and a dog grew, green in Carpenter’s weed,
from a crack
in biscuit-crumb tarmac,
a boy flowered on the
lead, nose bleed, skulking on, shrugging
brambles in snug alley.
Hazel branch flaps with
the patter of squirrel, tickling
prayer flags inciting wood-
pigeon flight, fat chestnut gut:
boy looks up
from feet-planted soil,
the diurnal roil of black and white,
blow and boil,
wet and wetter,
and the dog grew brown,
and yarrow-flower withered to moss-
speckled stone – and seagull-spat fortune –
a carved pebble amongst
henged in yews,
and the dog, green, grew.
DEATH OF A HERO
The whip-crack of the thread, the
pin snapped like a rib
and we saw the cloud for miles, billowing
like pipe smoke trapped
in the big, beat-up Black Country.
Some reached for the top shelf book
expecting a hollow hiding place but
most threw stones at the goof in the bullet-proof house;
besides, the buck-toofed lay told
us the troof – and the gallows-maker lives on.
A year gone, the tears turn to wine,
(after all, we
toppled the bronze, a whip-snap of the rope)
and the crowd grows and smiles, bubbling
like a bath bomb in the drip-tray.
The hero’s limbs rotting in the wooden box
on silk in the mud of the Black Country.
Written on my S9, walking the Coleridge Way
the salt slats of my seaside nose;
my feet rocking sick in
in the fluorescent glare of my green and blue
it’s not that I would sink in
the woody mud of the Quantocks but
I’m supposed to glide
on a nimbus or not break ankle
branches on Coleridge’s
swift Somerset movie –
my body will still feel
the twisting tendons in
the bracken shrub of rubber or
compact cow pat of leather –
but I was sold in virtual ink
behind plastic glass
recovering from the 9 – 5 which paid for them
(perhaps Samuel was sold cow pats
behind the glass window –
the 3d 2d’d until 9).
I look down to the silicon vine entwined
around silver birch,
my own clock of moss surrounding its
by androids telling me I did what I did –
I’m not against it,
even if it’s just a dream
when I was present
where the winding paths of Great Wood,
lined with green
smelt wet with
The Walking Dead
Fat soldiers in down jackets, we truckle and mutter, on iron
track, past the awoken rooms, typhus louse-nips,
like huts on a school camp, nettle stings;
or perhaps the film set where,
bronze men sweated, splayed on the fat screen.
A dead baby droops from the slow troop’s arms, bobble hat,
I laugh, break sombre to smile;
turn with mother and brother, death march into barn, where
Poles await liberation.
Free to side-step
at the head of the table,
where barns like arms tentacle,
Bricks spill, Lego vomit –
multicoloured seeds disperse, clicking landscapes –
the chamber’s broke open in the browned oak forest, acorns
cracking and clicking,
an apologetic fire. A white frost, the gauze of this Halloween
Then the party’s over.
Fat North Face, two boys laugh in Italian –
possibly the girl.
Big handed Russian talks open,
Face-time’s Crematorium IV, kicks gravel balletic
and falls in line on the iron track to the historical gate.
I downloaded the Walking Dead to watch in the hotel, and we
truckle along, and mutter,
but one young woman cries and perhaps that’s enough.
Sea salted and
coursing with the tide,
the water sneaks and
beaks, cutting into land,
Parrett form Somerset lines,
side-roads into Burnham,
tufted with river grasses,
seasonal flocks and solo-dots
waddle and swoop and loll and stop and tan and
fan with the wind,
fattened in the town’s holes and pockets,
the Pipits, the Godwits,
the Martins and ‘Chats,
long legged stride, short legged paddle;
Jack Snipe peeps his bill
silk sheen of the flats,
pulls a worm
- like fisherman’s fly line lugging cod against the current -
‘til glug socks the air;
Finches, Tits, Plovers
trip under shadowy willows at Apex lake shores in the
glassy midday sun of late summer, hammocked
and deckchaired, strained
a Kingfisher chances,
splash of blue streaks the park,
and old Swans and Seagulls,
white-nosed Coots and Mallard,
speedboating on an Autumn eve,
crisping leaves under fat-webbed wellies,
whilst a toddler feeds the birds;
and loner walks the wind of asphalt path up and
under lime arch to Brue,
dog snatches at orange gravel before
stalking the young stranger in the sky:
Little Egret flaps heavy satchels,
makes the slow, healthy lifeline over Parrett and
lands proud shapely statue,
black pin beaking the air,
neck snaked strong
in a pool of Brue,
makes a home here
like the pale, wrinkled traveller seeing soul
in Burnham’s elbow,
finding friends and family;
and sometime Grebe,
as rivers vein into the arm of the Channel,
the tea-stained sky shaping round on the syrupy sea,
milked with cloud,
the Swifts animating the dusk,
the strobe flapping of pages,
yet some come and go,
the broken yellow-beaked Albatross,
pulling a muscle in a journey too far,
rescued and splinted
in one of Burnham’s homes
and like a tourist
soon back out on the limb,
and away over abdomen of the Atlantic
never to touch the elbow again.
