#EasterSunday

He kicks his third found ball
outside our back door
beating an executor’s drum roll

before his imminent collection –
by his mother – to be dragged
to Grandma’s gathering of love

where elephants stand in rooms
and his overbearing relatives
pour their necessary champagne

and pretend that life is beautiful
everywhere – but don’t mention his father
or anything else to spoil this day

He will return with word bruises
but he won’t show them to me –
I have to accept his light kicking

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

She Said

I will carry on as normal –
as that is all I have

I will listen to your requests
but not adhere to any said

I hope you approach my acts
with a more rational mind

I am not ‘heartless and nasty’
and I’m not ‘breezing around’

The situation – as it stands –
is untenable for everyone

So she said – poker-faced
not listening to anyone

Les Sonnetts Luxurieux

Is this her ultimate
act of sadomasochism –
his rest of days of pain?
Is his reply allowed

before her face down lies –
taking it from behind
which are – for others – kinks
and well-hidden discomforts

She pleads her case of cruelty
when such cruelty was her cut
and thrust by strangers’ cocks –
no matter what it cost

Claim innocence in such art
of milking men of all shapes
She craves to smell of roses
She wears her crown of thorns

which she pulls down – tighter –
enough to make a hundred blooms
Her sweetly-bled lacerations
are red jewels adorning her skin –

also worn within as rough scabs –
to peel off by her recall’s pull
That delicacy of altered memories
is her art to serve and savour

Redacted Vows

This ripped-up body
of our scarred marriage
can still live – even now
by each reducing breath
of old vows and love

if we do not talk
if we do not scream
mis-weighted words
but instead stick
to honesty on paper

Such measured prints
can be re-scaled
through that rare craft
of self-censorship –
it will take time to bide

Waiting Rooms

You’re not qualified enough
by your distrust of cocaine
and an ageing disinterest
in disreputable bedrooms

Stay in – keep it straight
and look after your kids –
make sure good things
happen on time for them

whilst others party
wearing white moustaches –
All those kissing cousins
bringing elephants into

relatives’ sitting rooms –
ones already disturbed
by dementia’s whisking
of related recollections

You will find a distance
in your moved-to postcode –
in new waiting rooms –
and by flexing your dignity

The Loose Path

Seeing our lover despondent and in crisis, in tears and unable to cope can reassure us that,
for all their virtues, they are not alienatingly invincible
.
Alain de Botton

Those seven slabs lie – unevenly
spaced on the gravel path

cheaply formed concrete squares
instead of hewn stone tablets

setting all visitors’ strides equal
for their entries and exits

between this falling house
and the latched wooden gate

On number three you stood
and wept too loudly

because of your recent choices
and how they will set you off

from our semi-detached weight
of bricks and faux-stone faces

out to temporary rooms
But that is your own elevation

and your tears will not dilute
my resolution to see our ending

Use those loose stepping stones
to aid your welled-up blindness

I will count out
your seven gone strides

An Exhibition in London

‘I paused feeling exhausted and leaned on the fence…
My friends walked on and I stood there trembling with anxiety’.
Edvard Munch

There is a new exhibition
We should go
but Edvard’s far away church
and distorted pier will be unreachable
in my time of heightened anxiety

She had me put my own hands
to my head to mute her yawps
as her tirades lined the air –
set parallel under nature’s law

A coil of white flesh rolled back –
all of an inch – as deep as the edge
of steel that had lifted my skin
My wrist did not bleed – not at first
There are my insides
said in my as-child voice
And then the bloom exploded

That scar is a faded masterpiece
from my repository of old times
of innocence by slowness –
before this acceleration of fear
coiled me up in her homely asylum

We will travel up to London Bridge
on another day
and move through huge galleries
and then find a coffee shop
where we can sit without speaking

Inconveniences

And she complained
loudly to herself
that this wasn’t
what I wanted

This marriage of
inconvenience
since his diagnosis
and reduced income

deflecting focus
from her inherited
sense of insecurity
One passed down

from one who
got around too –
as noted by relatives
looking inwards

at her admitted acts
to keep me sane –
forever locked in place
in an echo chamber

