DISCLAIMER

Lyric riddles

Unsung laments

Underbreath rages

Sinister hymns of a dead religion

Midnight graphite retchings

Footprints of sleepwalkings

Ravings of fragment souls

Script scraps

Hearsay of the unconscious

Lisping tirades

Just a twitch

Scratched skin after itch

A spilling

A secret

A letter never sent

A scrapbook

A lazy journal

A mnemonic

A knot in a hankie

A cut and paste compound

A stick stuck in a catpissed thesaural sandbox

A potato print of some other Venus

A beating around- grasping for grammar

Anything

Anything but a poem

And call myself a poet

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Half life 


Half a life gone

And half to come

How much living have I done?
Wisely spent

Wisely lent

We cannot buy

We only rent

Our short tenures
Lain in arm crooks

crawled, stumbled

Lost and discovered 

Hid and uncovered 
Ascended the arc

Surfaced from the dark

Soaring with the lark

Tripping celestial sparks
Down the other side

How far will I slide

Into the new infancy 

Surely awaiting me
And all the way back down

Sleeping underground

Fodder for the worms

And for new seedling germs

1-gxWxTk4R9dOaD80UiFoSMA@2x

I remember why I came to London
To study history
To get away from my history
Your story
His story

I remember I came here hoping
For freedom
For novelty
For anonymity

I came to rewrite the script
To invent
To extrovert
To be something different
An academic
A lesbian
Anything different

I couldn’t do either

I smiled too much
Looked too much

I remember
Being followed home
By a man
With unnaturally long nails

I remember
Being stared at
Smiling back politely
Being stared through

Nevertheless
I thought i could make some space
To expand
To breathe
And then I saw you

On the escalator
At London Bridge Station
With my then boyfriend
Who thought I was being dramatic
When I told him
I’d been raped

Who didn’t believe me
Even when
I was shaking so
From the shock of seeing you
That I stumbled back
Smashed my back
Almost knashed by its metal teeth

And you turned back
And you saw me
And you smiled

I remember
Losing myself again
Giving up again

Turritella

I found a shell

In the shingle

Lined in pearl

A woman

With a girl

Whispering inside her
She’s kept those whispers

Shhhhhhhhed up since

Articulating

Led to silencing

Her voice was sold so short

Dismissed as white noise of a sort

Imprisoned in

Rapunzel’s tower
But when I lift her to my ear

I hear her ocean sing

Full of life

Mermaids teeming

Muscular tails glistening

Moonlight leaping

Siren calling
And mine moves too

A tidal shift

Brine breakers smashing

Granite cliffs
To smithereens

With saline deft

To make soft

The sharp, the stiff
Flooding rockpools

Where crabs guard chests

With locked up broken hearts

At rest
I welcome our

mutual weathering

Patched pirates

We are seafaring

On friendship’s sails
The inland seas

Of you

And me

Reclaiming anew

Our bounties

Turning at Turner Street

You saw it in my eyes

Before you were in the door

I’d clamped the cord
It had been too hard

To keep watered

Our little orchid
While you were travelling

I had been bedraggling

Lost in abandoning –
– myself, and so 

When you came back

The elastic band between us snapped back 

and slapped and stung
Still, there under my frigid fur

A transcendent heart was beating

But

It was too afraid

To eat from your hand

Had returned to scavenging

The wasteland

Wild, lost, savage, wild
Was it my rewilding

That exiled you

From the warmth of your own fireside?

Back out there

To be brutalised?

Estranged from yourself to survive?
We have both been lost

And wandering, yet –
– despite it

All these years

I find inside I am still alive

And I think that you are too
We could grow back our glue 

Confession

I am half way through my life and

Everything is falling away

All the impersonations

All the ‘I am’s

Ironically – 

I am shedding sheaths
Underneath them all – 
(The dress up trunk spills over:
Good girl

Nursemaid

Swot

Geek

Loyal subject 

Romantic 

Witch

Rebel

Leader

Bad girl

Invincible

Liberator

Phoenix
Feminist

Artist

Liberated

Subverter

Philosopher

Teacher

Yogi

Sage

Saviour

Vigilante

Hippy

Nutter 

Partier

Nonchalant

Adored

Despised 

Achiever

Crusader

Maverick

Believer

Cynic 

… Victim)
– They are all defences

They are all garb – 
Underneath them all
I am 12, 

(and then I am something like 15 when it starts again)
I am naive

I am fierce 

I am tentative

I am turbulent 

I am intelligent

I am a humanist
but
I am desperate for attention, inclusion 

You give it

Or scraps of it

I lap it up

I will do almost anything for it

I tell myself the joke is on them

HA!

Society, my parents, the cool girls, or whatever
It was a lie

And somewhere I knew it

I tried to will it to be true

Maybe I could make it true

If I was angry enough, or good enough, or something ‘othery’

Or if I went far enough, further, further, but

I failed
Instead I made myself pretend

To believe I could transcend limitations, constraints 

That I could rip open the stays

Decouple self:restraint

Open my heart

Open my legs

To make myself believe I could be just as free as he

I WOULD PROVE IT!
I abandoned myself 

to you

To become

What I hoped would please you

For some turquoised crumbs

I surrendered
And worse
Complicit in my own murdering

I gave you my cadaver

Frankensteins hopeful bride

I tried to stitch myself out, or was it in?

No matter, I burst those seams

Again

Again 

Spilling out

Splitting open

Each fissure a scar

Opened

Stitched

Reopened
The truth is:

That ‘I’ did not say no and

did not cry

(Not at first)

That ‘I’ was mostly willing,

At least with you

I did not tell anyone
And you still hated me

You spat vitriolic hatred

From your mouth

From your dick

I could not please you
Because you hated yourself? Or something else?

(Surely I did not matter to you enough to be hated)

Or did you hate me

For bringing out

The abuser in you?

Dancing in your shadow

Naked

Filthy Lolita
In some way

was I trying to love you

By giving you myself?

And trying to destroy you

By letting you destroy me?

I thought that was love
I gave away my body

My hope

My joy

My faith

Like it was nothing
Underneath it all

Underneath 

I was ashamed

I am embodied shame

A seething mass of shame

A snake of shame coiling

Hissing

Shedding

Kundalini soiling
And now 

I am not alive

Not really

How can I be?

There is no resurrection
I am the empty shell

I blew out my own yolk

To be yoked

On your floor
Of course of course 

There are moments of joy

There are moments of love

Of abandon

But they are kettled

By the mercenaries

Of memory

Of consciousness

Of conscience 

They inch inwards

Sniggering 

Snarling

‘What time is it Mr Wolf?’

