes
of landed on stones

like word counts – risen by worn tides
and daily changes of amplitude

He would not commit my fraud
of publishing self-edited works
Me – this writer of verse stories
sucking off my life of unsure
goings on

Florence – my guide who fumbles –
who will want to count out my medication
and place them in tight pill trays

We have drunk and spun
at London’s 100 Club
below brick-pressed soil
of Central London’s weight
lined in red from east to west
and back

again

We handled a soft give
of art’s sticks
which others call out as brushes
Now they are my voice

Her hands tremble when holding
blue porcelain before that tight vicar
who is leashed to his god by
a bleached-white collar

My strung semen and shame lies
on her virgin skin – a tugged garter
of exertions off cocksureness
I am Edward too-knowing
of only birdsong

led astray by my wife’s words
that we can live another life
of queers
by being separate – but still matched

Your married choice
was of a foolish husband
and an incomplete writer
Please read On Chesil Beach
to understand love

 

 

You Asked

What are you all doing tomorrow?
We are coping with disturbances
across gust-rippled dirtied ponds
and roughed-up gutter puddles

We misread momentary refractions
before off-centre concentric heights
roll into a greater tidal rise –
even in shallows where no one drowns –

not until now – Now
I want to sleep early – not to stay up late –
not to exchange tapped unpleasantries
on SMS to blast at my tired eyes

A month ago our empire was lost
to your tsunami shock –
It will be spun by folklore’s voice
whilst
we believe in love’s old ignorance

Henley Homes in Lambeth

It has now come to pass
children are set aside
before profitable hedges
to maintain London prices
over fixed social housing –
though their adverts stated –
common areas are there
for the use of all.. residents
This split capital sets
poor doors as markers
to keep rare palaces high
and beyond the reach
of most average born kids

The Reading Room

We are looking about
at a screen-stuck-to
silvered generation
of eye-glued viewers
in trawl-warmed hands

Those old phone huggers
sit logged in to online’s
click-bait refuge
of tittle-tattle and gossip
and foreign muckiness

under scrolled fingering
for rolled eyes of delight
and instant connectedness
to others’ risen anger

Those mobile surfers ride
on a curl of upper lips
and toothless sneers –
set high by published lies

The White Houses

White immigrants are less-than-wraiths
casting no dark shadows in fever-run minds
of spooked politicians and border racists –
unless they live under foreign beliefs

They are then disowned as aphotic threats
to be that very fear of more is now enough
to allay relayed anxieties by politics and gods
These raw mistakes of old law-making deities

is seen in the spittle on their trembled lips
of rage – which mouth against differences in skin
and hallelujah songs from howled minarets
and synagogues – prayers of sprayed bullets

come to such gatherings – spitting evil’s phlegm

A History of Sex Education

We were taught to label opened plants’ parts
in our relentless study of misunderstandings
and delayed innuendo – ’til later zitty years
of sniggered connections behind bike sheds

My youth was a scruffy hedgerow of wank mags –
naked bodies spread – stuck by god-knows-what
under skin-scoring brambles – in rotting stuff
Now real sex whiffs – it festers – dank openings

No more impossible nudity – just a moonscape
of cellulite – never seen on those peeled pages
of Razzle – or Mayfair – once tossed into lay-bys
by truckers at rest – timed by a tacho’ clock

Today it’s free online – stapled body parts gone –
Still stiffly-fixed shots under poor exposures –
Still fifty quid in used notes to bend to their lens –
Pages of sex get stuck in browsers’ histories

My education in these matters formally ended
when my interest in other things put such aside –
like a childhood hobby that should be curtailed –
grown men should not play with models or toys

A Wedding Reception

This wedding party has fallen off –
Even the guests have had enough –
Mrs.Glenross sleeps in the lobby –
The hotel staff are now long-lost

An untied best man sways
to a two-fingered eye of whisky
which will be regretted before dawn
His rocket fuel is measured in shots

A fallen hareem in ball gowns
show once-alluring cleavages
as they take their turn to drop –
poison is coursing through veins

How many spouses
will still be married
come this honeymoon’s
half-sober morning?

