Eremocene

It is impossible to maintain
a rooted perspective –
Heraclitus observed
as he openly wept

It is not the same river
but we are also
not the same people –
that will be my shooting stick

to lift me from stiffnesses
of age and old iniquities
Those rivers now rise
under too-warming urges

My car’s curved high glass
requires less screenwash
through summer-flown months
There are no insects to smash

All through it my kids sit blind
behind their bright-eyed phones –
we do not know how much less
they see on their screens now

Birthday Presents

For WM, on yr 15th

It is now that time
we scan around
and make honest
our current account
of fouled landscapes
and our – ever – endless
opaque cloud makings

by cheaply-oiled flights
over raised high banners –
bearing boasts of growth
and much-much-wealth –
as if such heavy hauls
leave no poisons – no trace –
no residues – no spillages –
no inhaled lead in blood

And tell them how
it will be
in ten years time
or twenty more –
or whichever
we can hope to bear
And look with me
into their eyes
and say –
Kids this will soon be yours
to fix – Good luck

London Sweats

A fan-cooled idle chauffeur
slumps
in his employer’s slick black
double-parked Mercedes

with its engine left running
for working comfort
as it stokes London’s
smoke-free zone

Kensington High Street
puddles
with our fat drops of sweat

See my old man’s back of death-damp –
patches of sweated whisky and beer?

They push me to seek
short-lived shelter
alongside a hundred others
of every nation
in air-conditioned shops
with wide open doors

We all become refugees
with changes in weather

Words for Mud

We trampled under re-tugged hoods
across even wetter exposed ground
like low-eyed parlour-set cattle

both of us making that slab slurp
as we pulled our sucked heels
from immeasurable puddles

Stoach – was it uttered as mud
and air and boots glued? – stoach
and slab – discarded once-words

now rarely spoken – only by smeery
glazes – by worn pathways
There Wealden clay will complain

as hill-walked hours wear it away
Time will eventually reverse to tell
what truly lies beneath our feet

Then all our losses will be obvious –
no flights – no travel – no sinking islands
on TV – we are making errors here

Temperature At Thirty Three

Our shaded half
hides me from heat
Year in and out
we seek a shelter

My solution
is to meet curtains
right before
sunrise and shut

out each degree
increment of hate
and stupor
in this house

whilst others fling
and swing – by hinges –
openings to
let warm winds in

which is one more
difference – one more
theft made
by a cruel thief of time

Ashpan, Texas

Your waking place
is a hollow-man’s town
with vacant homes
close to falling down

and solar-curled paint
peeling inside out
No drapes to draw –
only shadowed shrouds

That un-slept place
is your reading room –
all indexed resources
were wordlessly removed

There’s spines – there’s covers –
but no truth in sight
A baying Governor
set writ words alight

They say work’s returning
although don’t know what
They’ll be whispering lies
until you thumb your vote

Your feared sun sits low
but it left life peeled –
stealing a glossed layer
from that you had sealed –

taking your hours’ labours
with an eye-cut brush –
torching your hand of care
Your town is burning up

 

Furze

They grew low gorse
alongside their homes to
thorn-tie bright laundry
under drying high winds

Clym cut back high furze
and disappointed his wife

It is a rough plant for sure
but promises – or removes –
depending on your view –
kisses by force of fashion

It was an uncrossable border
in my common land youth

There was a story of a man
recovered from a thorny whin
by a coastguard helicopter –
help waved down by his hand

Furze flowers were yellow pebbles
for insects to skip between

It was my first time on Ashdown
in a too long time – and bared
gorse was my quiet surprise –
We have lost natural assurances

We once knew a season’s place
by month-ends and blossoming

 

Also here: Places of Poetry

 

Breakages Will Be Paid For

If we retune our focal point
to close-up local degrees –

before losses mount and tip –
we will shore our existence

Beauty is frail underfoot and
to be stepped lightly upon –

not a fixed distance of
uncrushable listed hillsides

Those huge labelled targets
are easily miss-able

Our urgent responsibility
is in within our short reach

of to-touch and other such
breakable display items