I pretended very well

To myself

For a time

(But I knew)

And I am still good at pretending

To everyone else

For a time

But they find out

Sooner or later:

I am an interloper;

I am a shadow;

A ghoul
I have a trip switch

To protect me from living 

To protect me from love

It is shame

Shame
I trusted you not to shame me for

The shame we shared 

But you did

You used it to keep me coming back

And finally to blame and exile me

I think that was the worst violation
I thought we could share it

An intimacy 

God how desperate

How desperate 
I carry it for you

Between every vertebrae

Of my spine 
But everything you did to me

Is nothing

Next to what I did;

What I still do

To myself

In the name of denying

The truth

Of this confession 

Hoopoe Hoʻoponopono


Exquisite vivid colour

Set against the blackest sky

Pinned up with yellow pinches

Bristles of yellow starlight

A pastel cavern

And a single leaf
The vision you painted

Had an eagle eye

A 360 dream of freedom’s arc

Spinning in the dark

You gave it tight lens

In the hurlyburly kitchen
Why then, you seemed to me to be

So small in that day 

Bunched into yourself

Like a bird in the rain

Garrotted syrinx

Light as feather dust

Sipping breath?
I tried to hold you up

In my thick hands 

Against the leaden sky 

Oh so cruelly I

Imploring ‘FLY!’

To caged oscine

‘UNGRIP!’

To the spider whispers of your feet
Was it my furtive searchlight

Bleaching your might –

stamping your resignation 

on the stony ground

Hopping sanguinely around

Determined, majestic

Without a sound

Making beauty still 

Though you are bound 
Maybe me

bandit raccoon 

Ransacking your truce with coop

With crowbars of futile fury

That had you cowering
Or maybe I was projecting

My helplessness

My fear 

At my precious friend

Living confined so near

To danger’s edge 
I guess I’d hoped

I could do for you

What you did for me

Break me out

Set me free

It may be this is not to be
Regardless;

now I send

You my promise

As your friend
If you’re out on a brittle twig

Out on a limb

At 4am shivering

I will wait with you for your sun to come up

See it wink on the horizon

I will keep it in my palm for you 

Until you are ready to flex your quills

And write your day across the clouds

And I will hold the memory for you of your chorus

In the labyrinth of my ear

Until you can take the crisp tomorrow air

Back to your bellies pit

And in acid spit

Digest whatever black pip 

Might have you in its rigour-grip

Confit
If you are bound in tallow

If you are fallow

Unable to sow

Unwanting to go

We will 

Find rising from the wet soil

the fragrance of geranium leaf

And with all our nerve and heart and pluck

Make hope that this will be enough

To keep you going love
But even more yet –

I will not forget

When my rescue appetite is whet

That you may be content

Just as you are

And without meddling

Will go just as far

To be where you need to be
I’ll be there for you

Like you’re there for me

‘Baby’/’Bird’

She struts

Electric-umbilical

Skeletal

Picked bare

Barren in there
Stripped

Back to her pink pip 
Cemented vaginas

Bunker

Daughter from mother
A baby girl

Stuffed into

Cerise tutu

Peachy earlobes penetrated 

Before she’s two
Let the conditioning commence
Unplucked 

DANGER!!

She could grow

The tounge

The eye

The feathered wing
Find her vision

Get too high spiralling 

Lift up her sweet voice and sing
So boil her down 

To her dainty bones

Paltry stock reducing

An orificed mannequin 

For stuffing

And consuming 

Ashen

Four seasons gone

– there is no coming back –

Once furnaced bones

Go pop crackle snap
– 
I see now again

The house is on fire

And we lie in our beds

Breathing in the smoke

No torrent of tears

Can be shed

That would quench it

And we must by our own breath choke 

On the black lanes of the night

I follow the stolen starlight

Set into the road

Looking for the way back home

But those tar bound twinklers

Can only lead me on alone 
Somewhere a mule is braying

At the firmament 

It’s dwarfed torment

A boomerang vibration 

Of deafening absence

We cannot yet even grasp of what
– 
Is this some new kind of love

Trying to rat a tat?

Rattle at the shanty shack?
When I hurl

My rasped howls

Into the night

And try to contort, to encircle 

With inky circumscription 

Your infinities 

Your limits 

And all the bright dead lights

Stitched in between 

That once were places

in times

Imaginings of truths, of certainties 
And what where they there

And who have we been?

Each other’s meaty puppets

In sleepwalks beyond the memory of dreams  

And I have raged

Like those fires

At the centre of stars 

Charring all I embrace
But you are already

cold cinder and 

already on the wind
Must I, inferno  

Licking with my orange tounge

Trying to warm or to join you?

Have I only just begun?

In the flicker of firelight

In the smoke drift

What is clear

Is the insanity,

The folly, of

Grappling your ashes

In apoplexy’s fist
Tell me, what use is my rage

Against the dying of your light

Diplomatic relations 

White spring sunlight

On our backs

We were two sharp shadows

In two furrow tracks

Ankle near-snaps

On hard mud cracks
The black pig ran

The ponies sniffed

The breeze blew ice

With blossom drift
High in silence 

A skylark dangled 

Like a puppet

In its melody staffs tangled
Lambs followed ewes

I followed you

You did not lead me

To a trough

I stilled my bleets

Looked at my feet

My voice became

A ticking cough
I felt as barren 

And as claw rooted

As the exposed cedars

On the windswept ridge

My talons curling 

In my booties

My barbed tounge bitten

To build a bridge 
Happy Mother’s Day to you

And to me, first of your three

You said I had to break you in

But it’s shattered shards

Of me we bin
Peace was had

At price of connection

Stifled silence won

Over air raid din

Modulating

My inflection

Letting the rationing

Once more begin
Between war and peacetime

Between the seasons

Between emotion

And cold reason
I hang precarious 

Sword on thread

Uncertain who

Will lose their head 
A tacit truce

Grubby white flags waving

Not sure what 

It is we’re saving

From the rubble

Bomb blasted home

If we are together

Or together alone
Time will tell us

Refugees

If history’s prophesy

Will see

Us doomed to a repeating 

Campfire folklore

Wounds and sores

Or maybe there will be a healing

Scar tissues tight

And wired jaws

 

Dinner with friends 

Until I sat down to eat

I did not know hunger

At the honesty

Of your scrubbed tabletop

I sit naked

You could nourish me with scraps

But you serve up

Your heart, your lungs, your eyes

Those jewels mined

In a place beyond time

And set in metals

Whose flow

Is slowed

Enough to Method stasis

In the midst of drift

Like a famished vampire

I pause at the threshold

Of your door

And will you again

To invite me in

Sorry already

Behind my grin

Will you feel it

If my fangs sink in?

Fearing I’ll suckle

‘Till there is no more

leave you as empty as me

Slack dry sacking

Husks on the floor

Such starvation

And rationing

I’ve learned to churn butter from raindrops

From sweat distill gin

Stockpot brimming

with pride and shame

I’ve served up poor sweetmeats

fattened friends all the same

 

How can I be now?

My chowing and cowing

My snuffling for truffles

My scraping and bowing

 

Table manners

Dinner party stammers

Etiquette

Could be better yet

I clatter the forks

And lick the knives

I might break glasses

I might offend wives

But I want to be here

At the table with you

Eating and laughing

Warbling and chiff-chaffing

Canines glinting in the sunlight –

Baffling!
Now I know hunger

can sit down to eat?

