St. Anne’s Hill

My father died
aged fifty-five,
I was aged
twenty-three,
he slipped away
at St. Peter’s:

My mourned dusk
then came back,
as I was buried
in the haunted dark,
under the canopy
in Buxted Park,

back to his story,
as we three ducked
through the woods
on St Anne’s Hill,
our fears fostered
by his ghost story.

No Angel

He endeavours to be
one who ‘can’,
not a bit-part, paused,
not half a man,
not battled to bend,
with rusted mettle,
he’ll hold her at night,
unmasked and settled:
No more a young man
in the place reserved
in God’s waiting room,
which others deserve:
Grant a slow decade,
ten years of good life,
please God, he asks you,
for his kids, and his wife:
Re-set their happiness,
that for his spouse,
he won’t demand space
in your over-filled house.

Two-shot Tories

A table of old Tories
in the Kemptown cafe
plotting the downfall
of your future today:

Grumbling ’bout democracy,
and ‘leftie threats’,
whilst wanking their pensions
on skinny lattes:

The last generation
to enjoy a grand old age,
they’ll spoon all the sugar
and ensure nothing remains.

Where I Sit

I sat with care
on a wide (sawn) stump,
it cut back
by an oxidised blade,

I found a seat
of chamfered comfort,
but still a hard cushion
of battered rings,

where the rounded years
had been taken 
by the scouring rain,
and the decay of things;

now rubbed back,
grooves removed,
until the turn of time
had been loosened,

and the history of it all,
once held central,
had been hard-weathered,
no more nature’s annal.

The Pile

Every brick was identical
and took the same grip
in the lift from left to right,
from the old pile to the new pile,

in the repetitive task
that I undertook –
to clear the driveway
of the builders’ detritus.

Each heave was unique in time
but same as the last,
with slight variations
at the start and the end.

Leftover dust was blown
as I picked at the old pile,
counting the weights
like our equalised days.

In such manual work,
of free menial sorts,
I build a low wall
on a slowly stacked week.

Two Women

I met Makris and Demeter
bent over a half-inflated dinghy

and me, the old boy,
interrupted their labour

with a brief history
of my youth on The Thames;

‘meander’ came back to me,
along with ‘blade’ and ‘gate’,

my recall faltered at Barcombe,
on a twist of The Ouse to Lewes,

their sure sweep of youth’s grace
patched my pause with their words,

they were back from The Anchor
to this downstream landing;

they sparkled in the late-May light
with an assurance, in such love,

and I walked on against the current’s force,
but only knee-deep in meadow grass.

The Card Shark

Today I faced up to The Future,
a rather distrustful chap,
he bowed low
before my person,
but this man is full of such crap:

The Future doesn’t regret,
never stays in the present to say
what his timings hold for us,
and what of ours will now remain.

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam.

I delete another email from Michael J. Fox,
and his evangelist cry that ‘PD rocks’
and other such homilies: my eyes do tire,
of such in-boxed missives sent down the thin wire.
And then mailed an offer to double my pension,
but the fuckers forget that this luxury they mention
is afforded now by the lucky few,
the politicians, the unionised, but not for you.
We’ll earn less in our old age, but eat the same,
forever supplied with those five spam a day.

Wrecked

Too long adrift
on my life raft
of tapped thoughts,

short-winded,
burnt by the sun
and unseen salt:

A rudderless man,
with sickness induced
by this tidal ride

of the curved
and empty horizon,
then struck wave-blind.

The slap and shatter
of seawater
are lunacy’s call

to me, displaced
in the wreck of my body,
a drowning fool.