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

 

 

AI Writes

AI wrote a sonnet
under a pen name –
Ada Lovelace
but it was derivative
and badly rhymed

and so dismissed
by critics and editors –
those word-harbingers –

(they did not know of
memorylessness)

or of Ada’s hurt

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

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?

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