Electra’s chair

I told someone

And you raged
How like on some half lit stage

I’d wandered out the bedroom door

And saw Angus kneeling on the kitchen floor

Gob agape

At your crotch

As you swayed

And swigged 

your Netto scotch 
What I didn’t share

Was what you’d done to me there

Just the weekend before 

That suppressed horror was too raw

And too familiar – 

– ( like Dads diktat: ‘sit on the floor!’

For succumbing to the bloody gore

            of menstruation) ‘Be grateful you are loved.’
Clumsily disarming your shaming slur

Lunging at

that chink I saw 

For some ego up-shoring 

But nothing more

No valoured valedictory scene 
You hissed my sentence

At the nightclub door

‘Cab bitch now!’

And then later

‘On the floor!’ –

‘Say you love it –

You want more’
Drunk. Pedophile?

Sadist. Rapist?

I didn’t know to hope for more
You came back into the room with him

Looking at me

Like a drive by victim

Detached contempt 

Malevolent twist

I had not signed up for this 
Laughing

You tossed tuppence for my holes

He got brown and you got gold

Split me like a putrid peach
Teeth gritted

I floated 

While you pitted 

Me

Back to the sanctuary 

of nanna’s pantry

Cheek pressed on the cold stone floor

Abandoned my body

To savages ravages 

Frozen like a fawn
And when you were both sated 

I waited 

Impaled between you,

for you to snore

And snuck downstairs

And tried the door

…. locked ….

…. no key ….

The windows too –

Realised my young life’s metaphor 
I scrubbed your filthy kitchen 

until dawn

Your curd glop dripping

From my punctured rippings

Angus was the first to wake

Drove me home

As if from a date

All gentlemanly

And, as if in too-late decency, 

Could not bear to look at me
And my next shift I learned

You’d taped it all

Projected it

Onto a wall

For the regulars to see

They thought it a hilarity 

Home made free pornography

The whore shamed for

Eternity

‘She fucking loves it doesn’t she?!’

Death by sex – my snuff movie

Proved your heterosexuality 
After that showreel made the rounds

I was the go-to slag in town

Blue-balled boys

Wanted a toy

To use when girlfriends

Told them no

How dare I try 

too, to do so?!

Consent was an audacity

Self respect a was a temerity 
Was it the end of you?

It was the end of me

And yet –

Here I Am. 

Curdled yolk

In shattered shell. 

I seem to be doing very well

Mother, wife, professional, friend. 
Sometimes –

I hope you’re rotting

In yourself, your hell 
Other times I scoff –

– the irony!

It’s wasn’t just you

It was also me

Trying to shag 

Themselves straight. 

It was your girlfriend

I was in love with mate. 
But mostly there is wild alternation

Between blame and shame

Frigidselfpity masturbation?

Profound self doubt

And righteous rages

Brawl in ink

On these pages 
Skulking in shadow

No one wants to go

Somewhere resisting narrative

And there is no simple arc I can give
Too congealed

To let me sieve

Out any place of peace from
I guess I will go on

And on …

 

Grrl 

Babydoll dress

Lipstick smudge

Double cream

Panty liner sludge
Musk oiled legs

Silky thighs

A liberated woman

In my eyes
In yours a whore

15 no more

My cotton knickers

On your floor
I dropped my rings

Into my boots

Tipped out my dick socks

– clinic loot
You wouldn’t wear it

Or take no

I got your warts

Flesh cabbages grow!
Stirruped up

I heard the tut

Jam jar glasses

Framed the glare

I went alone

Three busses from home

There was no one 

I’d ask to take there
Squatting over the mirror

I mistook 

my then undiscovered clit

For one of them

And painted it

In that acid burning shit
I hobbled like a cut girl then

Cauterised nascent sexuality

What might I have been

And felt 

And loved

If instead of you

I’d pleasured me?

Spring nightdrive home

Roadkill on the way home

Splayed and bloody

On the road
Frozen in Xeon

White owl wing

Reaching fingers on

The hand on Spring
Frost still icing sugar

dusting 

Lanes into the blind hills

Thrusting 
Winter digs in her heels
Lambs skip

Lilly of the valleys bob and dip

Bulbs through clods rip

But at my throat

The vice of grief still grips 
So sensitive now

To suffering and gore

I see life – yes,

But death even more 

Grand Mother 

The eagle perching 

In my soul

Has a bright

And beady eye

She glares at you

Serene and high

And watches you

As you come by
No matter how you dress

Carcass

You cannot pass your poison by
She falls like feathered stone

On a tomb

Makes prey of predator

She swoons and slews

Kneel now on your arthritic knees

Beg forgiveness

In the pews 
Your gods saccharin

Wafer and wine

Is no bait

For her black heart 

You cannot snare her

With shame and guilt

Parables, or glass stained art
Spin your arsenic sugar

Nests

She will waddle 

Holding in her eggs
She knows the plain

Is rough and wild

She knows 

To shield

Her tender child 
And let him be whittled

By the wind

Not his mitochondrial powers

Rescind 
Become the wand

Of his own wizardry

And fly the windswept wilds

With me

Mrs Amps

They said you were mad
Named of current
I sniffed the in-sensed temples
Of ECT
And you saw something too in me

You thought us all profound
Earwigging our chatter:
‘I have found infinity
It’s between two mirrors!’
‘It’s green’
‘Well maybe green is the colour of infinity’
‘No green is the colour of the blackboard’

You chalked up this ‘eureka!’
On the rotating blackboard
Circling all term
With English oratory
and the wisdoms of history

You squawked
In delight
Each time it reappeared
Like a budgie when
Dried cuttlefish is near

Thankyou for
Cradling our expiring innocence
In your heartful gaze
As begun
The hormone haze
That consumed
Our invisibility
And freedom
As our faces
Sprouted sebum
Our tits tottered like turret tops
Our juddering bleeds
Started as yours stopped

For one last summer
You bid us frolic
Before puberty’s
Catastrophic
Gobbling of
unguarded enthusiasm
Before faux nonchalance
Came in cringing spasms

We shunned you then
And gossiped cruel
But you were the best
Being in that school

