First Person Singular

From my Mass Observation Notes 12th June 2017

I am both fully awake and in pain at seven-forty AM
I am now learning a new word – Imprimatur
I am feeling a rough poem coming on
I am taking the rake of our stairs with care
I am making two teas in the fitted kitchen
I am climbing the stairs with two mugs of tea

We are drinking cooled tea in our double bed
We are discussing how much the day will cost

I am reading the headlines on my smartphone
I am now stiffly rising from our double bed
I am now stood showering
I am singing loudly to Clair from the shower
I am checking my emails as I dry my body
I am dressing as Clair showers and talks
I am listening to Clair’s words
I am listening to Clair’s tone of voice
I am watching Clair dry herself
I am telling Clair that I love her more than chips
I am leaving our house in a sudden rush
I am walking with my stick to the high street
I am at breakfast with four other husbands
I am ordering a Full English Breakfast and latte

We are talking about last night’s comedy show
We are talking about imported lawn mowers

Glen is now paying for all the breakfasts

I am walking back to the house on my own
I am now stopped at my favourite park bench
I am on my smartphone checking my emails
I am now standing up and turning to home
I am now back at my emptied-out house
I am suddenly greeted by our small dog
I am walking the dog up and down roads
I am sorting the recycling bin on the drive
I am lending Otto my Karcher pressure washer
I am walking up the garden to my shed
I am sat at my desk in my shed
I am sending and receiving emails on my PC
I am doing kid management on my smartphone
I am redesigning Cars3 experiential space for Goodwood
I am re-rendering FatBoy Slim’s DJ booth in Lumion
I am reading a new brief for a design to be completed today
I am walking slowly from my shed on uneven slabs
I am eating a rushed lunch of cold beans and toast
I am walking back up the garden to my shed
I am being hassled by clients by email on my smartphone
I am Whatsapping our kids to sort childcare tonight
I am opening my shed door and stepping up with care
I am sitting at my high desk whilst waiting for a reboot
I am listening to The Archers whilst working on my PC
I am hassled by another text on my smartphone
I am hassled by the wife to get to personal trainer at four PM
I am managing and meeting my design deadlines
I am rendering out 3D models in Lumion
I am designing an exhibition stand
I am listening Gardeners Question Time on Radio 4
I am making more more changes to Cars3
I am postponing the personal trainer on my smartphone
I am thinking about tomorrow’s poem

Clair is now back from her hair appointment

I am commenting positively on the change

Clair is setting me a countdown to theatre-leave-time

I am finishing what I can to meet my deadlines
I am now shutting down my PC

We are rushing to get out the house

Clair is driving our car
Clair is worrying about her mum
Clair is not saying much
Clair is filling up the car with petrol at Tescos

We are now in Eastbourne
We are watching the first half of the play
We are now sitting outside in the interval

I am watching a smoker light up

We are discussing the show

I am conscious that my legs are hurting
I am checking social media on my smartphone

We are now heading back in to the show
We are leaving the venue after the show

I am now stuck at fifty-three
I am now treated like I am eighty-three

We are looking for our car on the seafront

I am being driven home in the dark
I am trying to find out more about Clair’s feelings

We are now arriving home
We are entering the house in silence
We are being greeted by the dog

I am locking the back door
I am switching off the last light
I am climbing the stairs

We are now in bed
We kiss goodnight

She is turned from me

Fraxinus Excelsior

Here – I have been orange-dotted
as if another fungal-blighted tree
Spotted on for obvious lesions

My fate sprayed – eyed – to-be-cut
and then left to rot – an alienation
for the good of these woods

My body bears an odd contagion
as does our less common ash –
as does our elm – both under threat

as am I – stuck – until my balding crown
is tipped to unstable and then falls
to leave me without my honest Cordelia

