The Naval Architect

My eyes roll on a direct path
to my right hand – they always have –
ever since Dad primed my sight
to command made out lines

from a lightly held pen – or pencil –
across unforgiving drawing paper
for hours of inked-in absorption
and detailing – a hatched addiction

His small blue police notebooks
received judges’ commendations
for his architect’s uppercase script
and capture by diagrams of details

A ship’s profile was our introduction
with fore and aft guns and funnels
and his low voice-over was part
of my art class at our kitchen table

I make my living with that degree
passed by his mastery of capture
I am drawn from my father’s centre –
also without any qualification

Our Slack Dog Sleeps

Our slack dog sleeps – again –
under backlit performing particles –
those flecks – peeled and rubbed –
bare floating remnants of us

in ramped tilts of warming beams –
up there – fine speckles cavort against
our sureness of earth’s old ways –
under ageing theories of gravity –

That free carnival of melancholia
almost pulls me down alongside
her – laid out on our made-up bed –
matching breath-for-breath –

to wonder under our lost stars –
This is my routine – my vie with time –
now – on common weekdays
after the exodus of kids – to try

to find flow from my inertia –
drugged by my hate of
my paid-by-the-hour ego-building
for lank corporate schemers –

those dullard committees
of amateur designers
desiring temporary cathedrals
built in the air out of dust –

by me – wearing the same jeans
for three weeks – no one sees
me bent to my desk with malaise’s
dirty weight of false deadlines –

No one sees me dipping my eye
to find brief relief in my word chapels –
small wonders – crafted from
their commissioned remnants


 

 

My Designs

I am abraded by a faux light
for my immediate set of tasks –
I sit at my cluttered desk

before that eye-bleach of pixels
framed on a twistable mount –
that rarely wrestled wrist –

I slump before it – weighted by to-dos
by deadlines for stage designs –
my fanciful constructs

in rented spaces for the business
of presentations – for buffed egos
and unfurled peacock feathers –

for fat chanticleers in sharp suits
and for ruffled hens in tottered heels
to preen at brand-gilded lecterns –

those podiums were once brushed –
leafed in beaten gold for unseen gods –
but I enwomb false altars in hewn MDF –

Set to stand – braced – for only one day
before a room of corporate disciples
who pray for the coming of closing remarks

Returning to Work

The dog was away with his eldest
so there was no scurry-to alarm
with her return after midnight

She ghosted down the hallway
to find him sober at his cold desk
pinned by weights of late designs

He met her bloodshot eyes to find
how well they answered his enquiry
about the evening out in Brighton

And then he let his other senses work
out her night’s eyed-up dialogues
and her lent-into clandestine touches

Did she taste of others’ tongues?
Had her lips had been scored by stubble?
Did her neck bear a robust cologne?

She awayed to bed and drunken sleep
as he shifted the aspect and constructs
of the lines of his worked-at scheme

Drawing

Another day of distances
at my complicated desk,
workings-out/drawings-up,
a world, yet to be seen,
here conjured, cuff-rolled
under my sleights of hand;
I am a whore for every hour
at this, my digital alchemy,
turning fixed ones and zeros
into other fools’ short gold:
And when their rush passes,
designs met, now unamended,
I can then draw out my words

across other complications.


A Studio in East Hoathly

It’s a step up on his studio’s tread –
firm – unlike the loose stone path
No bend for the door – no struck head
into the workshop – here he starts

his eye-lined measure of Wealden –
He stands – readied – to catch the views
of creation which he and God repeat often –
He tools thousands of gouged lines –

His work of furrows – brow-knotted deets –
The tools – spitstickers, scorpers and stippling
palm-packed stitching – he knocks into blocks –

In sketches of subjects – from inked towns to crossed hills –
he traces this capture over the close-grained face
where each sight is inverted – where each landscape re-milled
by hand – where he is bench-readied with an obliged trace

His art is aligned to true by the encompass of love –
which guides him straight with each wood-fuelled thought –
Fixed in boxwood’s grain with a scabrous shove –
This is the artist which my verse-lines have sought


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