Seeing 

In the picture

In the gallery

Of a gallery

Full of pictures
The observers stood

Backs to the wall

Seeing nothing at all

But themselves

African beads

And boiled wool cardis 
A mirror
Peeking from under sleek bobs

Mobs of wanna be critics

Liking or not liking

Binary heretics 
I saw them not seeing

And saw myself

Looking at you

Looking at yourself
How I framed you

And you framed me

In our gaze I found 

New ways to see
I painted you black

I painted you white

You wallpapered the kitchen

In the dead of night
Representation

Recrimination
Distortion

Contortion
Discrimination

Projective identification 
Cataracts of emotion

Milky iris potions

The lineament

The lotion

Smoothing the commotion

The mess of intimacy 

The art in you

The art in me
I wish you’d been in there to see

The Hockney exhibition with me

Hew

A Yorkshire lad like you

Ran from under grim shadows

Of the dark satanic mills

Boarded up then

Or full of industrial spills
Dreamt vast of canyons

Cacti and swimming pools

Lived his expanse

Saw neon visions 

From his brushes dance
And full of life’s colour

Found profound in mundane

latterly brought 

colour home again
Like you he rendered

Rolling Wolds

Window framed sunshows 

Composite photos
Walked in wet woods

Through fog and through snow

His watchful footsteps

Through seasons ago

I could have kneeled

In reverence before

That hawthorn tunnel

On the gallery wall
Knowing that once

You had on it gazed

Too long ago

In your happier days
I saw in it your hope

Ephemeral and fresh

Finally blooming

On the short road

To death
That arc in the hedgerow

A little ahead 

The moment

Your breath

Would cease

In your bed 
In that picture

Was famed

Your fantasy

And fate

And my realisation

Coming too late
Yes you had troubles

Yes you had rage

Yes you were drunken

Dismissed counsel sage
But you were generous

Deep well of heart

And in your own way

Your life was an art
Like stone – gave and resisted

Spat at your self

Bitter, hamfisted 

Used pain to hew
With denial and supression

And recurrent depression

– only in fleeting obsession

Did you set yourself free
I won’t do that to me

With my Stone Age flint

In a full moons glint

I will try to be

Spring showers 

The first day of spring

In the first year in

Which, you are not here

Precipitates a tear 
Drop dripped into the torrent

In stays behind the dam

The big ‘I am’

The smooth concrete feat

Of emotional engineering
Spectators see

The impossible wall

But not it’s impossibility at all 

Assume effortless it’s strength

Do not walk it’s length
If they did they would see

Rivulets of me

Seeping through the soil

Bogging and spoil
High tide is 3am

When you are all a slumber 

I toss and turn and wonder

If I will swim or drown

I dive deeply down

Half hoping it will swallow me
But then back comes superficiality 

In the daylight of the morn

Functioning the norm 

Zombie through the anaesthetic daze

Wander through the maze

Whose centre can no longer be found

By following your left hand 
I think I understand 

Your drinking in your loss

You giving up the toss

I myself am close to resignation
But so many road blocks

On the way to the station

I fail to depart

Fugitive, with you stowed in my heart 

Secret cargo

Burning a hole in me

Like stolen jewellery

On fire with sin
I let you so far in

Your DNA in me

But I can’t let you out

And we are both prisoners 

You in your urn

And me in myself
Trapped like you 

A husband and wife

A parenthood of strife

And hostages of life 
Even if released 

I doubt we’d be free 

Waking 

I had a memory of myself as a god

Fat, black, glossed –

gleaming with the golden sweat

Of a lifelong belly laugh

its silent thunder, rolling joy

resounding with the pulse of the earth

 

I will not be swayed today

I am the seeing eye of storm

All tumult around my weightless hulk

I sieve all force from matter

I make it static mist

and here I wash away …

Prayer

Wrapped around your body in the soft grey sun.

In the warm hollows of your chest

My fingers fray.

I dare to cup a promise in my mouth.

 

I will lay

Face down on summer grass with you

And breathe you in.

A pregnant throb of light on our backs

Your fingertips will search

The mazes of my hair

And I’ll see it in your eyes.

 

Entwined in you

I am free

Entomologist

i get a grip
but then you’re here –

my timorous heart becomes
the wings of an insect
too close to the light.
Torpid; swooning in your ether i cease
seized between your fingers and your gaze – your dark and dusty specemin.

Anneal the pin and drive it in – I’m yours.

Romance is dead

My love is dying

She will not scream

My love is dying

She will not grasp at your writs

She is dying

A lump in her throat

She will not speak of dying

She will not expect flowers

She grieves for herself

In anticipation of death

In dignified silence

She does not expect you to grieve

She is not so conceited

She was glad of short life

Short vibrant life

She does not expect you to waste yours in grieving

Snake

In the year of the snake ‘77

I shed your skin

Not exactly slithering free

A worm in the peach

I swallowed the stone

To swell me out

To split the fetid fruit flesh sack

Leaving void elastic slack

For a flee to identity

 

Rasping screams of my name

Siren high dirge horse hissing

Futile for drowning out

The flash in all vision

Of the tribe tattoo warning

Daubed indelible all over

Snake snake snake in the nest

 

I shed again skin

And again until spine raw

Shed that too

A jellied goo

To nourish you

Fugitive 

Running from you

It was good to sweat

Every pore weapt

Torrent underfoot

The storm drain swelled

 

Running from you

I hit every red light

Stumbled in road rubble

Advanced by trips

-fall-breaking skips

Of ankle over ankle

 

Running, panting

Breath was short

And so O2 to brain near-nought

Acid milk deposit in the muscle-

sheaves of crystal barbs through gristle

 

I ran on through dayhours,

in dreams at night-

My legs to stumps

In glaring moonlight

I too shod red

condemned to dance

For vanity

– redemption chance

 

And I all I really left behind

Was not your judgement

harsh- unkind

but my own self

frayed the fabric of my flesh

exposing you at the core afresh

Happy Christmas

After enduring all day

Your prodding and squawking

Like some headmistress dame

Some raving game show host

All fake-smile-teeth and cologne

I sighed –

And finally stretched

Out to my full size

To the head of the bed

And pondered what

It would feel like

To lay you down

To run over your throat

With a wheeled pizza slice

(It felt nice)

Like pricking a blister

Your pulsing blood oil slick

Sister. Matting in your hair

Sister

Next to you

Oh what a mutant hermaphrodite

failed abortion was I

You were a fat royal cygnet

pure white in the nest I’d soiled

 

With what goodly love and trust

You suckled at the breast

where I had spat and struggled

 

What peace was had

At your rest

At you contentment

What wonder

at the touch of dew

-a promise in the morning of the day-

Glossing the soft darkness of your eyes

Where I had wept my vinegar tears

Preserving only frustration,

Disappointment;

Invalidating mother,

Bleaching your pure pearl-down plumage

Whiter whiter whiter

Rush hour

Of streets none shimmer gold

but glower back at gaze with grey:

a paved patchwork

prison blanket for the earth –

concrete stitched with vomit

and pigeon shit

sodden in urine

 

All seethes with human litters

of beastly unions blessed

with surfeit fecundity

Nature red can breed

only predators

to circle wonton one another

for sex or death or both

 

In poverty of unfurred skin

they can do nothing for the rain

but sport at any upcast eyes like mine

with spokes of their umbrellas

and tut and shove and snarl

 

At this hub of civilisation –

mirage watering hole for greedy quaffing

they come to preen and show their feathers

vain peacocks pecking

for immortality in drifting seed

 

Nay there is no bounty here

nor will there be in ray

of summer sun

nor in the god-glow

of the last of days

 

Axis of culture in technicolor

of high art and

the spit-shine trophy of all commerce

meritocracy of all endeavour

utopia of freedom

it tars and tartars each and all the same

-equality!

