Careless Talk

Play a required symphony
by a long-dead composer
in a suddenly quiet moment
during your commuted time
Then – perhaps – then scroll
to old depressing stuff
by now-dead-Leonard –
No – not Leonard Bernstein –
Life ain’t a fucking musical
you scream outside your house
as you pause – then insert
and turn your copied key
to unlock home’s passwords
of Bletchley-worth codes
found in confusing texts
and misunderstandings
between desk operatives and you –
their long-suffering field agent
And in this domestic setting
do not spill jargon weighted
from your second language –
work’s double-speak words –
such is unknown by those
sheltered in your safe house
where what is said is often left
unspoken


E061119

Fruits and Suites

We washed in an avocado-coloured bath –
we had never tasted that foreign fruit
back in nineteen-seventy-two – or three –
we were lucky to get to peel tangerines

It was a plastic suite – uneasily creaking
with our scales of weights of our pre-teen
occasional visits – each darkly recorded
by layered rings of both dirt and soap –

but warm with the water – no cold steel
or enamel suck – a discomfort favoured
by our TV-fashioned homemakers –
but – one hears – green baths are back

For a Pot of Paint

The tall bay window
is our empty white frame –
on the front of this home
of unshuttered shame –

but now winter-battered –
past my amateur repair –
the paint has flaked off
through changes out there –

The weather has whipped it
in layer-thrashed strokes –
like the blistered hull
of a forgot-turned boat –

with a peeled underbelly
for so long undressed –
it has been left unsealed
losing sea-worthiness

No sensible man
would sail in her –
he would never return –
she is so unfair

3am

These are such long hours
in this slumbered house –
that only I ever know –

so being only mine to own
when the wall clocks talk
to no one else but me –

there is no competition
for chairs or channels
as the left alone wifi flows –

I unlock the back door
and let the dawn air flood
the breath-staled room

shorting the summer’s heat
that had been held over
from another day now gone –

which was all that remained
of a small part of my history –
a short story I’ll never repeat.

Early Rising

I let the cool air in over the parquet floor –
my temporary mistress for these few hours
before the sun fucks her rude heat
back into our brick and glass box

I said we’d need blinds to counter this
warming of the morning face of the house
But my pronouncements were stale –
like unpalatable coffee breath kisses

In the room without windows we had sheltered
from the fallout of this sky-dropped summer –
there for an evening of radiation off the TV
which in itself fed the ice-threatening heat

At this hour the bedooms are containers
of the sheet-shoved and half turned over –
where the poorly slept bodies simmer
and adjust to itched consciousness

It is only five o’clock but the sun has risen
at this point on the turned earth’s surface –
Soon there will be words about the weather
and requests to fix the sprinklers will be made

Fixings

A bare bulb hangs by two wires
over the bathroom mirror
as a reminder of his absence
with that unfinished fitting

I walked between the rooms he built
and am now that rare ghost
having flown back to my home
of other incomplete projects

The future is never reached
as we flounder with tools to build
our small palaces and shrines
in which we wander on our way to die

The Long View

I’ve relocated my drawing desk –
we lugged it to the front room
where it hogs the bay window
with the intended long view

I now spot parents and fat kids
off to retail therapists with bags –
I watch them plod down the slope
to then return – to ascend slacked

My foreground is neatly fenced
by neighbouring OAP purgatory
where septuagenarians snooze
in the blind-fitted conservatory

There none visit the anchored few
who shimmy on wheels and frames
to and from their short destinations
of bed to table and then board games

My own rest home is a slow torture
of afternoon sunlight through glass
but it is my now my preferred option –
I have a better canvas – of sorts.

A Letter Home

I do not see this shaded life ending –
that which is being set forth by you
A plan of my restraint from expectation

to make me more comfortable
in a low shelter erected inside our home –
to protect you all from my hideous storms

I will not be laid out in the front room
in a God-awful wake of thirty years –
my very meaning slept away each night –

making daylight a drawn prelude to sleep
That is not my life – it cannot be the way
to feed my dignity and the thought of me

Wireless Night

04 19 marks this moment
which I share with you –
but I am still alone –
being single in a double bed
with a radio programme
and a mug of cooled tea –
My early hours are confused
by the distortions taking place –
This is a flight over deep seas
which are as hard as land –
My window was rattled up hours ago
to let the air in overnight
which is now laced by bird song
at 04 29


E210119

Ghosts

They say that there is a ghost
in every old house

That frigorific forms will rise
to meet with warm blood
and damp bones

an attraction

almost a magnetism

It is beyond any control

Love is a heavy haunting
which we meet unexpectedly
in bars and dark bedrooms

The ghost I knew was cold

which I did not tell the kids

She troubled the shadows
of our chattering family home

Late in the night I would run
three flights of stairs
Yes
me
the adult
fucking scared

Box Set

We are drunk-slumped
drugged by red wine
and the wide screen
into the L-shaped sofa

that and the sequential playback
of episodes long ago watched

It is a life now rewound
made so unstoppable
by a misplaced remote

Time no longer exists
for us
the once-tuned
to watersheds and news
played only on the hour

We don’t pace ourselves
with the TV breaks

Instead it’s consumed
in bibulous retakes

Slap

My father had thinning hair
and ever thinning teeth
and a quick temper

no fists
once a slap

when my year older brother
sliced the bathroom sponge
with Dad’s shaving blades

There had been general punishment
until us boys
the muted quatrain
then gave up the culprit

A loud slap
once
which never healed the sponge

Returns

We refilled our disgorged bags
doing that roll up and re-stuff
necessary due to the rule of travel
which dictates a greater volume
is required on every return
another thirty
or more
hours of transfers and trolley bags
before we find our own pillows
the soft heart of our home.

The House My Father Built

I am still weighted by the dream
of a house being built
by my long-dead father
It wasn’t him – but some stand-in –
and the details in the windows –
where colour was etched to capture
the hills and home of deer
so that the past could be lined-up
with the correct view and angle

A small leak in the high roof
and paint trod into the carpet
and cut timber remained
and an improbable kitchen –
which we mentioned lightly –
and it was likened to a shooting range
He had been a good shot


E030520

Boxing Day

Sunlight is unexpected today
but welcome across the floor

it is heightened by blown clouds
and their linear crossing of the blaze

such quick shadows are soft removed

and before this all the branches dart
outside my front bay

those bared arteries conduct the skies.

Returns

That first day back
of rush-and-forgottens
as this holiday home
is squeezed of teens
and returns to its role
of roof and routine
for another term,
and outside The Unruly
form pairs and packs
on the narrow paths,
back to scattering
their breakfast crumbs
up the hill to school.
And then just the dog.

The Ending

They gather, again,
after an endless week
of slow commutes
and old complaints,
about train operators
and these long dog days,
but tonight, all together,
returned to the village,
at the cricket ground,
propped on folding chairs,
or in heel-rocked groups,
gripping their quick pint,
and here too those
time-battered wives,
the stay-behinds,
who attempt to hide
their underlined eyes
behind bag-sized
designer sunglasses:
Here, outscoring,
by the pint-poured pavilion,
they size up the weekend
and, again, get slightly pissed
before they return,
at dusk, with burnt-out kids,
to their pleasure domes,
still on loan, as is the car,
and all that they know.