Eremocene

It is impossible to maintain
a rooted perspective –
Heraclitus observed
as he openly wept

It is not the same river
but we are also
not the same people –
that will be my shooting stick

to lift me from stiffnesses
of age and old iniquities
Those rivers now rise
under too-warming urges

My car’s curved high glass
requires less screenwash
through summer-flown months
There are no insects to smash

All through it my kids sit blind
behind their bright-eyed phones –
we do not know how much less
they see on their screens now

Birthday Presents

For WM, on yr 15th

It is now that time
we scan around
and make honest
our current account
of fouled landscapes
and our – ever – endless
opaque cloud makings

by cheaply-oiled flights
over raised high banners –
bearing boasts of growth
and much-much-wealth –
as if such heavy hauls
leave no poisons – no trace –
no residues – no spillages –
no inhaled lead in blood

And tell them how
it will be
in ten years time
or twenty more –
or whichever
we can hope to bear
And look with me
into their eyes
and say –
Kids this will soon be yours
to fix – Good luck

Rental

Hear them – those
too-near rushes
of combustion over tyre-rubbering

There – beyond my fence
I am just fifteen yards
from others’ entered destinations

This is a hermit life
but one with too much –
too much man-made stuff – such is soon useless

My sleep has re-aligned
as it did thirty-odd years earlier
to that of shift workers – once more an hour earner

I am a slow returnee
to my hollow house
of paid-for slept protection before one more day

This Bank Holiday Monday
sucks on my date-fixed time
as I lie bared-as-born on my artificial lawn

I must plant
some lavender in pots
My garden is not an insects’ paradise

My skin will blemish
under our turned-to sun
as my spread chemical vest of UV block – of factor fifty

unlocks and rolls off
under man-made laws
God wasn’t always for burning our butt-naked torsos

Words for Mud

We trampled under re-tugged hoods
across even wetter exposed ground
like low-eyed parlour-set cattle

both of us making that slab slurp
as we pulled our sucked heels
from immeasurable puddles

Stoach – was it uttered as mud
and air and boots glued? – stoach
and slab – discarded once-words

now rarely spoken – only by smeery
glazes – by worn pathways
There Wealden clay will complain

as hill-walked hours wear it away
Time will eventually reverse to tell
what truly lies beneath our feet

Then all our losses will be obvious –
no flights – no travel – no sinking islands
on TV – we are making errors here

Ashpan Texas

Your waking place
is a hollow-man’s town
with vacant homes
close to falling down

and solar-curled paint
peeling inside out
No drapes to draw –
now shadowed shrouds

That un-slept place
is your reading room –
all indexed resources
were wordlessly removed

There’s spines – there’s covers –
but no truth in sight
A baying Governor
set writ words alight

They say work’s returning
although don’t know what
They’ll be whispering lies
’til you thumb your vote

Your feared sun sits low
but still left life all peeled –
stealing a gloss layer
from that you had sealed –

taking your hours’ labours
of eye-cut brushes –
torching your hand of care
Your town’s burning up


E041119

Breakages Will Be Paid For

If we retune our focal point
to close-up local degrees –

before losses mount and tip –
we will shore our existence

Beauty is frail underfoot and
to be stepped lightly upon –

not a fixed distance of
uncrushable listed hillsides

Those huge labelled targets
are easily miss-able

Our urgent responsibility
is in within our short reach

of to-touch and other such
breakable display items


An Untitled Insect

It once had a name –
by dint of those
orange-tipped wings –
and on my tongue’s tip too –

a too-rare flitted hurdler
of garden hedges and fences
No one else cared

Such is our loss of simplicity
that even a vibrating bee’s hum
seems misplaced – mechanical

Our young dog was spell-bound
by a fat black house fly –
I no longer swat them

One Word

Over six thousand
languages
may not adapt
in our short time –
under these
fleet-to-melt days –
to define
our recent misprize

We may never find
a finite word
to headline this
imminent collapse –
of my land –
of your land –
this land’s made
for you and me

Our recourse
won’t be in songcraft
or in bleeding
apologies
to those who look
at this – from then –
and those who left us
clean legacies

On either side
of our personal abyss
we will still tilt
and lever that width
in which we will fit
our half-life guilt
of consumerism
and thrilling greed

We old men of grey
and women in beige
have broken
everything –
without a word
to our kids
without an apology –
we don’t do sorry

Pound Store

My authorised version
of the holy book
declares that avarice
will kill us all off
which we declaim aloud
being self-anointed
by those inner whispers
of our godhead voices
Our gor-bellied lives
of fulfilment are fed
by our sating purchases
drawn down from less
Our bounties are mounted
under rented roofs
which we brace with debts
bought from richer fools
A momentary fear
meets a mirrored mall face
a lost reflection
in our buying game
We have nowhere to store
next year’s seeds
Our homes are stockpiled
to meet instant needs
Our righteousness is always
hard at work
filling our lives
with meaningless worth

Warming

Each bared upper branch
is sunset-torched
oxidised
reddened
by that last touch of low light
off this third month’s fooling dusk
A slumped red hour

ending a widely-held disbelief
of an unexpectedly warm day
in March
once marked by late snow
but not by my fifth decade’s
birth date

now re-set by
summer’s early incremates

but we are equally annoyed
by a chill off this cooled evening
after sunburn at midday
in spring