Put it

It may be a million strong
on the streets of London
with four million more
signing in their absence
across a petition -it will
never be let to speak
because The Deaf
are in charge of your future
and we The Muted are too loud
for them to bear with open
windows up Downing Street

Shipping Forecasts

We will struggle for storm names
and typhoons will be numbered
in the Northern Territories

We will enjoy sequential weather
and buy rain and shade covers
in equal measure for such events

Extremes will be downgraded to normal
They will re-define old tide charts
re-draw shorelines and flood plains

But we will suffer drought and wildfires
through months of cracks and widenings
without the squibs of English summers

From across the channel tiny migrants
will swarm in the blown air to find succour
among failing crops in Kent’s dry garden

We will struggle with Biblical excesses
and nature in the new ways of weather
which we will not be able to name

The Bird Table

That waking ear-fill of true birdsong –
as if found – was in truth brought on
by my flickknife choice – by my cutting
at connections to streams and channels
full of self-satisfied chattering

My re-designed distance from others
is freeing me from time’s smother –
to clear air and breath – no misty poisons –
no more breathing in expunged words –
those wonder curls of sour exhalations

We had massed – no more pas seul
for crumbs – to sip at our shitted-in pool
of held rainwater and waded warm piss –
We were fattened on sour disturbances
which festered as their offered titbits

making us so sick – so we did not dare –
there – to old wintering in the warm air –
instead – we consumed – I am unable
to make it to your shared high place –
I am off – I no longer feed at your table

Fifty-five

Life has bleached my forehead to the bone

My alarm is set early
to nothing –
to a home solitude –
except for my youngest –
except for this word search
in my head
for that which is known –

it is known
and then decrepit thoughts
rattle loudly
over my grunting
down
each
stair –
So – fifty-five years of age
this month
but already the ghost
whom I fear

The Builder’s Mate

There – above taught plumb lines
and a bricklayer’s knowing eye
of gauged slaps to alignments –
parried like a joiner’s fine blade –
your men make up for your mistakes –
never measuring twice – you cut once
so badly that your deep footings flood
with run-offs from your mistakes
which I can no longer block by love –
My own eye is still good for lines
and building virtual palaces –
but my tooled efforts were not enough
to convince you of my true craft

Hampstead Heath

We scurried across NW3
but not the low-laid Heath
of bricked-ish village-ness
of idealised introversion –
with loquacious City views

No – We took the buff support
of metre-high teak bars
before the flow of beer taps –
erect like those glass towers
stood in that visible rotten mile

We ripped at the greenery
of London’s low-rooted life
Scarred and weeping skin
from middle-class weekends of
pottering was not ours to wash off

This city is a rubbed scab
which if picked will bleed
from its red core and then fester
until a dry canker kills it off –
Once for all – as the Bible says

We slept with different women
of various sizes and weights
and woke to awkward breaths
and memory loss – some things
are best left on Hampstead Heath

Outside Uckfield’s Picture House

Outside Uckfield’s Picture House –
it was offered up in black and white
as a step off the narrowed path
to then fall under a slab-grey car –

They’re always exceeding
the speed signs through the lights –
or –
They set the limit too low
in this bloody town centre –

My body thumps – it is then whipped –
accelerated sideways on that ride
which comes to Luxford Fields
with a shout of fairground tunes –

For once in a lifetime thrills –

My stick is sent high in the air –
It is offered up as a simple device
to my cinema audience – roadside –
a cut-away shot in super slow-mo –

But my actual step finds me still
on the kerb to see the slab-grey tail
of that car pass downhill into town –
I haven’t hurt anyone – not today

A Crew

There is a slight run of resonance
with squared dips of catches –

it quickens with timed recoveries
along those rumbled turns

of leather-collared connections –
so that the forward lean-to-timings

lever everything to leant finishes
and the opening up of your lungs –

and we haven’t even talked
of power with the blade’s bowing –

We can master the cockboat’s turn
through hard rudder tips into the wind –

by finding strength in fixed ways –
by using the entry and exit in unison

A Casting Couch

Again – a rolled-eye look upon you – a lost lover
in muddling dreams – with me as your interloper
who pulls at those fetters you forged when away//
We had made our tugged bonds in bicycled years
when curious games stopped at bare cliff edges//