 

A fairytale of words

of once upon a times

and lit up shop-front grottos

is all

that suspends disbelief

hung o’er the stage

like that Damocles blade by fraying thread

 

I long to sprint the plank

of this rat-run sinking ship

groaning overfull in storm

and swim the flood

to some now thought-savage shore

 

I would go back go back

and start again

in full conceit

I could not bear

so raw and animal a race

from the plushes of my womb

 

But memory is only iteration long

direction arcs by increment

trajectory so slow to unfold

the tree so slow to grow

that its reaching higher wider

slips and skulks invisible

in the margins of perception

 

and despite attempts at history

what is salient is ‘now!’

and what is wanted –

our belly-screeched desires

which reach out equally for security and novelty

and thus crucify us in the image

 

for all our pattern recognition

our natural knack for faces

and the suckling tit

all consciousness is lost at death

and any map its made goes with it

What can we do in this haste

but mark with piss the clearings and the path

to as many selves of us as we can by fucking clone.

 

Capital punishment 

Tar dusted shelf

Clutter-choc-a-block-full

Of chipped bric-a-brac tat

Once ornament

Once show of frivolity

Of abundance

Invested

In display

Showered in cast-off skin

In sneezes of diseases

Peppered with faeces flecks

Of the poor gobbling mites

Swarming over

Mouths gaping

Inhaling

The carcass fumes

Of London

Monday

I slam down my talisman-book on the plastic-wood desk

(you cannot have my soul)

I stare fiercely around the office

(you cannot have my soul)

I scratch blue lines around my eyes and send blue lightening bolts from my inkwell pupils

(you cannot have my soul)

I stamp in my shoes and curl my toes like talons

(you cannot tame my soul)

I smash down my fingertips on keys for some sensation

I file them into black icicles and stab back at the air

(you cannot have my soul)

I laugh too loud on purpose

I cackle like a witch

I tell lavish-lie tales

I fart

I cough

I sneeze

 

Two hours later

I weep in the cubicle

-where is my soul?

 

By London Bridge Station I Sat Down and Wept

Not one face in the station was without compromise

Not one gob

Virgin of fishhook

Spurred to bite with false flies

Dragged up to light- and to suffocation

This is the mermaid’s wish come

Silverswimfin for the

Sadslowthud of feet

To tread them to some dry rasping heaven

Sluggish weary hearts thud out the marching beat

Assailants against the will of the soul

But eyes darting for the mirage frontier swell

Tell of their salty beginnings

Their movement in schools

Mimicking tides

And their bigfish desires

Date

On the way home

I chase through

Labyrinthine tunnels after

A fantasy of myself

Long run into ether

Into time’s trail-vapour

 

Grubby fingered of

Skimming escalator rubbers

– The curve of my wrist into a leather glove

The flick of my heel

Into a well turned boot

The flash of pink dress cotton

Between leg and tan suede coat –

Is a whisper already of lost memory

Eclipsed instant at the ‘prehension

Of optic inversion

A visual riddle

Indecipherable

 

You skit and skim

On the puke proof tube tunnel tiles

Like a Torvil

In your own dance

Your own home-seeking svatantrya

 

I seek to intertwine

Like cheap static thread

held proximate

in cool brisk spring air

 

I seek your rough hands on my sallow breast

a forethought to milking

that gentle flat of palm

on my flank

soft nature spoiling

in your fingers

ripe peach flesh turning,

fizzing out sweet liquor

 

but we get there so soon

as if by light sped flight

and sleep dead sleep

like buried munitions

in our concrete bunker

 

Heart Felt

There are clods of black earth

and paper-shard skins,

huddling, clasping together in faith and in doubt

around the infinity onion

throbbing in my chest.

There are sometimes tears

at cleaving open

its rings of age

 

But each one, unever’fore seen,

is a russian doll of revelations

of discoverings

like newfound rooms in the old houses in our dreams

and at the centre are gladly nurtured green green lightening bolts of life, – of life!

defying physics

reaching reaching in joyful earnest

for the sun – the red red burning sun

radiating in yours.

Inheritance

Born a king,

crowned with cunt,

anointed with blood

shit and tears

in the crux of creation

 

… long live the king)

 

you squirm lilly so shallow

in my glorious blood

retreat at the border

mistake life for death

 

(the king is dead …

# courses

#4

I was icing sugar

Folded into your egg white whip

We were sticky, sweet and stiff

 

#5

I am carrot

Bobbing orange brazen

Incongruous essential?

Sweet root in your winter stew

 

#3

To you food was fuel only

No joy to be had of consumption

A chore merely

A pit stop

Punctuation

In the rushing prose

 

#2

You liked yours cheap

And hot

Twice if you could

Immediate

Rich

Showy

No mineral

No vitamin

But now you eat nut

And are nurtured

 

#1

We shared one frozen fishcake between us

Poverty disguised by an arc of chive

But there was beer

And always each other

 

Meta-bolic

What are we swallowing down dad?

You and I ‘so alike’

Drinking down great gobs with gusto

What so barbed and dry

That it takes pints of wine to pass by

To acid incineration?

 

What are we barricading in our stomach-cell?

That it takes tonne-stodge weight of dough

and menageries of flesh buried in the gullet-grave

To muffle down the desperate door-scratching

– a secret captive?

 

What pressure pushes out the rancid breath

Of what bloated beast

Overfed with torment?

 

A minotaur captive in the labyrinth of gut

He pushes up

Charges the throat

rattling the boltcatch

Stamping razor-hooven on our tongues

 

I see it when our eyes bulge

And we sigh

Weary gatekeepers

Holding to duty

In stiff uniforms

Win

I can see you nanna

Perched low in your high-rise widow window

Waving, mouthing; silent behind glazing

High above the screaming steel city

 

Barely 5´something

So small

But with the might that

Survived pleurisy

Took in washing

kept three men guessing

and bore my mother

 

Watching over

(I know you are)

Speaking into me

Your Morse tapped on my tongue

 

You knew her as a hope

Then as a swelling promise

A clock set in motion

And a clockwork woman

 

I am at the gap between

her seconds, steady counted

And gathered in

In sheaves of hours,

Days and years

 

I am her dark antimatter

Expelled entropy

In your vision only

Were we whole

Allotment

I have dug dirty fingernail down

Past nests of earthworms and through grit

To the knarled soft moist roots of this tree

In the seething singing earth

I have cradled me down like deep rot

before this revelation alter

In this mirror of its growth.

