Rain that wept from the gutter last night
has slowed to a glycerin drip.
Now it comes, one clear tear at a time.
A perfect lens capturing a whole world
inside its micro-mirror, split second drop.
And just for a moment, I too am within its
And just for a moment, I too am clearly
seeing what isn't there.
Oiling Her Ears
They could be curled up creatures gently
dreaming or softly scalloped mushrooms eased
bracket-like from your fecund silva moods.
Whisper-warm with gossip and furred like fruit
mould, they swirl into waxy-dark muteness.
I nuzzle these lobes of jellybean flesh –
With these tools: bottle, pipette and cotton-wool
we perform our aural ritual. You turn your head.
I draw the amber lube up into the glass tube and
squeeze its fluid salve into your gluey lugs for relief.
From deep inside your blocked chambers, air
rises and pops; reminding me of trapped, drunken
spirit-level bubbles. Ironic that after all these years
I’ve failed to hear you. As I dab the oleaginous
overflow from your cheek and neck, I listen to your
breathing, my deafness a different disease to heal.
Let me restore the balance here too. For now though,
sleep submerged in your underwater-head and when
morning comes and with it your audibility, you’ll
talk and with all our senses, I’ll be open to you.
On the beach, with the evening sun behind me, I splay my legs and
outstretch my arms in a pose of childlike joy and I’m a boy again.
My shadow spills its fuzzy-edged exaggeration on the wet sand and
she traces her finger around my blurred outline, mapping my boundaries.
Perimeter-drawn in the soft silt, we examine the daub and laugh at
the monstrous claws she’s given me instead of hands – lobsterman.
We gather stones – chalk and flint for his bones and meat – And seaweed –
a mess of kelp for his hair. Resplendent in this mineral and vegetable garb
we declare him complete and stare out to sea. Before we leave – a final act
I stand one rock on end, erect. The tide turns. Potent and proud, we watch
the waves rise. The salty waters swirl around his insides and slowly drag
him back into their dark depths, alive.
Slowly padding over
Every curve or jut
nudging my exposed tread
with its knotted emotions,
like knuckles kneading dough.
They are the dead
these sea-shaped stones.
Each carved capsule
a body's history.
I want to swallow them all.
I pick up a green one
Drop it on my tongue
Toss back my head
Gulp and its gone
One for joy
One for grief
One for a brief glimpse
of a forgotten moment.
I grind these feelings
beneath my bare feet
and stare at the sun's
departing white glare
Nothing here is real.
crushing and crashing.
One for fear
One for bliss
One for pain
One for loss
I step and step and step
All becomes sand.
My walk softens.
I left my name at the wood's edge
and entered its tree-green shade a stranger to myself.
I found a clearing, a quiet space
and in this peaceful glade
bound together branches with vines.
I sit beneath this weave of hazel and breath.
Behind my eyes I find my heart - a bruised apple.
I hold it gently in my mind.
Occasionally a black dog rises up and barks a memory at me.
I play fetch with the ruined fruit.
Always the beast gives chase and always brings back
not the over-ripe taste of rot
but a cracked, white eggshell.
I place this empty casing in the cradle of my ribs.
And here, almost imperceptibly, it pulses and throbs
pulses and throbs.
and we talk
about this and that
and the future
lost in our worries
we spot two magpies
we are trying not to be
from our hilltop
we notice shafts
of golden sunlight
radiating towards the sea
we are drawn
to a fluttering
in the hedgerow
we look down
and see a thrush
we stop and ponder
what to do
a bird with a
is a sad thing
it is scared
so are we
we do nothing
and move on
My mouth was a painted grimace
on a straw-filled potato sack.
I could not speak lips or tongue.
My words came from scraps
and wasteland –
rats’ feet over broken glass
Dust blew into my cracked
eyes. I could not cry.
Sometimes I sagged on this pole, like
A stilled flag. I was a wind-beggar.
I could hold up my bag-head if I chose
but usually I stared down at my scuffed shoes –
One brown, one black, no laces,
pegged in place by bulldog clips, they
hang from my trousers – like suicides.
Empty glove hands flap no fingers.
What wouldn’t I have given for a bone or
a blackened tooth?
Now my intestines itch madly, were I human
a tapeworm would be less irritating.
It’s all kept inside with strong twine and
A belt buckle.
These days - I wish I’d tear open. Let
the crows peck me slack, become
Six weeks ago,
after I was given my reason,
they nailed me up here,
two sticks crossed and tied,
broken broom handles.
That’s the biggest joke of all.
Before, when I was an earwig’s nest,
these thoughts did not exist.
Now I know what I am –
I’m a sham.
A pest controller, a bird scarer,
A dead man’s Sunday best.
And I’m useless at it –
This is my last day on field duty.
They’ve been building it for a week –
Paper, twigs, unwanted furniture
logs. Everything chopped and stacked
piled up like a witch’s hat.
It’s all been dried out and dowsed in
Sacrifice is too strong a word for it,
I’m a device.
Up there’s a chair with three legs.
The coronation throne where later
I’ll receive my cardboard crown.
From tortured fool to murdered king
in a flash.
Oh how my new brains will burn.
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