My role in this slept future is as a limping outsider
writing cinematic recall of my much-dreamt scenes
between us// Ages ago – we shared flat beer and lovers –
rounded turns as we sunk our pounds into pints
and did low crimes before spread cathode light//

Back then we had fewer things to switch between//
None feature now in my sleep’s three-part act
of sweated sheets// Now our phantom presences
are acted by sleep’s bit-part reveries –
so close to the choices we made without a script


 

A Ghost Story

Up at five with the ghost
who is an hour ahead –
not one for the clock’s
change – she lets light in//
She leaves her stew of scent
on my stiff right fingers –
as if marking out extents
upon me// She squats
upon my vice-set thighs –
her other working of me//
See – this sheet is stained
and pocked by blood
once a month – it is she//


 

Climate Strikers

For B.M.

Your handmade sign
is stood ready for Friday’s
demonstration against
your distrust in our ways –

My grandfather’s choice
was the Peace Pledge Union –
he then had a quiet war
his boot on his spade’s shoulder

as he sliced dark soil in England
so claiming a holy conscience –
in that amorphous mass
who sought God’s thoughts –

No placards – he sent a postcard –
a small weight of words – first class –
to show his sense of disbelief
at such waste by warmongers –

Carry your panel high for a day –
and then again seven days later –
there is no one else to speak out –
ever since God quit your world


Despair

There’s bull in the china shop
and bullshit in the air –
there’s a crash of metaphors
as Britain despairs –

Parliament’s members
throw stones in the house –
whilst Farage smirks broadly
as they bring home his cows –

Johnson – in his jodhpurs –
readies his horse –
the reins will be passed
under Brexit’s hard fall


Four Years

Five-zero-three-fifteen –
my DX anniversary
of a ‘phone consultation
upon basal nigra’s role
in my slow-witted downfall
and other explanations
that Google had offered
over the previous few
years of not-knowing
how many search results
were not sponsored
by quacks and sawbones –
Now it is uneasy sleep
and dreams of running
which keep me turning up
to this annual event


A Markov Chain

Your single dice is rolled and fixes
the next move of your red counter –
and then things – like probability –

also occur by your releases –
all observed by him – Markov –
who winks at you and your tits –

We are grey with tiredness –
our dog will sleep until our gate
is pushed to allow steps on gravel

and your return from Markov’s place
with your trolley bag of dirty linen
labouring behind you – suited to city life –

There – stand and stare at bare flowerbeds
and desire for small hints of weeds
to not return to this squared garden –

Let us no longer play games of chance –
Markov has your breasts cupped
and will now roll you across his bed


 

 

Platform Five & Six

See it
See it
Say it
Say it
Sort it
Sort it

This is a security announcement
This is a security announcement

The next train on this platform
is the 15:41 calling at East Croydon
Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges


Remain behind the yellow line at all times
Remain behind the yellow line at all times

See it
See it
Say it
Say it
Sort it
Sort it

#BBCQT

I turned off the BBC’s
weekly Question Time
it’s now a B-movie
played out by UKIP-types –

Bland egos screen-act
mincing up for clap-baits
from the baying audience –
all cheered up by hate

as a host steers the fears
from lost hope to idiots –
this is Jeremy Kyle
with professional gits –

But late-at-night viewers
under booze can’t deny
the glaring screen truth –
the Beeb also lies


 

By Love’s Light

For LB & JB

A lone traffic light beyond Kemptown
oscillates with near-nervousness
as it instantly switches between colours –
older-type bulbs – now made redundant
by lower prices and higher brightness –
once took time over their slow instructions –
But we no longer have that eased luxury
as we drive at our uncontrolled speeds
through a few more degrees of change –

Queen’s Park’s leaf-naked rooted troops
lift prayers for god to temper wind speeds –
it’s bloody hard work staying upright
for plants – for people of various sizes
before rolled surges of shingle-lifting wind
and air-thrown salt kisses – rust readied –

