Hampstead Heath

We scurried across NW3
but not the low-laid Heath
of bricked-ish village-ness
of idealised introversion –
with loquacious City views

No – We took the buff support
of metre-high teak bars
before the flow of beer taps –
erect like those glass towers
stood in that visible rotten mile

We ripped at the greenery
of London’s low-rooted life
Scarred and weeping skin
from middle-class weekends of
pottering was not ours to wash off

This city is a rubbed scab
which if picked will bleed
from its red core and then fester
until a dry canker kills it off –
Once for all – as the Bible says

We slept with different women
of various sizes and weights
and woke to awkward breaths
and memory loss – some things
are best left on Hampstead Heath

Ploughing

Clasped – a cold buttock –
dipping to thoughts of others’
comforts – way before zeal
had become sloth-by-illness –

Working a younger body –
thinner – stiffer – bent to those
exacting tasks of hard love –
before this exhaustion set in –

Then visiting foreign suburbs –
eating with a woman and her family –
years before her daughter was born –
before we screwed –

before furrows of motherhood –
those folds of parenthood –
Old positions – long exertions
are no more first weapons of choice

She serves our meal as ritual –
common to others’ habits and grace –
Even with confusions under Hebrew
my understanding is here –

All records are coded recalls of sex –
of finding what had been lost –
then dug by honed ploughs –
all will be turned over once more


E160219 – Edited in Anthony Anaxagorou workshop at Verve Poetry Festival 2019

An East London Dancer

So she tipped – like a slipped-off creature
under the water – tilting back – to arc
below – to birth a falsified richness
of twisted mist – of dry-cold-on-wet-heat

and I held no appall at her staged nudity
which I stood over – there her magnified skin
of yet-kissed white – of yet-sucked circles –
and that interruption above her turned legs

She let my eyes dry her raised limbs
with an idiot’s roughness – back then
such was her kick – in and out of the water –
she lifted a leg and I was ineffective

Before the gig I had been couch-anchored
as she stood just-wrapped in her towel –
with unfitted – with flirts – with a glimpse –
and me on the guest list for her show

The Galway Hooker

There’s a fishing boat off Galway –
it bears
your maiden name

The fisherman don’t know you –
yet –
but will
by close of day –

you were mounted on my stemhead
your bared breasts fixed my course

I sailed with you
and your fishermen

through rages
and dark squalls

Egon

Schiele’s quickened passing
at twenty-eight years of age –
just days after his wife’s death
and his pillow-propped sketch
of her looking back into him –

was more shocking to you
than his egregious
unfurling of women –
than his use of cadaver colours –
than his fists of cherry red knuckles
and brush-heightened nipples
in rude ochre brightness

His death scene was art –
like his eroticised life
where his place in it
was at the centre of sex
which he kept in twists of love –

of girls in their pulled-up stockings –
lifted tight – but not as high as
their dog-dark fleeces
on their ridged pubis regions –
which they pointed at – and into –
with their gnarled finger touches –

There above the not-quite contrite
cock-spaced curves – which he sculpted
in paint over yet another stretched canvas –
there in the air between their swayed thighs –

there lay those air-kissing sex-salted lips –
all his undressings pre-dating porn’s
artless forms –
there to feed others’ sexual pleasures –
those of the greedy male collectors

Last Summer

From this hill top distance
above the slope of the estate –
there – in thinning October light –
almost aligned to your rooftop –
I see that solitary oak still in leaf –
forever isolated – also cast out –
under which we took our shade
and where my laggard fingers
gripped at your then-bared skin –
slipping below your blue shorts –
flimsy attire suited for sunshine –
but now the cool dew counters
such all out abandonment –
our laid time remains in summer

Box Hedge

I ran my dipped fingers
through unscented hedges
as I tried to leave the rings
of your invisible traces
from our long afternoon
of deep interrogations –
the footpath steepened
to demand some attention
but I flipped my focus
back to that gratification
which I had deposited
on the untrimmed hedges
of the respectable tenants

The Cows

Two good legs shunt the shed’s herd
of black and white hand-numbered hides
into the single storey milking parlour –
the stiff udders are washed and latched
to German engineering by Israeli hands –

We would pour the cold output into a jug
and cross the lava-hot tarmac on bare feet –
to then undress and take one long shower –
with the milk in our throats as a reward
for our hard-work and hard-fucking –

The daughters of my brother’s bovine care
look at me with unrecognizable stares
as they chew on the sweet feed at my feet –
They do not know of the kindness I showed
their forebears under these shaded beams


E170119

The Card

A cut up credit card
does not remove a debt
or explain missed payments
in these days of scores

It was shown as proof
that the imbalance
had been addressed

I saw him emasculated

his balls in your hand

that white-edged flesh
like sliced up fish

But the smell will remain
in your palm

no matter how scrubbed

of plastic and cuts

Public Bar

Six collies stitched
an unseen thread
among the table legs
of the public bar

more dogs than drinkers

but the pub was good

and the beer sat well
as we touched again

Then on the forecourt
we pressed mouths
in a guilty kiss
tasting of bitter and gin

The Chair

I removed your top

folding it over the chair
and knelt below you
to your call to prayers

I kissed your hips
and praised your skin

you fed on my breast
as I thickened again

Bed post

That under duvet crush which –
especially mid-morning – is a sin –
along with being stripped –
but lighted first by a kiss –
and she was then locked
to him by thigh and hip –
jointed to him – dovetailed –
her skin was still summered
even on that storm day
in an outwardly foul December

 

E051118

One Bedroom

It is another place,
but one you knew
in your previous life,
in the last century;

a shared knowledge
allows you back to it
after you took advice:
a lease signed with a kiss

My Lady of Good Encounter

Benoite, you are not, but still a reader of hearts,
a live angel on Earth, but not the saint of Laus:
that girl watched Christ, she witnessed his passion,
and I watched you undress with stiff absolution:

The lace-pull of perfume took her down from the hill,
whilst here in your thighs I drank from a well:
I saw her people slow-mo into prayer,
the rest fell in agony in that melee.