I will not share with you

Their map of eeked-out nurtures

Fissure earth incursions

Of faithful seeking

 

As for what cannot be hidden

– it is enough

You see its inching reach at sky

Still you seek to prune and train

Have it fit design

Make unready fuel from its sapling branches

Carve at the bark

Make gaudy dressings of its leaves

Steal away its seed

Name it some relation

Of your haughtyculture-

-contrivings, against my nature

Bedtime story

After you raped me-

vacuums unsealed –

made voids by your filling –

by your emptying,

I went downstairs

and cleaned your filthy kitchen

your curdle soured my thighs

I stole the rosary of your dead mother

I used it to sanitise myself

thrust hard

into the soft flesh of my palm

I scratched out the new lines of my life

and drew boarders

in tight

around the savage lands

of my emotion

 

Dragons fly 

Bitten up lip

Eyes punctured tear-pricked pits

Round shouldered sack

Split

Seeping waste harvest

Hands chap of wringing-

Holding after

That rapid keen-cut crystal atom

 

I was visited by it

Careless as a dragonfly

Dizzy in its lace-winged leisure-flit

Conscious to the limit of its buzzing bubble

A whole universe in

Its one pure particle of self

Sucking hungry at a vacuum

In pi rung rings of absence

Dense with gorging

Utter destitution

An emptiness emptied of its nothing

The solemn echo-answer in the unfaltering equilibrium of space

Deepening darkness by its sheen

Thesis

I had a story in me to tell

of the sincerity of mind

the validity of experience

the integrity and honesty of knowing

the reality of identity and

the right of creation

 

and because I doubted all of these things

 

I bolted up a frame of thought

and on it wove a cloth

with the twines of gonetimes

and on it stitched a scene

of things that had been

and dressed my child in it

and submitted her for your judgement

5am suicide note

 

Too sensitive;

flesh under flayed-off skin.

Too flighty;

flock after shot.

Too vivid;

florescent deep creature shone on by strip light

Too pensive,

this obscene thing thinks itself undone

 

oh too too – the drama darling!

Spills out from the music hall

Into the street

Accosting with sequins

Those staring at feet

 

Too wordy

Too noisy

Too crude, unrefined

Too desirous

Too needy

Too loose

Too defined

 

Too fast

(but so slow!

– the drag at its pace)

too intent, too earnest

just staring at space

 

Too alive too alive

– chooses death to survive

 

Ambivalent attachment 

On camouflage limb

Of lone winter London plane

skeleton. Sergeant striped

Magpie scans

Desolate street:

Box hedge frontier;

No mans land gutter litter-

and above beyond,

the roofline- grey horizon 

refracts 

monochrome rainbow spectrum

through polished coal prism eyes

 

there is a whole war raging raging

in his breast between

this high chill sentry post

and sky

every tock his choice again

to secure his ground or fly.

Looking glass

Pumping heart in hand

I leap at the looking glass

and double dare to say

‘- —- —‘ (!)

 

If I go will you come too?

In cartoon thunderbolt or

by the clicking of heels

vapoured through a chink in time? 

and dance with me to music of vortexing birds,

fill valleys with glad bellows,

vault through cloudscapes,

and suckle at the fecund earth?

(you make me want to run at life

and scream back at the wind)

 

Or, if we must stay here,

Let us make-believe the lightbulb for the moon,

swim wild in the bathtub ocean,

and dive for pearls betwixt our great-white thighs –

plant our triumph flag at the summit of the stairs

and proclaim all this world our kingdom.

A dreaming, shuniya

 Dew mist is rising with the sun

From the silken rivers of my dreams

– you’ve been dragging idle fingers and

through rubbed eyes there is a ripple

– just visible. An ever dispersing circle

 

To catch kinesis of this vapour

I dip the pen into the page

And ink-dyed fly

To tempt memory to bite

And bankside to sacrifice

Its gills to air

 

But you swim back down deeper,

Cooler down to settle

Camouflaged in the silty shingle

Evading capture

 

Later I glimpse the trace of you

At the bottom of this page

A blinking cursor pause for thinking

And a comma loose, alone, adrift

That’s sprung the catch of syntax

Is wandering free

Just a mis-struck key

A breath to breathe you in to me

Outside the smother of my airing

And this slack-knotted net of words

North Star 

My love what did I dream?

(I dreamt of you my love)

When we were new

When we were shining with birth

when the sun shone on us to shine us

when we were blind with light

when we were warm in its glow

when we basked, flaying ourselves

in its radiation

and when light sparked at the joining of our fingers

crackled in the tangles of our hair

My palm on your chest, head on your palm

we spoke lisped light 

 

You bleach my vision 

light of long dead star

itself a posthumous dreaming of itself

radiant afterthought trace of its own ceasing

lost to the vacuum of time

a million leagues in high circle

shining down from silent space.

 

When I am lost

squinting

scanning the sky

it is you I am searching for

Kindling 

Ear-a-cock to cosmic wind

The whisper of my calling come?

I strained to sieve, to eek from noise

The sweet song I had waited for

 

And waited longer to be sure

Till under the inertia crush

– the friction of a body bound –

‘gainst force as speed as light

I made a diamond of implosion

And cut free finally

With the thrust of a new star

Claiming to its stitch in heaven

 

Yours was a flimsy compass needle cast

Against a south- ‘gone back’ dimension

Discovered at a crease in map

With a trove stash of dust past –

We squandered it on passing through –

A breath blown on wishing ‘now’

 

Arriving at that X-marked locus 

we discovered all it was

all that we threw those pearly dice down for

was just a tiny twitch

some anomalous malfunction

some death throe of a nerve

some jubilant grope to reminiscence 

of your feral fickleprick

Hunted

in the twilight of desire

you come in like the light night breeze

softly softly

sough my secret name

and I dare not believe

your glad eyes look upon me

 

undercover of darkness

you blister in

proclaiming your ‘wolverine!’ cry

and I cower in mock abandon

issuing gleeful murmurs

‘devour me my fond savage’

 

in the half-light of morning we are lost

you are man and I am woman

two dumbstruck hulks of difference

casting out our shallow shadows of expectation on one another – take the fire from my hands

and ignite this day

Shanty

That night when I let you take me

And then your friend

To the back of the nightclub

To crucify myself against the rough fence of the shed showroom

For the audacious crime

Of stirring sexuality

I went home

With creosote splinters in my back

And a memory of feeling kin

With the sheds –

That stance feigning strength

Shanty sham of security

Empty, flimsy, ridiculous, displaced

Behind a nightclub

On a filthy road

Family portrait

Unspent atom bomb-

The thick heart ticks

Blinking beast stirring

In the dust of excavation

‘Who Comes And Calls My Name?’

Eyes hot and fat with pressure pot spit

Like buoys in the lava

Of a buried sun

A sphere of Shiva-cycle come-

-the constricted inferno of all hell

 

Just that spoilt little child

and Her Rage

Chest of archaic treasures

Forgotten in the earth

Stamped down as bedrock for new pleasures

Once golden glinting – the trapped light smoulders

and tarnish creeps,

seeps a smoke-flag from its archive

Trace of the scream from the core into space

Of the monster made in love

Roots 

I have dug dirty fingernail down

Past nests of earthworms and through grit

To the knarled soft moist roots of this tree

In the seething singing earth

I have cradled me down like a deep rot

before this revelation alter –

this mirror of its growth.