My car cannot settle when parked up –
a moored rocking effect upon its axles
almost slips me into sleep’s slowed nod –
but my ajar window is a penny whistle
played by the gale’s fat-puffed cheeks –
and it jolts me awake to my missed cue –
bringing me back to my nervous state
about weather not carrying old-line labels
and of less comforting climate forecasts –

Within fifteen minutes I have driven us east
to Rodean Cafe and a high view out
to Brighton Marina’s rigid lines at sea level
as repeated waves crest in a broken spray
over a long curve of that rebar-pinned wall –
smug like a reinforced Canute – to stem tides
like mine – under this nameless rage
of a nervous separation and blast-tipped fixings –
I say to you both –
By love’s light – there will be a slow change


 

Those Other English

There is a malaise among those English
set sore by a too-shared saint and crosses –
spoken of in footballers’ reedy voices
at post-match interviews – post more losses –

Now Being English is not quite enough
for Pimms-pourers and pub-crawling bigots –
Cuckolded Englanders distrust each and all –
those past Offa’s Dyke and Hadrian’s Wall –

those who speak of The European Project
that obvious brain child of English logic –
Those truest English of English hate again –
they hate all foreigners – that’s how it begins


A Pathogen at Work

This year’s olive crop
is failing across Apulia
as older-than-Christ
groves are uprooted

to break the spread
of the end of the world
for sun-dried farmers
who bear the dark look

of bereaved parents
at their child’s funeral –
as their questions to God
are waved away at mass –

Their pontiff no longer visits
because Rome is burning
with rumours of disease
promulgated by priests


Finding Signs

There is a languageless rule to reading puddles –
to understanding such first-glance nothingness –
their impossible silences before trod-in signage –

a gauging of place – now – by such offered inches –
ones dredged by tyres – those in unfettered lees –
below busied hedgerows – there held evergreen

against all buffettings – such pleshes can guide
you when compass-less – a small-ish understanding of
nearby prevailing wind helps to fix your position –

known conditions assist in your marking a route
by each reading – taken – it will give you knowledge
not spoken to others from your stared-at puddles –

and flooded plough trenches – and by potholes –
by rain dropping – as storm-clock worked droplets –
and of damage done by such small repetitions

over time – as nature finds less is left natural –
then you will need a new sign language
to name each stranger season of weathering –

whilst you struggle – again – to pass your folklore
without old landscapes to bind your tired stories –
as floodwater-and-thirst rise to alter all readings –

except those re-told by your oldest survivors
of what they saw before – in muddy gatherings –
their earliest evidence of man’s impact on earth –

as Robinson attested – as he circled heel-and-toe
on virgin sand – to find a matching disappointment
in himself at marks he made – huge ramifications


First Year, 1970

Aged five to school – an unplanned addition
M. Bell – born into a monochrome 1964 –
just after real sex was bargained by Larkin –

Miss Green – my teacher – wore the latest
fashions – miniskirts and roll-neck tops
with cropped hair and big jewellery –

all co-ordinated above calf-fixed trends
of highly-shined high heel boots
and her daily sprayed halo scent –

Aged fifteen – my recall of Miss Green
was fixed again – seeing her once more –
she was still wearing 1970 well

when we passed in my dentist’s alleyway –
that red brick shortcut to the High Street –
but she did not recognise me – now fifteen –

A decade earlier she was my cool mother
on school days – she had set me to new words
and easy metrication – before my release

to longer grass and longed-for summerings –
She is now – by my calculations – locked
into her last few years – and still wearing
nineteen seventy


Plough Parts

Sometimes I write
with a broken stick
onto softened soil –
a sharp-end cut –

Her plough-straight lines
of parallel strikes
sit side-by-side –
like wide tyres’ ruts

and bear dark puddles
in which sucked boots
muddy the shape
of my coulter’s truth


 

Endings

There – an ending – a recourse – a damning
by more admissions – by reductions
& other canalisations

which can no longer be left to flow
by a misdiagnosis – by new meds
or by wearing of pulled-tight blinkers

We are drowning – we blind guides
with uncovered still useless eyes
miss each slipped & stained indiscretion

which creep like unfurled underwear
from between tightly-zipped travel bags –
Wayfarers wearied after nights
away – working – unavailable –

apart from a quick one – a filling of gaps
in hotel expenses & of endless bar tabs
everything to be removed – forever
under this title – Endings


