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

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

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

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 details in the windows
where colour was etched to capture
the hills and homes 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 carpet
and timber cutting dust remained

and an improbable kitchen
which we mentioned lightly
and was likened to a shooting range

he had been a good shot

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.

Sick Note

No, I do not regularly
commute away to work,
or to pushy schools,
or sumptuous trips alone,
and there meet others,
and interact, deeply,
with so many people
in an assortment of places,
for assorted pleasures:
So I badly escape,
to the same rough places,
for a coffee, or beer,
and then slowly return,
usually at the call
of my freelance work.
I am always here. Alone.

Sunday

The backlit curtain hesitates
across the open window,
with the inhale, exhale, breeze
it moves on the unintended axis,
creating a dragged complaint
of man-made materials,
an almost-radio sound effect –
of the turn of Edwardian ladies,
or the inflate of doldrum sails,
perhaps a man’s last breaths,
and here I will lie, behind them,
putting off the shift called Sunday.

First Hour

I boot-up from an ill-night,
one of disturbances, of pain,
under unpolished dreams,
to the unnecessary brightness
now lighting domestic chaos:
my slept agitation seeps
across the bathroom, bedroom,
and then mills about, recalcitrant.
I carry over the dreamt infection
into the first hour of each day,
my crude night’s spilt-illness
will dissipate, but only under
woken, worked-on, distractions.