Before An Alarm

I am abraided at five AM
to another sung summoning
of loud bird light beyond
my night-bared sash panes –

but was thankfully deaf
in those dark hours earlier
to returning songs of drunks
on their way back from clubs

with their waved polystyrene
trophies of spilling chips –
that mayonnaise trail of fun
runs drip-drip-dripped away

Let me slip from this long itch
and find release from stiffness –
as it was in my lost night
of splendent working dreams

Instead – only a cooling rinse
under that wide shower head
and then a return to this bed
and cold emollient for my skin


 

Russian Roulette

I’ve heard that at Oxford Auden slept with a revolver under his pillow – Elizabeth Bishop

A bolster-engineered solution works
for my now nightly supine issues –

no handgun is – yet – required –
but poets can be miserable fuckers

and that urge to fire off blank verse
in that hot scrum of an early hour

means my sleep is often disturbed
by crept thieves and angry ex-lovers

who do not want their ugly regalia
plastered across perfect bound paper –

or those others who steal my words
and pass off my breath as their own

No there is no revolver – no weapon
to set me to sleep with its close muzzle


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


British Aisles

Among slow movers in Waitrose –
who have all the time in the world
to hunt and gather tea time’s treat
to eat under sheltered rooflines –

there is a muttered dignity in aisles
These retirees place select items
in shallow trolleys as they stop-go
Unhurried in their emeritus ways

In its cafĂ© even us – such younger ones –
adopt the hushed reverence of age
and put off less urgent ‘phone calls –
a church service is about to start

Then fluorescents flicker and douse
and our light snacks are in a dark place
But those old shoppers do not stop
because such an act would be surrender

And their jokes flare up about shillings
and no one’s fed the meters
Their only way out is by those steep stairs
because no one trusts those German lifts


Blown

Throw them ever higher
into blue skies
to become black smoke
and blown particles

and do not care
about age – infirmity
or status of anyone –
just soaring margins

She turned into flight
as sooty confetti
A working lift?
Is this Heaven?

She saw London’s
sawtooth lower jaw
How cold she felt
dropping as ash

In her new lightness –
before wet dousings –
was a brief release
from profit seekers

but it wasn’t on her list
of urgent repairs and fixes
Those in high places
never read her misgivings