Sunday 20 January 2019

Poems, Winter 2019

In Ways I Did Not See

He came to me and asked 'Are you adventurous?'
He came to me in a knitted yellow hat and we danced like children drunk on skittles.
He came to me on a cloud and we married in the sky.
He came to me from childhood and reminded me of my brother.
He came to me at Christmas.
He came to me wrapped in sheaths and bows.
It came to me later, 'You are black coffee sweetened.'
He came to me unannounced and I had to admit that I was strong.
He came to me fifty, a hundred times, and said to me,

I am the frail predator, the sunflower seed, the sweating joint, the creaking floor, the want, the satchel filled with acorns, the chicken bone lifting up the firm pin-cushion, the straddle and shove of elbows in crowds, the echo in a football stadium, the matted hair, fairly parted.

I am the darkened room, the fresh departed, the lightbulb flicker, the grinding blindness of a dentist's chair, the tight fit, the weapon of security, the shoulder, the shrug, the condensation of honey on whiskers.

I am brass knuckles, the fear of being dainty, the long enslaved gulping of breasts, razor rashes, the grease off a chain, stuck rubble, the engine and all its mischief, the intricacy of a map untangled – all rivers and roads stretched out to line the pitch.

He begged and begged to pick lace off the floor, in a sweeping hedgehog roll, leaves stuck to the beard, the beard stuck to the teeth, the leaves and sawdust and toenails turning to mulch underfoot.
I crept to the end of the bed, the springs rising up into lily pads and murky waters.
I prayed while we skipped around the maypole, rigid and bountiful, 'Yooww, yoooowww, slow, slow, slow.'



Oh there are beauties, they come out of me like golden claws.
Rabid and glittering.
Down spiderweb strings, flowing, cascading, bouncing, falling, bouncing, falling, cascading on those strings, from one bounce, from the corners of the living room to the corners where life gets serious.
A river runs in plaster.
The sun comes out to shine.
Nothing to do but go outside – feel hunger as a call to enjoyment.



Broken glass
in the balcony sink,
a potato, fossilised,
with cigarette butts stuck in.


Chipped nail varnish the colour
of drained peaches,
all fluid let out
like a slaughtered cow.


The Square

With the tan faces of gentlemen past,
Plates of fried fish
buffered by lemon wedges.
Quick strings,
ballads travel on voices,
they roll.
Assortments of grey-green,
limestone, rock.
Coffee will be fifteen minutes
so we wait, patient as guests.
Misty skyline behind,
colours folded like origami.
I follow promises of vineyards -
award-winning grapes
grown by the border.


Veliky Ustyug

You tell me about China, about the spicy hot peppers in Szechuan, the old villages with their pagodas, the security checkpoints lining each province. You're on a business trip in the town of Grandfather Frost. Behind you, brown floral wallpaper, a wooden dresser. We try not to smile too much.


I love it all

Teeth – chomping solid in their marvellous arrangement. Tongue – gliding slick around words and laughter. Mind, galloping and frisky – latching on, always in hope. Hands, poised around pens and cigarettes. Beating heart, that flower beneath. My legs, my feet. The gall, the rust. Deep sea crevices teeming with bacteria and dormant disease – all of it - I love you all. The fungus, the rot, the tears, the snot, the hair on my upper lip – all of it – you, you, you. You – all of you! The bags under eye, the thick severe brows, the frown, the stare, the smile. I love the awkwardness, the doubts, the bursts of rage and grief – the strength, the cheekiness, the addiction to mirrors. I love the natural sides, the superficial sides, the greed, the careless fucking, the tender need. The attention to detail, the attraction, the repulsion, the enjoyment, the discipline. I love the little girl with her tongue stuck out, performing with a deep canyon inside, cracking deeper, I love it all. The dreams, the nightmares, the paralysis, the bad decisions, the companions, the let-downs, the adventures and blizzards and droughts. The stars aligning and disappearing in an instant – all of it – every last drop, every petal, every string and button and seam, every dry riverbed, every pebble and sheet of moss and thunder clap and shit stain and rabbit tail and car crash. I love you all, whole world in my belly – it all rushes in, and crescendoes, and dies.