Railside promenade (revisited)

Songs of the Everyday

They painted it in blood rust red.
As if the orphan weed that crawls
out of the cracks of broken brick
beneath the corrugated sky
is not already eloquent?
Step gingerly along the wet insides,
bearded brown stone spilling
its incontinence onto the concrete,
and keep turning to look back.

The handrail is pink and chipped,
like that Demonic Barbie’s nails
or old bald doll’s head on its spider’s legs.
Your soles sipping the slippery stone,
hold tight the reassuring plastic patina
of this, this parody of reassurance,
and as your hand shifts down its length
you give it, for the little that it gives,
a trail of your hard earned skin.

Beyond, the rain is bristling silently
against the disappearing signals,
the bridge spits into silent stillness,
salivating leaves clog the glistening
lines below like listless tongues.
Clack clack clack. Wet black lips
panting from behind the gaps,
watch as you turn and run
into their swallowing embrace.

Don’t touch, walk swiftly through.
We do not want to hurt you.


Insomnia on a midsummer’s night


On a soft and silent summer’s night
the air is too still for anything.
There is a living garden
growing out of control out my head,
aromatic buds and tempting tendrils
tangled up in hydroponic fractals,
bastard molecules busying about
with their insatiable flitting and scratching
fleeing and returning to prod and probe
the tender buds and tendrils
irritating bone and tendon
fucking molecules.

Now and then they gather up to form
an avatar of black obsidian
to mark my anniversaries.
But the little bastards
fail to coalesce, and scatter
before I can be reborn.

Time-lapse from my bed

Songs of the Everyday

Afterwards, he lay in bed writing a poem.
Outside, a wind played on the roof tiles.
The first snow had come today but it had cleared
and now the wind came blundering out like a drunkard,
slipping about on the icy roads and falling into bushes,
waking all the neighbours.

She asked him to turn off the light, she couldn’t sleep.
He lay in the dark with his hands behind his head,
watching the leafy shadows dancing on the ceiling.
She slept and slowly the night went quiet and still
and the angled strips of street-lit moonlight
crept steadily along the walls.

They had promised the comet of the century
but after all the noise nobody ever got to see it.
They said its course took it too close to the sun.
He knew the risks of getting too close to the sun.
But he would glance out the window when it was clear
just in case there was a miracle.

He spent most of Christmas in bed with a fever,
mountain peaks and fleeing suns spinning incessantly
as he cocooned himself in sweat inside the sheets.
Then on New Year’s Day he was woken by the boys
jumping on the bed, and she was tugging at the duvet,
“Good morning, wake up,” they said.

Winter night

Songs of the Everyday

Place your hand on top of mine
Like the snow has calmed the trees
I will shake it free again
In the summer breeze.

The sheets are light and heavy
Like the blanket mist outside
Come find my restless footprints
And bring me back inside.

Soon your summer kisses
Will smooth the creases on my face
And replace this sleepless night
With your cool embrace.

winter night

The Encounter

Uncategorized, Visions

She flicked her hair and looked me in the eye.
“So, what can you do?” she teased.
I gathered up my tricks.
I figured this one would be hard to please.

“Well, I can take a thing that’s beautiful and pure
and turn it into something base and vile.
I can show it off to you in all its fine and ugly detail
and show it up to be a mere aggregate of cheap normalities,
a random and subjective shell.”

“Not bad”, she said. “But show me more.”
I hesitated for a second.

“Well, I can do a thing or two with words and pictures. Here:
I take the lessons and philosophies of our ancient masters
and turn them inside out, into an introspective exhibition
of my own perversions. And I will dance upon the denigrated remnants
like some horrific clown.”

“You’re pretty good”, she flashed a smile,
“We might have something going on.”
Enthused, I carried on.

“Hey, I can stand and stare Death in the face,
unflinching, as it crawls out of tired and defeated eyes,
and I will look unmoving and unmoved by pain or empathy
as it shows me prisons of such subtle form and gilded intricacy
that they escape by hiding back inside.”

Her tongue played with her lower lip.
A small crowd had gathered. Now I was on fire.

“That was nothing. Look: I can make God disappear.
Just like that, a bit of sleight of hand and one considered jab,
his many forms impaled on inches of my invective logic.
And lo! his followers are nothing more than puffed-up bearded women
and we can laugh and stab our fingers at their blindness time again
long after there is nothing left to find.”

Now she was squirming with excitement.
“I’ve never felt like this before.”

So sweet, this Devil’s whore.

The morning after


There is a certain lightness.
From absinthe’s vapours?
Or conversations with long-absent friends,
remembered scents and secret glances
at pretty freckles and forbidden skin?

Or could it be the leafy whirlpools
of a mild autumn’s day?

But still, a certain likeness –
a whispering of wanton lips,
that leaves behind in last night’s mist
a trail of my discarded burdens
and that imagined goodnight kiss.

– o –

November 2010-February 2011