A Crossing Point

We walk with affray as our guide
to find another crossing point
without repeating our last mistakes
and so putting all forms of trust
into reverberating beaters’ sticks –
our almost guileless diviners –
on stepped along routes laid
flat by others’ boots on
this meadow’s rush of grasses –
and not yet finding that stream
but – instead – standing alongside
a blown mead – a seed-top lake
of wind turned waves of green –
it talks to me of bared contact
between opposed forces –
of only compromise
in where to cross – If only
you could see

Chesil Beach

Will it ever happen? My voice falters
through this late illness
Oh to be reborn (higher)
as Mr Ian McEwan –

which is a fictional acclaim
of another person

Let us measure the worn pebbles
strewn by his ins and outs of moons
along his old pile – his stretched bank
of slipping shingle

See how his beached fishermen
can assume their sailed-to distance
away from where they launched off
just by looking at relative sizes
of landed on stones

like word counts – risen by worn tides
and daily changes of amplitude

He would not commit my fraud
of publishing self-edited works
Me – this writer of verse stories
sucking off my life of unsure
goings on

Florence – my guide who fumbles –
who will want to count out my medication
and place them in tight pill trays

We have drunk and spun
at London’s 100 Club
below brick-pressed soil
of Central London’s weight
lined in red from east to west
and back

again

We handled a soft give
of art’s sticks
which others call out as brushes
Now they are my voice

Her hands tremble when holding
blue porcelain before that tight vicar
who is leashed to his god by
a bleached-white collar

My strung semen and shame lies
on her virgin skin – a tugged garter
of exertions off cocksureness
I am Edward too-knowing
of only birdsong

led astray by my wife’s words
that we can live another life
of queers
by being separate – but still matched

Your married choice
was of a foolish husband
and an incomplete writer
Please read On Chesil Beach
to understand love

 

 

You Asked

What are you all doing tomorrow?
We are coping with disturbances
across gust-rippled dirtied ponds
and roughed-up gutter puddles

We misread momentary refractions
before off-centre concentric heights
roll into a greater tidal rise –
even in shallows where no one drowns –

not until now – Now
I want to sleep early – not to stay up late –
not to exchange tapped unpleasantries
on SMS to blast at my tired eyes

A month ago our empire was lost
to your tsunami shock –
It will be spun by folklore’s voice
whilst
we believe in love’s old ignorance

Fifty-five

Life has bleached my forehead to the bone

My alarm is set early
to nothing –
to a home solitude –
except for my youngest –
except for this word search
in my head
for that which is known –

it is known
and then decrepit thoughts
rattle loudly
over my grunting
down
each
stair –
So – fifty-five years of age
this month
but already the ghost
whom I fear

A Markov Chain

Your single dice is rolled and fixes
the next move of your red counter –
and then things – like probability –

also occur by your releases –
all observed by him – Markov –
who winks at you and your tits –

We are grey with tiredness –
our dog will sleep until our gate
is pushed to allow steps on gravel

and your return from Markov’s place
with your trolley bag of dirty linen
labouring behind you – suited to city life –

There – stand and stare at bare flowerbeds
and desire for small hints of weeds
to not return to this squared garden –

Let us no longer play games of chance –
Markov has your breasts cupped
and will now roll you across his bed


 

 

He Really Did

He really did not know
for how much longer
he could hold on to her
and still be dishonest

He had walked far more
than he had drunk –
but still staggered
along the loose path

off which his love for her
dipped like a slunk ghost –
then she was there –
caught by a car’s high beam –

then she was inverted
like a shadow between trees –
as if his recall of her
had been politely dimmed

as if they were long-divorced
from each other –
that common vote for failure –
which is the wedded norm

Loot

So she dug up my soul –
I have a price on my head –
she pulled it from my skull
because of what I said –

Quoting Aristotle –
in accordance with virtue –
she showed me my old failings
as they formed a ragged queue

Jealousy and mistrust
once mine to sculpt with ease –
I’d struck at our confidence –
I’d cut her blood with tears

She placed her prize on scales –
held high by a blinded hand –
and claimed the inside of my head
was hers to now command