Benoite was sent to the Valley of Kilns,
by a dark-skinned Saint who worked those hills,
and I fall to sleep on your flattened breast,
as you turn your head and see your own Benoite.

The Sex Tourist

His urges worked to remove him
for a month to another place,
to lie with girls in hotel rooms,
face down in their paid-up disgrace:

He breakfasted after lunchtime,
smoking packs of duty free:
the afternoons sweated in bed,
soaked in counterfeit Jack D.

Each night was a dark playground,
of bars, birds, and no time for drouth,
he spat his vestige of manners,
with his foul-spun English mouth:

Then he woke in a concrete room,
dried piss as his cold mattress:
“The sex wasn’t ever that good,
not worth the spunked-up cash”.

Demulcent

Here her brushed skin rises
over her freckled shoulders,
and then slopes away to meet
her curved spine’s cobbled path:

Here I am led, by my cock’s enquiry,
to her hips, the pale dune profiles,
where I slow-climb, but am dragged 
down, again, by my stiffening hands: 

Here I part and knead her to yielding,
where, by the slightest of timed turns,
I set her tide’s clock, with twist of fingers,
forcing on her – a small death by drowning.

PM

A duvet afternoon
of malice aforethought,

of sheet-knotted limbs,
lined-faces contorted:

Here, across the bed,
of rolled propositions,

they kissed, they fingered,
blowing out wishes.

Doubles

You were still on my fingers,
even then, a slow hour later,
as my whiskey rolled inside
that glass, two fingers deep,
that leftover mix of still-sweet,
of earth’s dark-barrelled cut,
of strong flavours above taste:
and my mouth rested, it did,
on the rim, as on your lips,
as we held that kiss over time:
you were my one-woman orgy.

The Witness

They are overshadowed by that evergreen giant,
the one thousand year witness to ceremonies,
to burials, and namings.

Coal was once hoarded where the hollowing
of the yew meets the earth. There, inside God’s tree,
they find a held shelter,

but the air is reduced, taxine within the yew’s
five propped branches, he is hallucinating
as he tastes her,

that passed mead of love, now drugged by her.
Add Odin’s ability to bind and unbind,
and a two millennia lie,

he has no defences left, hung, and crucified
by the centre of her which wets his fingers
in the yew’s compression.

Day 19,292

Yes, I anticipated
that shared moment,

as it was conjured
by your light arrival,

equal in my mind,
before the release

of your quick tongue,
put past my lips,

almost unexpected,
as was your skin,

midriff exposed,
by your stretched lift.

Then my response,
almost too much

to be contained:
I pinned that kiss.


 

I Should Retire

The mean clock is doing it,
the balancing trick, ten-ten,
as ever the secondhand there
timed it, re-ticked on cue,

aligned with the brief minute’s
late-late reach to the far right,
just as I looked, synchronised,
to check another missed hour,

and I should retire at this point,
not too late, never, ever too late,
but for a man (of so many years)
it is so correct to consider such,

as others’ worlds spin in beer rounds,
long wet snogs, and streamed films:
I shall find comfort in a double bed,
propped-up pillows and hope,

whilst fitter men, soaked in bitter,
fuck-and-dance, dance-and-fuck,
in beer-washed sticky nightclubs,
swiped by Tinder, as I sleep soundly

through their infectious ribaldry,
and not have to hear the repeat
of chat-up lines I re-rehearsed
back in 1982, but never copyrighted,

then there was no intellectual theft,
instead we stole left-over half pints
and lengthening kisses with strangers,
to return to single beds in shared houses,

waking to cold kebabs at ten past ten.

Commuters


Stationary, white
towel-wrapped,
having exited
the shower to stand
there for me,
before our drive,
a shared journey;
she dripped beads
off her bared calves,
marking the carpet
with spotted stains,
falling, raining,
as she rubbed, flicked,
her crop of dark hair,
then her right thigh
was glimpsed, exposed;
I sat, entranced.
A later time
I leant over her,
as she soaked,
the return trip;
I bit her nipples,
wetting my chin
in the clear water,
I bobbed for her then.
But she was always
the fruit, to be left.


I Can


I can bury my face in your centre,
if you let me fall in there:
I can feed upon your splendour
I will taste you, now laid bare:
I can push apart your shaming,
if you let me finger your depths:
I will never expect to remain
in your bed if you need it left.


 

Overtime


He’s thinking too late,
slightly pissed before bed,
stiff and undressed
into cooled nakedness:

He will make you stand,
your eyes turned east,
you will face from him,
as he drops to his knees:

There your reduction,
him a flesh-bare thug,
as you stand blinded,
and his heart binds hard:

Your white legs splayed,
by his too-sure grip
pushing you open,
to find a fit in your hips.