Last Dance

You were a low-slung
holdall of hot tears
in my useless arms

like those strained bags
of fairground goldfish –
ones eventually flushed

Not my choice of dance
either – in an empty place
at this time of life –

too much to yearn
after your choosing
of others’ routines?

Another unasked
question left to quell
as my discomfort rises

Seller’s remorse kicks in
as you consider my
boxed up possessions?

Do not answer me
and score higher points
of pity from our audience

Let me leave untouched
without your wept stains
on my dropped shoulders

as salted marks of high rank –
which you had removed
in a previous court-martial


Super Veterans

This lake’s shore is disturbed by cutters
and mowers at two-stroke Sunday work
of keeping back too much growth –

still their gig crew rolls through turns
of hard rudder and clean recoveries –
breaking out a wake and six puddles

Four – together – power – six – power through
cries their cox above Canadian chatter
from a disinterest of drifting geese

I wear a bench well – even at this age –
my practice of securing such comfort
in open spaces is my latest fascination –

along with finding a place to live
and other such micro matters in life
which pale under this sky – seated lakeside


War Poets

Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’automne
was coded – still popular poetry –
to give notice –

his long sobs of French-sung violins
declared an Allied invasion
to those listening

Whilst she never understood speeches
of love – and our common
mistakes –

I would rarely read to her – she rarely read
my mutterings – my weight-pared
compositions

She never understood what was being said
She found poetry too difficult
her own résistance


Rotarians

I am not that someone
who revels in hate

Her look at the bar
left me cold-eye weighed

Poor Phil-the-farmer
could not match my smile

as Val took her drink
leaving her stare to scythe

Those Witches of Newick
have stirred their dark brew –

they sweat its rank scent –
a mephitic perfume

I settled with my pint
in the turned barrel seat –

my lonely remove
was my greeting defeat


Breathing Out

This is an interval, ein Augenblick
Philp K. Dick

Before your lake – we stood naked
and overconfident in such ease –
having lost our cold distrusts
in earlier bared dips and slow strokes

Your surrounding land is disconnected
through every minute by our staying afloat
as we mark our desire path of currents
with briefly sunken bubbles

Over that unmeasured depth of secrets
below my grabbable limbs
you whisper – again – of being taken
and my fear of drowning is reawakened

There is a dry patch on your neck
that emits a hazy whiff of chlorine
There are no known medical conditions
to explain your chemical sweat

You break the surface from your dive
as if expelled by buoyant hate
having brushed my shrunken parts
whilst playing with my sinking fears

It takes seconds for your eyes
to open – birthed in that brief ooze
of broken tensions – we have no rope
to pull us from our uncharted abyss