London's Late Night
I spy thick black ships
trawling through the sky,
looking through the new hole
in my belt.
My finger still bleeds,
or is it Stanley's blood
from when I poked
him in the eye?
But Stanley's ship
has long sailed,
by the virus,
he stabbed me with,
leaving me with nothing
but his knife
to crack tins of soup
in the dark,
to make new eyes
in my belt,
the only work
I'll give myself,
now they've forgotten me
to go fight the Afghans,
left me to the dust,
to the pleurisy
infecting London's left lung,
with nothing but Stanley's knife.
A Dear Friend
It still works today.
It hasn’t the kick and stick of last year,
nor does it control my resolve.
I often think the red-robin
of Jane’s breast takes me there,
but of course it doesn’t,
I’m not so perverse,
and should I fly the straight path –
maybe learn a Latin Language –
I might rediscover myself
a world too late.
But then the shape shift and
curve of Jane’s continent is alluring
in its Burlesque,
a kiss in a tissue,
a beating strawberry in a champagne flute,
and I drink from her stained glass,
tarnished – nicotine fingernails opening the
damp curtains in her crumbling house – and
she wants me to get drunk.
But it is not the taste of her breast,
the coffee in everyone of our hangovers,
the clash of stained teeth,
the wine smile of sad clowns,
it is the wrinkles that crinkle and sprout from her eyes,
and the black smudges,
telling us each time it has happened,
when the house is lighter,
and the rest have left
own thinning skin
or their very own Jane’s mottled skin;
it is the cracked nails digging into my back
when tears blur the pancake;
it is the cigarette laugh
in a teacher’s lounge,
the warm breath gone bad –
not bad enough to not love.
Yes, it still works today,
not with the stick and kick of a year ago,
and not in the way we would like.
He Didn't Sleep LAst Night,
not even for one second.
Belly swollen like a sandbag,
the doctor’s floodgates didn’t work.
And he didn’t cry last night,
the plastic marbles held it in,
and I poked at his eyes
like a boy with his first bowling ball,
poked at mine
like a man with his last, pulling a
muscle that ran up my arm
to my neck.
and not a second of sleep.
Pores wide and closed,
dry bark hacking into my ribs,
digging deep with his chin
(I pushed harder back),
he touched my lung
and winded me;
when he closed his eyes,
I could breathe again,
when I closed mine
I didn’t notice.
If I had six months to live,
would you help fund
a bottle of rare absinthe?
Old enough for Van-Gogh to have bought – but missed –
A shelf too high up for Toulouse-Lautrec to have reached,
too expensive for Hemingway, in his early days,
found in a cellar under the rubble of a cafe?
That I might drink and leave the world
I’d need no memorial, tomb or urn,
nor the Parisian setting
for my session,
just the dank of my depression
in my bottom-floor flat,
nostalgia for light,
and ink to express the taste, the herbs, my thoughts,
prior to the ancient high?
By all means join me.
perhaps we can concoct
A spare to Jerusalem,
his fat cheek, tense and wet,
hands bloodied from nail crunching,
enough to win it back.
Not that the Old Man cared,
too busy wiping his sneakers clean,
wiping green, thinking fours, sixes
like in ancient times,
before the sweet puritans revolt,
before Ruth cut the cloth,
out over the corn:
they crunched on the irked farmer’s peanuts,
cut teeth in the feeding frenzy,
to the drum and the bugle’s blow,
and the land was reborn.
Not that the boy cared for it,
sipped his drink and cried a burp,
the rest laughed and belched back, game,
even us Jefferson dreamers.