Reading Circles

Concentric – a new whirlpool-word
found in my father’s
handed down encyclopedia –

when images of Stonehenge –
in line-drawn illustrations –
caught my crawled attention

When an unknown word
required my whole body to shift
and find another heavy book –

an Oxford English Dictionary
to finger flick through to trace
between com and cop to find con

and to be infected
by our endless language
Do not leave me alone with Roget

Doggerland

When swamped Noah’s Wood
has re-seeded above sea rises
When it has been reinstated
that connection

of Britain – no more a stoic island
able to gorge on separation
and cry out a huge difference
would be fixed

Such an implausible conceit –
with our warming and tipping concerns
seeing fast incursions of salt water –
no reunification is possible

Slumped and washed by a North Sea rush –
yet to return are men and women
hot in our blood – They sleep in silt
We were never an island race

#GreeneKingPubs

These pulling places are rammed
by limp cocks and hard-to-hear voices

by forty-year-old bent coppers
and pitch-hoarse salesmen

feasting on glimpses of wagged butts
and – if lucky – being eye-felt back

as unsteady rounds are re-summoned –
until each wooden table holds it own

glass city of empties and knock-backs
All until that briefly-sweet inebriation

sours outside under high sodium lights
to illuminate empty fists and nose bleeds

and stage two kisses between strangers
All until that night’s confusions have melted

into soft-edge recalls and squeezed regrets
over sinks and basins – until we go again

Those Other English

There is a malaise among those English
set sore by a too-shared saint and crosses –
spoken of in footballers’ reedy voices
at post-match interviews – post more losses –

Now Being English is not quite enough
for Pimms-pourers and pub-crawling bigots –
Cuckolded Englanders distrust each and all –
those past Offa’s Dyke and Hadrian’s Wall –

those who speak of The European Project
that obvious brain child of English logic –
Those truest English of English hate again –
they hate all foreigners – that’s how it begins