Her Book of Acts

Other men arrived
so many times
finding a night
in wide open lies

I was made surplus
by your choice of lust
One return to the past
was never enough

That unholy spirit
descended to hell
as retold by Luke
and the Acts you tell

John’s head demanded
The Baptist was bowed
as he prayed over you
you took him as well

The Delivery

I am driving slowly to your place –
well under the national speed limit
because there is no more rush
to arrive – to park up – to be there –

I am returning with the fourth nail
which a poor blacksmith forged
for a death and his condemnation –
but I cannot deliver it now

I step from the car with less art
because I no longer bear my weight
without a graceless poke of a stick
combined with planned landings

‘The sharpest will pierce his lung’
his feinting mother was told
of those tempered metal pins –
one of which I now hold

Knife Crimes

I had sliced open my thumb
peeling flesh to fish-white bone –
but the unexpected incision
refused to well and bloom

Caesar took over twenty cuts –
and may still have survived –
but the one knife that killed him
stopped his heart – and then his life

I was stabbed by your fingers
and by your loud blunted tongue –
I pressed at my open wounds
to catch the crimson run

Then I raised my whetted blade
to your bared narrow back –
and plunged it so deeply
that your spine was duly snapped

Bank Holiday

The curtain moves as if asleep
those slight adjustments

but set by breeze
which is laced with the heat

promised today
over the news

Roads will melt
old men will fade

skin will burn
to such rude reds

This is the latest I have lain
after another night

of the new normal
of wakings and stiffness

in the places of which
Leonard complained

Wireless Night

04 19 marks this moment
which I share with you –
but I am still alone –
being single in a double bed
with a radio programme
and a mug of cooled tea –
My early hours are confused
by the distortions taking place –
This is a flight over deep seas
which are as hard as land –
My window was rattled up hours ago
to let the air in overnight
which is now laced by bird song
at 04 29


E210119

Honesty

As we suck in murmurs
I shut my eyes
the endangerment less
of that to cry

To explain in plainspeak
this fixing of pain
is to convert the Jews
to Christian games

Dinner is served
in a heated dish
as I drink red wine
which bleeds bullish

We hang the evening
like a bull in blood
the severance of such
is of all once loved

And I cry like a blackbird
that hazardous rasp
as tears hurt my face
in this regular farce

The Tin Man

I have thought of taking
unthinkable leaps

forced by this impedement
which reduces each step

I have examined myself
in a cracked black mirror

allowing for distortion
what I see is not anger

I have changed under this
my short-lived affair

Rejection is armour
which I now have to wear

Cutting Out

I step out to an evening’s aura
to West Park’s dark-cut recovery

of trim lawn-strimmed flora
now sliced to a fragrant enquiry

and I reply to a text’s posit:
Have they helped you
to a conclusion?

Which my stepdaughter
kneads and beats
in a knuckled-down confusion

I give her my finite answer
(as I do to each upset offspring)
I need to move out.. to be kind to

Then I thrashed my walking stick
amongst the white-sat flowers

and then I cracked it on the red bricks
of this house of sucked-off hours

I wear it like a suit

It is always
your quick precedent –
You will be angry
with me –

It makes me to be
a monster –
A cruel judge
of misfortunes –
Is it said to put me
in my place
and I succumb
to an absolution
with my assurances
of serenity
to douse your
flagged fuck-up
and to shroud
my own frustrations

 

Un

We will discuss disconnections –

such things we must trust

in this poker face card place
of marriage-discourse

We will flip expectations –
like a shark wrists the deck

We will turn the dealt hand
counting down to slow death

Our marriage is skewered
on the spun-turned spit

here both parts are scorched
now the heat has ripped

Our future fixes divide

to avoid offspring hurt

No one is to blame
as the pain now burns

No Dance

We had no dance record –
no undulated score
to offer a vinyl track
to our lost time
of looking back —

The dog lies untouched –
her stroke mislaid
like a forgot chorus
of a heightened itch —

I broke the news
at O-one hundred
with shipping news
and ‘Sailing By’

and your phone died
a battery death
as if
we could recharge


E270219