I will not share with you

Their map of eeked-out nurtures

Fissure earth incursions 

Of faithful seeking

 

As for what cannot be hidden 

– it is enough

You see its inching reach at sky

Still you seek to prune and train

Have it fit design

Make unready fuel from its sapling branches

Carve at the bark

Make gaudy dressings of its leaves

Steal away its seed

Name it some relation

Of your haughtyculture-

-contrivings, against my nature

Dancing lesson

6 or 7, pigtailed, 

leotarded, leaning,

resting nose to pane

in my brothers bedroom

Saturday morning

5 minutes from class

I gave up dancing

 

Longing for belonging

To fold up my feet into belonging

To know the steps into belonging

With just one breath

I frosted up the glass between

Of me and that

It was decided

 

And of this breath a barricade

Which made secure that pen

Of belonging

which bears inscription:

 

‘Oh but for these legs, 

which are not so vain as to be light for dancing

but for these knees which are not so proud as to be strong 

but for these shoulders rounded so as not to jab and jut a will

for this breast sagged to make a rib-fist for

this murmuring heart with irregular beat 

and for to lug this clumsy corpse-weight’

oh all for not to tumble from

that march unto belonging

 

and from the barricade I’d watch the dancing

my hide to tan and weather tough with sweat confetti strewn

o’er bride and groom: music and flesh

I learned thus to drag club-footed to belonging

 

30 years later

what would I have been

had it not been?

– the gagged bound chorus of me mews

I would have danced!

I would have danced!

 

If not for this mind

Which selfs by circumscriptions all for belonging

Which consoles with well-meant smothers

Which pats down fire with dampened blankets

Which seeks to shield from grazings

All in care, all in care

 

If it had not been impossible

I would have danced

On clipping wings

Alone in the nest

there was a risk I’d freedom fly 

Screeeeeching into the air

So I

 

Unbent a cheap wire coat hanger

Squatted like a vertigo crow

Tied with it a pumice boulder

(big as elephant egg)

To my ankle

Lay bellyup

Rolled it onto my chest

(To keep shrill song in)

And felt the memory of phoenix-fire smoulder

In my redbreast

 

There was some seed

(ridden with ergot)

There was some sky

(unreachable sky)

There was a perch in a high treetop

(a rotten tree – dying from inside to out)

There was a thermal

(my own foul breath)

 

Tied up safe

I could not break my wings

But I had not soar and had not sing

I perished –

Landlocked;

Choked with warble

Pet hawks

We kept him leashed

The infant beast

Safe safe in his cerebral cage

And saw his muscles rot to fat

And ligament seize as one that sat

Not danced or play-pounced his cares away

 

It was never in the day

That he saw the light oh no

It was on the twilit patio

Where we let his vision flit

O’er skies done: dim, and feint starlit

And so he gropes so tentative

Is blind by sun – too sensitive

 

It was not in cacophonous hours

Where life’s din o’er sill-silence glowers

That we let him frolic-fit

And so he learned to creep toe-tip

And not disturb, not slumber stir

He shuffles- miasma on the air

 

Though in dissonant shadow ‘tween deed and word

Came thought – (invincible! – a mythic bird)

Describing arcs of reason and of cause

Vapour trails of knowledge

Their map-his laws

Imagination- on thermal afloat

Inspiration- his conjure of a lightening bolt!

He watched it slew and prey devour

He kept this as his secret power

 

What betrayal then was thus this world-

Before him no lotus unfurled

(landlocked limbs in limp unlimber lollop

dragged against the earth’s filthy rubble)

surrender seething in undue arrogance

a constant sickening turbulence

Revelation 

Vast black sun

In black void of sky

In this finest light

I see by –

 

an old star in me

Hurled from the heavens

Shrapnel shard cast of some divine knarled hand 

Buried deep in my flesh

Dodging organs

Strives to burn out its shine though the blackness of blood

 

Sinew, desperate with red, knits it in –

Buried treasure

“The map is gone

The time of pirates long dead

you will not be found”

 

Matter’s conceit of separation wills it stay secreted

Shh! Suspend your breath!!

Still. Silent.

Safe_In_Here

(but what is ‘here’?)

 

But its light is wakeful

Its vision keen

And it can sing

In the vacuum

With lung-limitless long breath

And be heard

Without wave of sound

 

Needing not to be found it is the finding of itself

Still life 

In silence thought runs inky

A dark syrup swell,

haemorrhages in rivulets and grammars at light

Black ribbons of division

And trespass

 

I write in answer

Of the phone which does not ring

Of letters unsent

Of the touch kept

At the tips of fingers

The tear in the duct

The babe in ovum

The ingrown hair

The cab waiting on fare 

 

On days at rest

Raise daily bread

Yeast dividing (37°)

In dough suspension: shuniya

 

The things which are of motion

Are still

And their stillness

Is in motion

Beyond the blossom, and the thorn (For dad, 26.12.12)

There is a silken road

Which weaves,

Thread through coarse blankets

Of shaley soil and tides of leaves.
This path each dawn shone on,

Cast gold by each low sun,

This shimmering way,

Is of my father –

And the light from which he came away

Byways, through time 

You trampled on

Gaze low

Gait slow

Carrying that burden yon

Seeing not the light that you came from
Along that road,

Though you’d not seen,

Dark thickets circumscribe, and shadow-out your gleam

Dense needled wooden knots so keen:

That rubies weeped

From hands that reached

Too high, too soon

And dreams, desires were shredded; shorn 

And so downcast you rambled on,

Untill you rested and you looked back

At your own light, pinpricking the black

And saw end the tunnelling of your track
And late you lifted high your brow

And saw the hedgerows flowering now

Bright riots of brief blossom,

The thorn all gone …

One stark blue afternoon

Those fragrant boughs, lift up perfumes

Assuaged the howling of the moon 
And though that season too quick was done

And thorny scrub again did come

Biting at your heels

You do march on

Warmed by the light that you came from
And as you do,

Each day my prayer for you anew,

As fresh and pure as each dawns dew,

That heady season gone, again will come
Yet I pray more:

