#BlackFriday

I crumpled – again – this morning –
with the endless news – which I cradled –
still warm – in my left hand –
then this unplugged device dimmed
to save on power usage

I stroked the sempiternal story
with a stiff finger – re-lighting it –
the act of scrolling – like teasing skin
with love’s lightest of touches
to bring a waking company to life

My roll-over nights of trickled
sweat-streams will be re-stoked –
Reuters reports of more kinds
of fucks – of over-heated ice
washing from those off-white poles

They now count the last of a species
on one hand – measuring the missing
in thin percentages – filling media inches –
which shift plastic – that advertised crap –
I crumple with such endless news

Bar Work

For P.

//Grown men bear-hug
in the cinema bar –
this town’s tough men –
they stand held-hard
//with doffed back pats –
almost softly-kissed –
after sunken fizzed beers
after curried fears –
//and the curled-hair girl
quick-checks her sly glance
in the double door glass
of the flung entrance
//That beautiful woman
on the other sunk sofa
before heading out
sinks a sobering soda
//and I’d walk her home
above staggered kerbs –
struggling – still holding –
her wine-tipped words

The Wounded

(A nod to @tonyhoags_LPS)

I am – I think – also wounded into speech –
by limped-off difficulties – by disconnections
away from my pages – I admit my ply of lines

of instant fixes – of weaved words into verse
My tipping point – there by daylight – re-set
after dull errors and other such mistakes

it is my NHS-wrap of lightly cast plaster
to mend – gripping – my snap-bone moment –
or – the tip of talcum on to sweated flesh

I am no more hiding from the heated fallout
of my dull errors – those bombed mistakes –
my day-to-day words are just housekeeping

What My Words Are For

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache
bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt

Did Wittgenstein mean –

‘The limits of my language
mean the limits of my world’ –

or – in other translated words –

‘the limits of my language
stand for the limits of my world’ –

and then later he then stated –

‘the limits of my language
are the limits of my mind –
All I know is
what I have words for’

#HustlePorn

You are a part of hustle porn
having once taken the dark oath
in a silent swearing-in

You surrender to twenty-hour days
missing every sunset in the week

You are schlepping overnight – there
imbibed upon their dripped breasts –
be they Yahoo’s or Spotify’s squeeze
in their rule of the way to work

You are pressed against the deadlines
with your suckled infant face

You dreamt of electric sheep
grazing on forever-rain rooftops
because you fell asleep reading
a novel – because you cannot sleep

Because your eyes are glued wide
open – because
You suffer hustle porn

#ExtinctionRebellion

You stood together
deep and wide enough
to stop cars from crossing
London’s tarred bridges –
leaving the delayed
Fucking! at your solemn belief
whilst blocking the concrete
arteries which cross and re-cross
that leaden slug – the Thames –
But the oil-soaked rags –
those still-connected papers –
only reported the traffic chaos

#extinctionrebellion
#RebellionDay

Egon

Schiele’s quickened passing
at twenty-eight years of age –
just days after his wife’s death
and his pillow-propped sketch
of her looking back into him –

was more shocking to you
than his egregious
unfurling of women –
than his use of cadaver colours –
than his fists of cherry red knuckles
and brush-heightened nipples
in rude ochre brightness

His death scene was art –
like his eroticised life
where his place in it
was at the centre of sex
which he kept in twists of love –

of girls in their pulled-up stockings –
lifted tight – but not as high as
their dog-dark fleeces
on their ridged pubis regions –
which they pointed at – and into –
with their gnarled finger touches –

There above the not-quite contrite
cock-spaced curves – which he sculpted
in paint over yet another stretched canvas –
there in the air between their swayed thighs –

there lay those air-kissing sex-salted lips –
all his undressings pre-dating porn’s
artless forms –
there to feed others’ sexual pleasures –
those of the greedy male collectors

The Street Artist

Across the radiator-hot pavement
is his greatest work – ever
under the gawp of holiday kids
and the blind-sided motorists

They will not know how much
the snapping sticks of chalk
weighed in his eye-in-hand –
even on such days of sunlight

The pain in the painting is his
to hold – briefly – in his quick grip –
to get the artwork down and out
before it is worn away by use

Units of Measure

It is this moment – a problem of
mine – in my stumbled-to-stand –
when I rise to a lowered sobriety –
to another false swing of swagger
into the blind tight turn to corners
of sharp right-rights and then-thens –

I am stuck still – counter-stopped
at the gloss-bald white worktop –
to find-and-twist – to dead-head –
another French label – volute
from contorts in cellars – such snobs –
at eighteen quid-ish of so much –

So very much more – bottled up –
Another grip on her narrow neck –
she opens up to a wine bled red –
a gutting-burn of drunk guilt
as I surrender to my mild hangover
which is my waking anal fist

Kurt

So it goes – from the
slaughterhouse cellar
under Dresden –
At that safe depth –
with Werner Gluck –
his half-relative

An unholy war
as narrative – but
it has no time line –
it makes no sense –
until historians
claim a victory
from those events

Grandpa stood
with the PPU –
he fought in fields –
not foreign felder
he eyed the loam
from his pacifist shelter

On the other side
an enlisted man –
my dead grandfather –
shelled on thin sand

Pablo

I wasn’t looking for Picasso
but I found him – seated –
whilst my Spanish was poor
his English was gilded

Please – Monsieur Picasso
Call me Pablo – he gestured
at the world and her wife –
Could I ask you one question?

