Thrown

Dare yourself to approach the Whispering Gallery’s
too-low balustrade and look down

Here his words
have been heard
by others
In my gut Dad’s
rum gift of vertigo
turns

It was first witnessed
by us all as we stood
before his loosened grip
up Leith Hill Tower

Now this cathedral’s
wall of death dome
kisses my ear
with a cold command
to drop

Tip yourself over to feel
that marble crack your struck head

In earlier years flying
was my dreamt gift
Sleep wasn’t a picked pit
of itches on my skin
with waking stiffness
in useless places

Throw yourself down – Michael

Now his vertigo is mine
taking my lost voice
It is not-quite heard
by my fearless children
when I see them high
on other parapets

Kids – I have my father’s old condition
and it urges me to leap from here

Utter

I have always suffered
a mild clumsiness –
just now – trying to read
that line back – aloud –
it got rooted in my mouth –
not stuck in my throat –
not in my swallowing –
that feared future loss –

but in the lip-and-tongue
place of speeches –
I now have to think
the form of the word
to make the shape
of its known weight –
to make it heard –
this is no deal I wish
as part of my illness –

I hear the precision
of the speech therapist –
his repeat of the exercises
which I had forsaken
until now – late in the day
as my words stick
like soft toffees and cake
among my loose teeth


 

This Older Driver

I want our lowering sun to burn
for a much – much – longer last hour –
or more – and brighter than now

I do not want to be driving
on those sunken country roads
into the skulk of dusk’s gloom –
and then turned back through black

I wish to see clearly tonight where
the patch of tarmac starts and ends
on the threaded bends and turns –

without the switch of dipped lights
or the blinding others’ high beams –

they set me to groping
as a blind man gropes

I’ll weave between the unseen deer

Naked Killer Dolls

One could stand by herself,
being a Pedigree model,
but her voice had gone,
her real hair discoddled,

knots of locks trimmed
by nibbling vermin.
Two dolls from the loft
in one box, both hiding:

I brought them down,
as found, unbidden,
with rolled back eyes:
old toys, MADE IN BRITAIN.

From the same place
a thin negro doll,
but more limbs missing,
no hands to hold.

They sit mute and watchful,
reading us, the shocked,
with unabashed stares
and glass-eye looks.

We play tricks on the kids,
which becomes quite droll,
the unexpected placing of
those naked killer dolls.