Bee

Their massed die-offs
are merely statistics
fixed by white-suited
pollinators
in huge trucks of profit

who are forever re-filling
their hired-out hives
between pollen buyers
and ramping-up bee prices

Colonies will collapse
under modern diseases –
by man-spread illnesses
and by slicings of trade

Neonicotinoids may kill
the striped-arse armies –
but other – larger forces –
shade their sun-dance ways

Shipping Forecasts

We will struggle for storm names
and typhoons will be numbered
in the Northern Territories

We will enjoy sequential weather
and buy rain and shade covers
in equal measure for such events

Extremes will be downgraded to normal
They will re-define old tide charts
re-draw shorelines and flood plains

But we will suffer drought and wildfires
through months of cracks and widenings
without the squibs of English summers

From across the channel tiny migrants
will swarm in the blown air to find succour
among failing crops in Kent’s dry garden

We will struggle with Biblical excesses
and nature in the new ways of weather
which we will not be able to name

The Bird Table

That waking ear-fill of true birdsong –
as if found – was in truth brought on
by my flickknife choice – by my cutting
at connections to streams and channels
full of self-satisfied chattering

My re-designed distance from others
is freeing me from time’s smother –
to clear air and breath – no misty poisons –
no more breathing in expunged words –
those wonder curls of sour exhalations

We had massed – no more pas seul
for crumbs – to sip at our shitted-in pool
of held rainwater and waded warm piss –
We were fattened on sour disturbances
which festered as their offered titbits

making us so sick – so we did not dare –
there – to old wintering in the warm air –
instead – we consumed – I am unable
to make it to your shared high place –
I am off – I no longer feed at your table

Finding Signs

There is a languageless rule to reading puddles –
to understanding such first-glance nothingness –
their impossible silences before trod-in signage –

a gauging of place – now – by such offered inches –
ones dredged by tyres – those in unfettered lees –
below busied hedgerows – there held evergreen

against all buffettings – such pleshes can guide
you when compass-less – a small-ish understanding of
nearby prevailing wind helps to fix your position –

known conditions assist in your marking a route
by each reading – taken – it will give you knowledge
not spoken to others from your stared-at puddles –

and flooded plough trenches – and by potholes –
by rain dropping – as storm-clock worked droplets –
and of damage done by such small repetitions

over time – as nature finds less is left natural –
then you will need a new sign language
to name each stranger season of weathering –

whilst you struggle – again – to pass your folklore
without old landscapes to bind your tired stories –
as floodwater-and-thirst rise to alter all readings –

except those re-told by your oldest survivors
of what they saw before – in muddy gatherings –
their earliest evidence of man’s impact on earth –

as Robinson attested – as he circled heel-and-toe
on virgin sand – to find a matching disappointment
in himself at marks he made – huge ramifications


Latitude

Our eucalyptus tree
is now my distant
Australia –
Our olive tree
is now my recent Israel
and in-between –
in our English garden
of other imports –
our thirsty plants
look more suited
to wetter climates –
they limp without
the pull and whip
of overnight water –
English summers
play redefined dates
of season starts
and season-ends –
They struggle whilst
the olive and eucalyptus
bear climate changes –
as if born to the latitude


 

The Word for ‘Search’

This abstruse epoch of endless information
is a virulent strew of ingrowing metadata –
It is thrown wide like blindly hurled seeds

We have set the volume to unheard of levels
and whine about the pain as the cooled servers
draw enough kilojoules to run a billion light bulbs

This is our second flood – set to lift much higher –
an oily risen tide upon remote isles – floating nodes
litter the no longer habitable low lying atolls –

those last places wired into free knowledge –
they are being removed by our unedifying worship
of the lords of the clouds – those five fat silos

And when we have drawn the last of the gold –
the silica – the bauxite and life from this place
we will no longer have any word for ‘search’

A Forecast

There will be a cold sluggishness –
not known since those tardy days
of queued-at red telephone boxes –

impatient lines still in that set chill
after autumn – which was in place
and felt raw ’til the following April

We kids constructed six-foot slides
by compaction and then an ironing
of the snow into break-neck ice sheets –

We knew how to travel back then
with flagged arms and slightly bent knees
and how to scream so bloody loud

We were tough – proved by bruises
under bloodied flaps of cotton and skin –
met by back door shouts and clipped egos –

admonished and shamed – sent to strip off –
to be hot-bathed by inherited remedies
of soap and TCP – but limited sympathy


 

The Amber Light

I was caught staring at the amber light –
the pause – the stop – the pushed brake
before the collisionbefore the crush
of border patrols upon the quick-shift

of dream-skinned people in frail boats –
none suited to such a rolling exodus –
all ferried by the free-traders of prayers –
they place a high price on such reveries

And now I can feel the white-grinding
of ice masses – of quickened melts –
of glaciers’ hurried abrasions on hills –
that accelerated ablation of fixtures

We will become the low-down migrants
without any possessions – of land or time –
as the seas rise to match the price-per-head
of our negligence – then my children will cry

and they will look at me – my poor pledges –
and try not to believe that I too plundered –
that their mother stole – the last lit chances –
to stop the incited rise of sea levels and lies