To Deny

That preterist way
of completed schemes
here sound as raw
as infants’ screams

I watch the place
where parakeets nest
in weighted boughs
they make protests

Those trees which grew
a heightened shade
on this claimed place
which Jews re-made

The pool’s loud shouts
a stone’s throw there –
to that shared space
we now repair

Here parents stand
in thigh-deep games –
their inflated kids
play out their day

The Foreigner

This sun on me is a cure
helping my nails grow
and burning off that skin
which had been flaking

I am the foreigner
who scares the small kids
with his Englishness
and chrome walking stick

Older residents recognise
my dead brother in me
and stop to talk – or more
A grandmother touched my face

I read books the wrong way round
was one child’s observation
My kin have my eyes and brow
and are shocked by this mirror

Luna

‘Slumped’ would be a good description
of my state after the coffees were delivered

I cried as little as I could as we dissected lives
which crossed and recrossed around us –

like those thousand circling aircraft overhead
with thousands again also slumped in the sky

The restaurant was empty enough for tears
and for private speeches about why I cry

I am now the sad old man in this odd kinship

Eating Out

Grown men nibble on ice cream cones
as a Chinese woman commands her dog
and two girls giggle whilst playing crazy golf

Below Volk’s Electric Railway
I drink coffee and watch the planet rotate

On the horizon the wind turbines move
to the onshore whip of nature into wire –
giving us that current and difference
which the rattling train line absorbs

Forever connecting nothing but thrills
the steel and iron of Brighton Pier
creates another kind of consumption

I fear for the woman with her stacked tray
of chips and teas as she crosses the beach
The gulls here are quite mordacious

Hyde Road, Manchester

Malpas Street was assailed
in a sustained assault
once the Neo Liberals
took this city and our ports

The remaining red terraces
of parallel-lived lives
were flattened by the politics
and sold short by Tory lies

The bus rolls so slowly
cross the holes along Hyde Road
then past the brick-built islands
of those lost industrial gods

Down to the church of football
I pass unlit social housing
No one scrubs their doorstep
now we right swipe on our devices

 

 

 

Virgin England

‘Get permission from the ticket office
to travel on this train’
sums up this queue-fat England
of intransigence and new rules

Here staff cannot show emotions
or make their own on-the-hoof decisions

The green biro’d ticket was waved on
an hour later by a shrugging millennial

Class resides on trains and in politics
those two parallel English antiquities
which feed off each other
and equally upset the low users of both

The woman serving in the galley
of processed food did so with a smile

That was my only uplifting Virgin moment
.

Full English in Brighton

The bare strip lights and over-loud radio
nudge me into an uncomfortable state
in this low rent cafe

A grease-shadowed place

I stir my mug of tea and drop the spoon
into a water-filled pot of stained cutlery
as I have done so many times before

My order cooks loudly
in the best-not-seen pan
as the chat back there
gyrates between water rates
and about the old man

A square plate
piled high
(the dish a brown colour
which briefly worries me)
is placed on my table
with a nod to the few
sauces available

A Place to Sit

His round carver’s mallet
rung out vibrations
and workbench chimes
as he forced his chisel
into the oak

Other redundant tools
hung
shelved
and sung with the whack and saw

We talked about art and ecology
and how they could combine
as he formed his perfect edges
against nature’s aged grain

He was crafting a bench
one commissioned to sit
in Alfriston’s book store

No plans or dimensions to hand
because this was true art

We compared the unwritten notes
of our marriage dissertations
and found that such study
provides no long term rewards

Ripped

I read of the theft
of a golden reliquary
which held the dead heart
of Anne of Brittany

They stole the Queen’s case
from the Dobrée museum
The bold theft of this viscus
raised local opprobrium

The measure of its value
isn’t in its gold plate

Now they ask of the Knave
to bring it back complete

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/15/queens-heart-gold-stolen-french-museum/amp/

The Fairway

For SJB Thank you

The forced rise behind gorse
drops to mud trick dips and turns

quick to take us out of sight
until the dogs return at pace
in bramble-wrapped coats

They failed to catch rabbits

A bench waits upon my warmth
as the walk meets itself halfway

For five minutes the dogs are missing

Our fear of sheep
and a double barrelled farmer
drops
unsighted
with their bounding return

All the time our heads spin
with driven thoughts
earlier said
of where this walk will take us

I touched your arm
and said something
which neither of us heard