Other Rings

It is not always possible to shake off worn things
such as tightening bonds or shortening memories
Feel them slow on each hour around an empty ring finger
You lost a clasped diamond and made a claim for payment
whilst seeking an arrangement with a rich man’s mounting
On whom you’ll spin with ease around his old stiffening fingers
You were chanced upon – for sale – a maiden’s old tale
Seeking an agreement to include sparkling benefits
Diamonds are et cetera – whilst you lie beside strangers

Unforgiveable Acts

Euphoria is only possible
by uncoupling from affray

She rolled me over so far
that I am now low – cowed

by a fear of never forgiving
her – my youngest’s mother

I lie in beds of others’ sighs
and wake to complications

I fail to recognise myself
in their bathroom mirrors

My pilferage of toothpaste
becomes my regular crime

along with naked promises
of being a polished surface

No smears from her fingering
is my implausible defence

Off Botolph’s Bridge

This sweated disease
follows me – streaming
from her hip-rucking
bent-to rippled mounds

Her rusty dampness
is still felt overly sticky –
skin to skin – still fixed
by memory’s boiled glue

Should my rare time
be given over to therapy
again?
This is no rehearsal
et cetera – et cetera

I find myself stood
in a profited landscape
of farmed reclamation
and named drains

Boy racers play double dare
along reverse-laid cambers
as us much older drivers
tut tut tut at such

Here – in my Sussex gut –
is a hiding place
from her
with a rural life to drown in

Throw me off
Lower Wall Road
and let me float face down
as far as Hythe’s sea wall

3 Words for Love

For A.

Firmness re-surfaced – as if a pulled cork re-floated
to lift itself – as she drank wine

Honest blood runs in her veins – not diluted – not fluid algorithms
Her dilating pupils cannot lie

Stoic words – she kisses them – not economical with thought –
not selfish – not over-protective

Three words for love – in French and in English –
form on my lips as my mouth dries