You will walk on to see reborn

That light beyond the blossom and the thorn

Therapy

Alone again. Last time you held me and healed me. But I’m on my own now – in your company. I reach out and only brace the distance. Elbows locked like shackles. You meet me with echo and silence. I leave you and you leave me – holding our baby. His joyful riot engulfs you and eclipses me and I lose you both in the swell – rigidly fighting for stillness, whist time and space and lives and laughter taunt and cavort. Refusing to meditate on loss, whilst I stand sentry at the mausoleum, waiting for a funeral no one will attend. 
I have questions for my father he will not answer – already in a dream he cannot wake from. Murmuring meaninglessness in fitful slumber. A denial of time. Stooping backward holding his breath – already submerged by the thick black tide – where he may yet live more, or at least be in motion. I wish him relief. Of his life – a refusal at living. And me relief of the shoulder ripping reaching, of aching fingers, of flexing torn muscles, of holding his deadweight and dancing. All to deliver him to you. And steel tip toed and laced up in cripples braces – I morse tap ‘hypocrite’ – knowing all I animate is dead is empty too. The rest escaped into my own shadow. Darkening doors. A plague cross upon them. Beware those that enter here. The tick will bite and poison you. You will be mistaken for contagion and spend life earning your breath. Apologising. Scraping and bowing. Cowering at your own feet screwed on backwards. A sick puppet with cut strings that must dance dance dance and laugh and kiss and feast at life with gusto or be cast away. Why did you leave me and why did I? 
And cardboard mother of this cardboard mother. Damp and flimsy. Between you and relentless concrete. As warm as it gets and as close to comfort. Gratitude due – for this is more than you deserve. To be tolerated at the doorway. Bow now and bow. Curtesy and smile. And make it easy for me – protect me – your pain is unbearable. You have ripped me asunder. I am sodden with your tears. Cold and wind whipped. I claim the comforting for your story. Anaesthetise. Anaesthetise. And forget the feeling of feeling. It is worthless and has no use here. I drag you like a club foot. And you must run and run and run the rat trap. Run for your home long gone. And don’t forget your luck. Your gratitude for each dull tock tolled in your breast. The timbre of your cracked bell that cannot be tuned. That yearns to peal and refuses to harmonise. Cold brass on cold brass. And sing now in that unreachable key. Lift up your thin clavicular voice, the ligature upon you, and praise me. The hymn to me. In gratitude. For you sing flat of your will and not of my casting. And you climbed that clock tower alone. To be alone. And we cannot see: cannot see why we should puff up the stairs. 
And then here is this woman. All love and bosom. Come and play. Lie on my rug. I will wrap you up warm. Unfurl and let yours tears seep. I will not be sucked away in spiral tides. I will refuse you my judgement and my own distractions. Feel the sun on your back and sigh. Yes in your nuclear winter. Crack your husk and skin the nut and taste its sweetness. I will not let you choke. But nor can I come with you. Nor can I make you as if loved. As if nonalone. I can give you a memory of sweetness but not the meal. Not the stew. You cannot keep me on your stove top. I may only be your stockpot for this sitting. And for that. And it is your bones that must simmer. Your flesh fall away. And it is only you – your own famished corpse – that you can eat from my hand. You your own unfattened calf. Which is all you have. And all you can make of the scrub in the sand. But eat. Come sit. The table in this soup kitchen. A bowl is waiting. And growing cold while you clear your throat with the coughing that chokes you. I will gaze with you into it. Feel the steam rise from it, whet our cheeks, blow away its billows. Guess it’s flavours. But it’s is you that must eat and open your hunger and eat. It’s you that must eat. 

Eulogy 

A girl of looping lanes and bicycles, of fields and hedgerows and rose petal potions.With sugared hair and pencilled stockings, your dance set in its joyful motion.

  

Your bathtub was our ocean, your cool pantry was a sanctuary,

Your deep freeze was a treasure trove, and your love was heaven to me.

 

I felt it in your feathered beds, and your imagination freed –

it was a call to dreaming, everything we could all be.

 

You showed us how – setting out to map, our family from way way back,

with wit and curiosity, travelling without crossing the sea.

 

In foghorned mornings whilst – seagulls pealed in soaring flight, 

you poured tenderness into us like, a syrup of sunlight 

 

You reached out the softest hands across, age and night and sickness 

to us wee bairns and held us close, on your lavender pillows.

 

Crocheted blankets, Roald Dahl and brandy-suckling cakes, 

Marble eggs, and footsole-rolled oranges, forgave all of my mistakes. 

 

Your marmalade was spun of gold, your pickled onions spiced so bold

warmed the very bones of me, your love for us was artistry. 

 

Nanna your fond caress, is in my heart and in my bones, and the mazes of my hair, your fingertips called home.

 

Forever summers of rambles long, tales of pigged orchards in a world long gone

Snuggling you, breathing your talcum powder puff, I could never get enough

in woe and wonder and distress, your unreserved bear hug was the one I loved the best.

 

Your lovely garden was, a kaleidoscope explosion, 

Of all the gorgeous blooms, you and Grandad Bill had chosen

Crimson poppy crinolines, winking pansy heroines

Tiger lilies burning bright, sweet to smell and touch and sight.

 

Our honeyed hands felt the lick of bees – rescued from birdbath seas,

and wild birds came in tentative trust – to your draining board for their sweet tuck.  

 

And though the crow has come for you, you seem to shine with light anew

and drift to the cloudscape in ascent, like your lilies’ heady heaven scent

And though the earth reclaims, what will not go above, you live on forever, in the legacy of love:

– when I hold my children and pass on your tenderest of touch, and years from now, when they find they love their children just as much

– in the songs of my heart, and the rhythm of its beating 

– in that twinkle at the reach of vision, which is constant and not fleeting

– your love sent to us from, the horizon of possibility, this now and forever is your magical sweet mystery. 

Morning mourning 

My heart is dead

Crushed

Killed off

Beats black

Thuds off track

Some thugs thwack

Skull and dumb stick
My blood is thick

Congealed

Skin unpeeled

no keen rush

Lethargic ooze

A seeping bruise

Inky pools
My breath is slack

Halfhearted gasp

A stifled laugh

A ridicule

A fleeting gap

Between inevitable deflations
My lips are blue

Cannot kiss you

Corpse cold

And cracked

Riven and chapped

And cannot speak
My tounge is fat

My spit unspat

It cakes and smacks

Whitens and glues

My tombstone teeth

Erected for you
My eyes are glazed

My mind is crazed

I am not here

Nothing to fear

I disappear 
Where did I go?

I do not know

When did I leave?

And should I grieve?

Or yet believe

There is faint hope

Of resuscitation
And with cracked ribs

And shocks you give

Will I reanimate 

And live and live?
Until the sinkhole yawns 

sucks me in at dawn

Makes me its pawn

I am endlessly reborn 

Into this living death

Godbless 

There was a time before this time. 
When I was a girl in your soft grasp. 

We looked out to sea and mistook distance for infinity …

 

Named from you,

blossomed from your bough,

invested with fond joy, 

those Neptune eyes swelled with pride.

 

Whispered tales of desert journeys,

sibling rascalry and crab fishing,

jokes from matchboxes and how to catch mice.

– that village dance –

(brylcream and oldspice and love and romance!)

and the tunes of gonetimes –lullabies on your lips

– souls’ sonance.

 

Bones thawed with corned beef stew,

Butter-slapped-Botham-baps,

Paylor-lore and rich tea biscuits.

Ginger wine – for good times

and shared barley treats in cellophane 

-sweet nurture.

 

Coal-tar-soap scented nestles given me in your bed,

craft in your thrift-sheds, resurrection of bread,

bringer of light forth from 

damp dense black stone

-sage conjure

 

 … Fires lit in early morn

Before we were risen

Burn bright and warm us still