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