Measured Life

Under a stiff corrugated sheet
was a lizard king – an envy green –
coloured in by me of your wild place

hidden by your bungalow frontage –
Bungalow is a foreign word
replanted a century ago in this country

Your garden is an eyed up tunnel –
what the Scottish call a howk
dug out by regard to your gate to Sussex

Your offered photography competition
places me in my last century Surrey
of huge distances lain in eyed safaris

when we met insects in squared up inches –
propped on our grass-moulded forearms
Such measurements were lost – until now

And then a sumptuous dragonfly stages
her circumnavigation of your soupy pond
to bring me back from my I-Spy enquiries


Small Dole

There – Careful – it takes us up
with a broken concrete offering
to David’s uneven heat-scratched lawn
of bastard grasses and inveterate weeds –

unintended God stuff
but enough to sow doubts
Still – we can cut them out
without too much effort –
for now

A weed is a flower
without a lover
a friend had said – as well as
his stern dictum of
Michael – never marry a woman

That Israeli summer of sweat
between Anat’s wet thighs
was his concern and my lust –
Michael – she said – I love your brother

Clackety-clack – they sang –
as a rattled song of songs –
those flitting overnight sprinklers
spun once our local nuclear option
had dropped to eight o’clock

David could name every living thing
as if God had passed down his crown
We walked together – he looped
with his now-trademark swagger

in his Sussex-rooted garden
of kind disregard for fixed horticulture
And there was my first instance of knowing
that a shared disease is ours to reap

Leg Work

This is it – this is falling apart
with unknown shapes of years left
having relinquished – by request –
control

by time – by illness – by love

with shins purpled – stained
under ripe scars and biting itches –
my overnight monoculture
blindly scythed by my bit fingers

They are not your concern
This is no more your upset

Smears of chemists’ creams –
slap-readied to swim La manche –
and an abstinence from drink –
neither inconvenience is a balm

whilst my consultant reiterates –
Epidermis itch is not
a common factor
in the progression of
Parkinson’s Disease

And if this spreading bren of skin
without relief – no place of rest –
if this is my forever flay
then no wonder I take sleep first
after feet up rest on our sofa

Estate Agents

Those virgin fence panels went up
on both sides of our scored land
as flimsy ramparts to mark out

your own extents and hard edges
before our house – our home – is split
by an auction – of sorts – of blind bids

You tipped complaining barrows of earth
into a hired skip and into low indents
as you oversaw each shored footing

for fifteen freshly hewn fence posts
and at least a thousand splinter risks –
you put everything in a fixed place

after your tie-knotted estate agents
had advised you on such necessary repairs
to achieve the best price possible

now that you no longer wish to live
in this haunted house with me
and with my unmet Ghost of the Future

The Stick

There are re-tightened circles
within my bind – my condition
of well-rounded concentric ripples
Feel them grip – feel with me

He laughs at my stick and walk
because he’s so very drunk
before an unequal fill of booze
ferments inside my empty gut

thickly – as if a dreadful influenza
but none of those highbrow fevers
Like when your own infected body
had been rammed flat by it

Now you expect me
to lift myself up from this floor –
out of spilt beer – for inspections
and more qualified interventions

all the while our state and yourself
still owe me back payments
for every too-long worked day –
which weigh on me as tired eye tolls

For those – and your destructive love –
put down a deposit to secure my loss
Pay out against my final demand
for a resilient stick to abet my steps