Fraxinus Excelsior

Here – I have been orange-dotted
as if another fungal-blighted tree
Spotted on for obvious lesions

My fate sprayed – eyed – to-be-cut
and then left to rot – an alienation
for the good of these woods

My body bears an odd contagion
as does our less common ash –
as does our elm – both under threat

as am I – stuck – until my balding crown
is tipped to unstable and then falls
to leave me without my honest Cordelia

A Lepers Squint

Our pew is set for untouchables
We watch through a hewn leper squint
That tunnelled sightline was gouged
by your dust-bitten youth and old men

to ensure that we filthy sufferers
are kept out of your hallowed house
of slung beams – of struck stones –
of holy words – we cannot speak out

My prayers rip up before they finish
I dribble red spit from my curled lip
I implore for my ill disfigurement
to plague your stonemason’s next kiss

Traveling Through

For DS

Soft disturbances by a welcome breeze
have woken me – along with crept daylight –
as my room’s weighted curtains dance

Rise – like Stafford – and write before
another day has been sucked of words
No slow verse
will earn me enough to labour to such

But on my back – my normality is a rush
of common complaints – not that difference
shown by my drags and drunken-ish ways

What would Mr. Sangster do in my position?
He would be up and rolling with his kids –
but then Mr. Sangster has secret superpowers

And another daybreak in my hand – as this device
brightens – clever sensors inside meet sunrise –
Another call to get up from my sloth’s slept pit

This ragged imagination of mine has risen
before my body – that is where errors are made –
too much thinking – William E. will expand

Fluxus

My heated tears contain stomach acid –
piteous shit – feeling sorry for myself
having thrown my empty gut’s content
into the piss-plated Made in Italy bowl

They will not scar my face – we only fear
such long-term effects on our throats –
heightened instances of – that is enough
for now –

Sit with me as I pop my evening’s dose
of slowers and helpers – shaped as pills –
and pray they stay long enough to kick in
and get me through a night I need

I am still sucker-punched – struck as such
through this day – but needs must
so let me sleep and find a brief peace –
I am sorry Son for saying I want to end it now
It comes and goes


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

A Calling

It was a pile of bare facts
offered on thumbed A4 papers
She searched it whilst
suffering from acute self-diagnosis

but could only uncover Diverticulitis
there typed out and slid between
other printed sheets
filed in black dust-lined trays

whilst an old boy too-loudly
then too-brightly – grutched
far too-noisily about
his own complaint to a nurse

Consultants’ rooms
are time-flawed monasteries
of waiting – of slow duties – with prayer
and others’ voices bound to

callings to blind-pulled cells
in which our tired priests sit
But this is my wife’s summoning
to another saint-named place

And – again – an absolution follows
That necessary shrift to solve
discomforts set under our skin
and over our lives

and we are lucky – we leave
without having to see higher gods
for a second opinion
This referral is her small miracle

A Pathogen at Work

This year’s olive crop
is failing across Apulia
as older-than-Christ
groves are uprooted

to break the spread
of the end of the world
for sun-dried farmers
who bear the dark look

of bereaved parents
at their child’s funeral –
as their questions to God
are waved away at mass –

Their pontiff no longer visits
because Rome is burning
with rumours of disease
promulgated by priests