Decade Measures

RIP Chris Bell d.24.08.87

A decade mislaid since his
lingering disappearance
then Latin’s alphabet surfaced
across a white stone – struck
below a dusty Israeli suburb

Ness Ziona stands over him
He had jumped his rusting ship
another twenty years before
leaving a trail for investigation

How he ever got to Tel Aviv
ending up an eager volunteer
only him and God now know
sharing – as they do a bench
slumped – stalbet – in a cemetery
under high apartment shadows

 

 

The Mother-in-law Joke

She then struck out
with an open hand
to land callouses
and a creased palm
flat and fast across
my unshaven cheek

Unexpectedly received –
her flesh-reddening hate
applied five digits wide –
a gold ring-smacked slap –
it was my mother-in-law’s
barely risible routine

All because my wife lies
so turning her sour love
into a vinegary mash –
Never live with a woman –
those joke-gifted words
rung from another time

And if that assault
had been my strike out
then jangled handcuffs
would now be mine –
inequality has
its slight advantages –
sometimes – for some

The Naval Architect

My eyes roll on a direct path
to my right hand – they always have –
ever since Dad primed my sight
to command made out lines

from a lightly held pen – or pencil –
across unforgiving drawing paper
for hours of inked-in absorption
and detailing – a hatched addiction

His small blue police notebooks
received judges’ commendations
for his architect’s uppercase script
and capture by diagrams of details

A ship’s profile was our introduction
with fore and aft guns and funnels
and his low voice-over was part
of my art class at our kitchen table

I make my living with that degree
passed by his mastery of capture
I am drawn from my father’s centre –
also without any qualification

Gaddy

Constance Mary Sad – Baker – Clark –
also known as Gaddy

pranced
through Europe’s dared-to
decadence

finding her feet
in those wide-flared seventies
in every kind of ballroom competition

Come dance with me!
Len called –
a nine scored five times

by a sweet Devon girl
who once graced low tides on
Braunton Sands