Bottle

Here clear water springs
halfway up the hill –
forming a slow stream

into leaf-rotted mud
which could – at source –
be bottled and branded

It would sell in Lewes
as a holy of holy waters
off the Sussex Downs

because small miracles
still curl in these parts –
by the sagacious oak

and sacred hawthorn –
a liquid gift from God –
for five Lewes quid

After Needlewriters

I turned my back on the bleached
slice of moon, that ancient stalker,
over bright, (still impossible for
smart-phone or trite word capture).

Lewes fidgeted, early to bed, ill-lit
by the the old devil overhead,
cut by earth’s shadow,
incapable of glazing cobblestones

There was that end-of-wordliness
on our walk down Cliffe High Street,
the ghosts had retreated to attics,
wrapped in ‘No Popery’ banners.

At such time the town behaves,
the worriers and campaigners,
the yet-druv, and the string sellers,
finding world peace under duvets.

We recalled Woolworths, long lost,
as I looped lunar stuff (we talked
from the pub to the car park),
I kneaded those minutes into now.


Rise

She is slow – the River Ouse –
running muddied below Lewes –
there a capricious millpond –
but when she swells

under storms – off streams
Bevern and Northend
and the quick River Uck –
she reverts to ancient freshet –

swift to rise to redress
the forgotten flood meadows
now supplanted by tarmac –
She rushes such mistakes –

And then a stagnant retreat –
like some unabashed lover –
She leaves a long odour –
she is loathed-to-recede

and keep to the contract
made by tide charts and maps –
to stay inside banks and bends
without the town’s walls

E21018

Warehouse Lad


This is a return to hell,
sitting in a warehouse
of soft-play constructions,
and other people’s kids,
re-fueled by sweet drinks,

and me, here, trapped,
in seating which complained
under my current weight,
sofas impossible for a man
to rise from with any style.

Another dad, rather anxious,
up among the ricochet of kids,
in the net-safe towers of foam,
as we sat adults observe
his mismatched socks on show.

In the roof raw strip lights,
and foil-wrapped air-con,
take me back to other hours
of square feet, of a life spent
working in commercial sheds,

equal scaled-down hells
of my previous employments,
in look-alike high structures,
now called industrial units,
the new measure of lost time:

A lad clears the tables,
tipping purple drinks, chips,
and piled, untouched food
into a bucket: an hour of his life
equal to the remains on one plate.


 

Bonfire 2016, Lewes

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong
gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

Thomas Paine, former Lewes resident.


Here – trapped again –
clipped at The Swan
with a Liquidators track –
a requested song –
ska for the drunks
who cannot dance –
especially the white
low-middle-class –
and those blacked-up
for bonfire fun –
hoping to upset
everyone –
White men as black men?
Not very ‘clever’ –
please torch the cocks
and their racist feathers

E021118


The Loos are Lost – Part II

First poem here:

If this were Lewes they’d start a campaign,
to retain the town’s loos under their ‘rights to complain’:

At the top of their list – everyone’s freedom to p*ss,
in a designated place, not in some parking space.

The threatened Luxford loos would be declared a free state,
by a clique of DFLs*, whose lives are deplete

of any purpose on earth, ‘cept lattes, and revolution,
(still regretting their vote against the Liberal’s coalition,

that vote of disgust against tuition fees,
meant swapping their Liberal for a Conservative MP).

Back to the loos – for ‘Men’ and ‘Women’,
the cold seats under threat from the Council’s scheming:

If this were Lewes they’d buy up the plot,
get planning permission, and build a string shop,

in which they’d accept the new ‘Lewes Quid’,
that banknotes’ ink made from recycled p*ss.


DFLs* – ‘Down From London’ derogatory Lewesian
term for people moving into the Lewes: also applied
to people moving from Lewes to Uckfield:
‘Downsized From Lewes’

Thick Ice

In that Victorian pleasure garden
the Pells recreation ground

a walled pool and a play space
in commemoration of a Jubilee

all the time a spring runs
into another rugged-winter

into another summer

a solitary outdoor attendant
once maintained the grounds

In winters the ponds were
skated by the bravest

but the swimming baths made a better
skating surface   when lowered
to allow it to freeze    two tickets at tuppence

but his body floated beneath the thick surface
eventually retrieved through cracks

hauled with a long-handled crook
horse-drawn off to the mortuary

but they knew his true story
a wife of complaints and disagreements