He looked me up and down –
sized for a suit – or a kiss?
Maybe eyeing my fixed shape
for his oiled redress?

Was it – ‘Inspiration will come,
but it must find you working?’
Or – ‘Inspiration exists,
but it has to find us working?’

His eyes were hard marbles –
set polished and buffed –
I was stroked by his gaze –
those eyes were his touch

which re-set the truth
which now took me down –
Realmente importa?
A smile then a frown

He loosed a curled dove –
his brush was speaking –
‘Inspiration exists –
but it has to find you working’

Turns

I returned the ripped heart
of Saint Laurence O’Toole –
canonised post-mortem
for acts whilst entombed

As Archbishop Lorcan
he acted well in hair shirts –
and in shroud-wrapped death
he performed miracle parts

Another found-reliquary –
I gave it back to the nuns
Religion is theatre –
but it’s not the West End

This Parish

We stick to the leaf-kicked route –
a parting of the dry sea of leaves
cleared by dog-following boots –

We tack down its meandered drop
to the time-softened abyss –
plugged not by God – but drains –

where a watercourse once hollowed
the hillside into this shallow dean –
before the slugs of tarmac upstream –

Here the irregular plots of silver birches
ignore the fallen old lady in lime green –
this is the parish of ineffectual giants –

these natives – a copse within the woods –
are a finger-daubed fearful tribe in white –
chary – waiting – as if standing ready –

listening for the infected invaders
from other places – for intruders
who will bring other such followers

to spread the canker and pestilence –
which was not the way things changed –
not until we changed the weather

Hangover

There is an almost mist of ghostly off-loadings –
like pellucid Nan Tuck – or the long-lost Lord Lucan
My night now haunts me as a half-recalled dream

I breathe and count steps – taught by Seneca’s NHS –
Let only your body wander – don’t admit useless thoughts
The dog bounds due east in her leaps at life’s time

Unseen from overhead I’m no more standing – erased
under glances of passenger lists –
I am lost in the skinned canopy’s leaf-bare branches

I am then ducking below berry-weighted evergreens –
where the temperature drops by one or two degrees –
and still the weakened sun scathes my misted wine eyes

Naming Rights

Should I give a name
to those stolen logs
and breaks of wood
which were dragged
and then laid in place
in the muddiest parts
of our dipping routes?

They span the indents –
the heel-suck puddles
in the uneven paths –
Not bridging boughs
too stepping stones
I will leave it now to
a far greater authority
to find the best thing
to fill that word space

#bbcqt

Hear pile-up politics in a thick lathered buzz –
Question Time’s audience is a scream-streamed TX

Almost over-directed for a hyped-up reception –
Our screens are re-tuned to TV’s deception

Below the radar into our licensed homes –
finding the softest – in our sofa-slumped zones –

Some people will toss their floating votes –
they’ll re-tune held views via the set-top box

to long-lost frequencies of old-school racists –
an angry audience with their for-TV faces

Envious

My envy device knows me too well
just from the lightest of my touches –

She is engineered to conduct risings
inside my mind from sparked jealousy –

ramping up to shrill shocks of hate –
which will then swill around my unfit gut

and tease those last good microbes
into a lurching frenzy of brain cramps –

then I want to steal their smug smiles
which beam from their side of the world –

and she will be working so very well
at keeping me in her malicious circle –

and I will add fuel to her high pyre
by posting my oh-so-perfect life atop it all

*Inspired by@guardian and Moyra Sarner – thanks for the ‘envy device’

The Butchers

There – baited by the thump
of traffic several times –
it looked more than dead
with its striped pelt ripped open

There between the rush
of commuters and trucks
magpies took greedy pleasure
from the brock’s speedy kill

There the spill of pink inners
across the black tarmac
was a shiny reminder
that this pile was once alive

Here on my return journey
the carcass is less – now bated –
but not by the mischief of birds –
instead by a compaction of cars

Shortcut

Dream holes and desire paths –
those spire views and bared routes –
those modern urban lay lines –
guiding light and human shifts –

letting sound and choice drift
until the unbuilt gets put down
and our tracks are lost to tarmac –
when our reveries are blocked up –

once the empty churches are sold
and the open parks are enclosed
by signs halting walking on grass –
we will lose the ways we made

Late Out

This dessicated path
is an off-white scar
under the moon’s phase
of waxing gibbous

Boots and tamed dogs
have worn this route
into a grass-bare map
which I read by that light

The holding flightpaths
of man-made meteors –
of ephemeral accords –
circle among the clouds

The transmitter mast blinks
with a beast’s red eye
shaming Arcturus and Mars
so even those stars fade

This as the bypass hums
a song of our war won –
our tilt against creation
by over engineering

Ali

This latest named storm
is as magnificently loud
as Seaford’s raw shingle
when overturned by tides –
but now it is tipped across
the highest of these trees
which emit fearful creaks
and then offer a low footfall
of snapped touchwood

These tall variations
take each sucker punch
like hardened pugilists
with their bent bones –
whilst whipped saplings
spill their dried germen
as they cower and crowd
like ingrateful men
sheltered from a fight

I sit to rest my shuffled legs
and shut my blasted eyes
to truly see what I can hear
as the stripped off leaves
fall in layers around my seat –
each arrival noted by the puff
of a soft landing on another –
In the hush of this ripped storm
I find my ancient connections