A Deal

If I paid you in cash
would that make
meeting up
an easy trade to do –

without those afflictions
brought on – again –
by your loud dam?
(How she stage-whispers

in your shell-like –
that ear-piercing hiss
about your choice of men
and your other failings)

You never liked her
enough – be honest – love –
your mother’s devotion
will not be won – not yet

If I paid you in cash
would you lie down
for me? Currently (I see)
there is no queue

but then my appetite
for easy ways
seems long spent –
Let me pass on that deal

Brothers

So we look alike –
a connivance by genes –
but he smiles under higher
cheekbones

He is (still) crowned
by bottle-blonde hair –
we both have enough on top
to brush aside – for now

We make such
similar guttural grunts –
as if our low voices
have just broken

But we have been
split
for so long
without knowing how

to deal with sour differences –
our slighting jealousies
and curdled
misunderstandings

It is up to wives –
and ex-wives – to try
and fix things
Spilt milk leaves a stinking stain

which is hard to lift
from trodden-in places
Perhaps our ways
will not cross again

Grandpa? Not Yet

Look! Waking white etens are tailwind-struck by onshore gusts. That tall flock of unfixed turbines. Into Kemptown they will march by France’s orders beyond La Manche ..

A readied Grandpa story – not yet –

not now – not pinned – not aligned
above high tides by unseen wordy fixings –
by birthdays – yet again – by cakes with candles

blown out – Once more – and finally out
Those one-legged giants were plummeted
into cedings – by borings into seabeds

through lost layers of petrified trees
into our once-forests washed off-shore
Let me tell giant stories to your children –

about hundreds of acres before this began
Our grandchildren do need to learn
that history is scribed beyond this land

Eremocene

It is impossible to maintain
a rooted perspective –
Heraclitus observed
as he openly wept

It is not the same river
but we are also
not the same people –
that will be my shooting stick

to lift me from stiffnesses
of age and old iniquities
Those rivers now rise
under too-warming urges

My car’s curved high glass
requires less screenwash
through summer-flown months
There are no insects to smash

All through it my kids sit blind
behind their bright-eyed phones –
we do not know how much less
they see on their screens now

Portraiture

Those days of old kindnesses
are not stroked into any recall
by my finest of sable brushes –

not weighted by sweet squeezes
of rollable toothpaste-ish oils –
now it is my turn to sweep colour

inside out – now that other tongues
have given up their generous ways
Take my hand – my copier of colours –

and let if cover your unkind mouth
There are no gilt frames to contain
your cold-hearted complaints

The Duchess

There are kinds of poets who give poets
a bad name – not me guv’nor

Perhaps bejewelled ones in headscarves –
those hosts of salons or saloons –

Sorry – my attention suddenly dimmed

Those who do nothing for our honest lies
in verse – with Mr. and Mrs. Thesaurus –

knocking off – and out – in parked cars
No grandiloquent words for us plebs

Before Digital

Revox B77 – high or low speed –
from my easier analogue ways
before everything got too fast

DN300 and DN360 graphic EQs
in 19″ racks – screwed and mounted
Even electric drills were rare

I could load a truck – but only after
being shown how to lift and turn
a case in the air
so that rubbed case knuckles fitted –

Tighter than Jan’s crotchless knickers
Sex wasn’t online or easy to understand
when fellow loaders joked – analogue days

If You Both

For Beth and Sam

If you both show kindness – then your love will survive
Within such an offering is your ever-guiding light

Sam, do not hold her too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold her too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold her at distance and ask her to change
Only hold her tonight – So you can hold her again

If you both find compassion – then love is enough
Every kind word will settle and not be rebuffed

Beth, do not hold him too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold him too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold him at distance and ask him to change
Only hold him tonight – So you can hold him again

If you both find joy – then there is a fabulous passion
and each kiss will seal and assure your marriage

Sam, do not hold her too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold her too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold her at distance and ask her to change
Only hold her tonight – So you can hold her again

If you both offer freedom – then your love will flourish
All lovers are separate – but less separate when married

Beth, do not hold him too tightly and leave dark marks
Do not hold him too closely against your fear of loss
Do not hold him at distance and ask him to change
Only hold him tonight – So you can hold him again

Love is pure regard for another’s well being
You will find love forever if that’s all you are seeking

Excoriate

Do not throw anger
back at your other
unless you are ready
to stoke their ire –
redoubled surelye
by your avoiding eye?

Do not find focus
by pin-pricked pain –
held in narrow
concentrations –
unbroken – then set
to scorch again

Your steady point
of magnified aims –
that glass you do not
use to explain –
instead is held
to summon a flame

Do not mark your other’s
yet burnt skin
with borrowed light –
such scarring
will not fade
with time’s passing

Let us idle by pints
and half-cubed shorts
to steady our nerves –
to refine our remarks
and look without trying
to see less censed lies


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