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 –
only 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
until you thumb your vote

Your feared sun sits low
but it left life peeled –
stealing a glossed layer
from that you had sealed –

taking your hours’ labours
with an eye-cut brush –
torching your hand of care
Your town is burning up

 

Sleep Walking

All simple pleasures of sleep
have now been reduced over
these past three days by work

and their changes to that work
as all my efforts are then undone
to be redone before their deadline

is met in that dirt of freelancing
No paid sick leave for us workers
of late hours and others’ foibles

Paperboy 1st April 1977

Here in this alarm-met half-lit hour
things still bide from other April Fools’ days

Do not forget failing spaghetti trees
on foolish reportage loops

Again those soft nudges on slow senses
of soote aromas off flowering bulbs
there drilled – then paraded by retirees

My sucking lungs hauled their scents
and cool air’s apparent emptiness
on my delivery round’s steep ascents
with a bag weighted by broadsheets

Even worse on Thursdays

Another run of The Surrey Herald
Thick – but relevant – before the internet

Impossible to fold in these gloves

Here at this tall window
slid up an inch or two
my increase in rigidity
dictates today’s route

Those sash counterweights
are strung through my arms

Still close – my childhood
of heaves and pumps of pedals
in that slog across Chertsey’s
seven low hills every morning

No more kneaded by a canvas strap
but instead rubbed by an illness
as I deliver my night-laid lines

Here at this window –
on this hill – in my hand
is my latest paper round
of rhyme-sour edits
with old ascents still considered

Our Slack Dog Sleeps

Our slack dog sleeps – again –
under backlit performing particles –
those flecks – peeled and rubbed –
bare floating remnants of us

in ramped tilts of warming beams –
up there – fine speckles cavort against
our sureness of earth’s old ways –
under ageing theories of gravity –

That free carnival of melancholia
almost pulls me down alongside
her – laid out on our made-up bed –
matching breath-for-breath –

to wonder under our lost stars –
This is my routine – my vie with time –
now – on common weekdays
after the exodus of kids – to try

to find flow from my inertia –
drugged by my hate of
my paid-by-the-hour ego-building
for lank corporate schemers –

those dullard committees
of amateur designers
desiring temporary cathedrals
built in the air out of dust –

by me – wearing the same jeans
for three weeks – no one sees
me bent to my desk with malaise’s
dirty weight of false deadlines –

No one sees me dipping my eye
to find brief relief in my word chapels –
small wonders – crafted from
their commissioned remnants