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’

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