Pension Planning

When this gets real bad
and we will not see that –
not for quite some time yet

ten years was said to be
a good guide
Now half my path
left to that X-marked place

then it will be time to book
a Swiss or Dutch room
and neck a small glass

if my mouth still works

and find my best sleep
Do not live a whole life
less – that will kill me

Small Dole

There – Careful – it takes us up
with a broken concrete offering
to David’s uneven heat-scratched lawn
of bastard grasses and inveterate weeds –

unintended God stuff
but enough to sow doubts
Still – we can cut them out
without too much effort –
for now

A weed is a flower
without a lover
a friend had said – as well as
his stern dictum of
Michael – never marry a woman

That Israeli summer of sweat
between Anat’s wet thighs
was his concern and my lust –
Michael – she said – I love your brother

Clackety-clack – they sang –
as a rattled song of songs –
those flitting overnight sprinklers
spun once our local nuclear option
had dropped to eight o’clock

David could name every living thing
as if God had passed down his crown
We walked together – he looped
with his now-trademark swagger

in his Sussex-rooted garden
of kind disregard for fixed horticulture
And there was my first instance of knowing
that a shared disease is ours to reap

Leg Work

This is it – this is falling apart
with unknown shapes of years left
having relinquished – by request –
control

by time – by illness – by love

with shins purpled – stained
under ripe scars and biting itches –
my overnight monoculture
blindly scythed by my bit fingers

They are not your concern
This is no more your upset

Smears of chemists’ creams –
slap-readied to swim La manche –
and an abstinence from drink –
neither inconvenience is a balm

whilst my consultant reiterates –
Epidermis itch is not
a common factor
in the progression of
Parkinson’s Disease

And if this spreading bren of skin
without relief – no place of rest –
if this is my forever flay
then no wonder I take sleep first
after feet up rest on our sofa

Valentine’s

I just took a taste of my waking breath –
it is no wonder then that we do not kiss –

The ugliness of my rum state
places bitter tilts upon our old arousals –

I lay whet by a glaze – an unwelcome stain
on this pushed back duvet of night sweats –

My chest gives birth to salty pearls – loosened
by gravity – set to roll down my bare sides

as trickles – as if wept from woundings –
like precious piercings – but not five holy jabs –

though I do feel pinned by a carried cross –
Do not glance at my nakedness – how I am fixed

by the invisible itches and riveted scars
on my legs – I draw up the bedding – my body bag –

and let my skin rest from your listless look –
instead – I shall watch you dress first – then

I will rise alone and not take in the looking glass
until I have washed off the vilde oozes of blood

which I have picked under the night’s disturbances –
those red fruits of my rough sleep’s self-harm


 

Stair Well

I tipped myself into half of an escape
to sit alone on the in-laws’ stairs –
tilted there by my uneven troubles
from imbalances set by disconnections

I was taking myself off my thumped legs
and away from my sucks of short-fix air –
which set me to stand for a brief parade
among partly-heard party conversations

of drunk relatives – spiked by marriage vows –
loosened by the briefest of infidelities –
those with a younger man whose wife stood up
to beauty’s allure – she was there for measure

I put up too – with the racist uncle’s drunk ideas
for less than five minutes – not quite a cure –
but enough to get me to stand up again
and to leave him staring at an empty step

Audio HERE

Blunt

These day-in day-out mis-typings
of small tap-tap-tap screen pokes –
which I commit as my bad habit –
weightless stabs in this landscape
to stall that mental keel

warned of by my desk-set consultant –
My thoughts are in a dark waiting room
without a fixed appointment for entry –
sat for a last hurrah
before the freeze

I greeted her breezy – How are you?
with an unfair response –
I use this screen – my handheld shield –
for honest words – about everything –
I’ll always dig for verse
in this spade-blunting field

Incrementals

It has been a month
of slightness and shifts
which can be described as
‘incremental deterioration’
in my overall condition

pain and rigidity are my bedfellows
and lovers
those bitches who snap
and squeeze at me in measure

it takes a toll on others
I know

my masked face shares
such small messages

Eye Wash

And here it crawls

almost through me

laying old lead pipes
to siphon and drain
and to slowly poison
my seed free mind

the routing of pleasure
away from my centre

to a floodwall

built high

to contain this dark wash
of rolled on tears