Shrove Tuesday

Shriven into a repentant’s place –
readied for a cross of palm ash –
a marking – tomorrow – of believers –
Yesterday was our early Mardi Gras
of confessions – But we do not follow
those fading rules of others’ liturgies –
We cannot name their Shriving Bell
as they stick it loudly to parishioners –
I was last in a church in Birmingham –
under glass and impressive masonry –
but did I not see the work of God –
Now on this half-holiday we will feast
without you here to guide turned heat –
to sear fat and remnants of shopping –
We have given up everything
to a non-date far beyond Lent’s tests


 

Cox

Slipped backwards with a slight grumble
of keel complaints on that steep slope of gravel –
and our loose rudder is quick to shift – left or right –
as if kicking sullen under reversed ways –

its complaint is slowed – then dismissed
by my pull and straightening – my first correction –
We drift into being a crew as dry blades lower
into the fix of pins – set as bared pegs on a line –

You are the cold engine – me – a tugged-corrector
of your early misfires – of too-short reaches
and lax recoveries – they will tip our vessel
like a nervous fish in an ever-shrinking pool –

as we outgrow circling and find a desire for waves
and their high rises – then lives will depend
on us mere coxes – us shouters and fag-suckers –
we will need to read sea water – as if born to it


 

Comforts

A pint on a Monday – at lunchtime?
Things must be bad – Michael –
And so they are – but I only offer lies
above salted crumbs on my table –
small pieces – but shiftable boulders
to summer’s soon-invigorated ants –
able to heft such burdens of others’
relative insignificance – of leftovers –
But that is a season away – along with
beer-swilling wasps and longer days
of enough light to keep me
from the pub and beer on Monday


Dry

Bugger off to those soda syphons
claiming in January sainthood –
un-settlers of our sense of right
with their smug month-long cast
of sober teases off whipped rods –
with their dry false flies as bait –
those anglers now spreading
their dull-witted winter diseases
of no more indulgences –
drowning by their dry resolution –
But we have our thirst-fix gulps
from all-answering tankards
as they stare out at tame still water


Two Masterclasses

A.A. rebuked me –
Do not use ‘I’ –
that first person singularity
it’s not yours to rhyme –

It’s of the oppressed –
their turned-to-word –
for taking control of
that which is owed –

And – A.A. then said –
There’s too much ‘the’ – too –
‘The’ is a word
which only dead poets
should use

But J.G. had reproved me –
a short while back –
The ‘the’
is missing –
it makes your poetry slack


Found in Birmingham

[A prose poem]


Here is an old white male using his poetry to ease off drugs and dropped lines – verse defined words – his strips in place – in plied lines – to avoid being lost in a rush and buff – of being set to in slow motion – fixing over him – sat above him – then floating signs which point at him – they light him in garish neon – and flicker with shouts – this old white male crows – this white male quietly denies bright white goods – this white male will now – as one man – apologise for chains – for tied ropes – for pricing bent heads – this palliation is not for any racist whom he knows – those he hears – those foul loud spat speakers – he can see their white spit – sickly double thinkers – there is white hate paint on the tip of every finger of pint tipping beer drinkers in his ghost town – he reads their glassy foamed thoughts as they form – because we all emit that local illogical eye illness – passed down – lie to lie through ill brewed words – and other such ways – our white lied said inflexions are caught in our history – the way the world rhymed and how our thick ears cock – but ignore white crows


 

Lossy

So this internet thing –
it is not perpetual –
those coded points
are subjected to atrophy
by compression –
of post-reposts –
a shrinking by interactions –
a constant thinning –

as offline moments thicken
with time’s hand-hefted
brushwork —
see – original composition
is super-fogged
by varnished layers
of obfuscations —

My dark-slapped lacquers –
upon my rubbed recalls –
are words-on-words –
becoming dried-hard glazes —
Even instant-spun thoughts –
such attempts – gloss over

finding not enough
clarity to remain –
all will fade under the loss
of servers and by untruthful views
of clicks-by-bots —
These words will not last long enough
to work for us