Monthly Archives: February 2011

Daffodils

They were 99 pence a bunch so

I bought three and filled

two vases and watched them

burst open their trumpets in

yellow ecstasy even though

for several days they’ve been

dead.

Envoi

The eggshells are long shattered but

I still tiptoe through the house like

the ghost you avoid in the hall

the spectre of might-have-been

hanging from the coat-rack dripping

regret through the floorboards

into the foundations

rotting them.

Aries

The best grass in the best fields

–all yours, Ram, in return for

your fleece—which seems

like a bargain until you find your

fleece is golden and

requires your death and

banishment to a star-field where

the grass is piss-poor.

 

Your fleece, meanwhile, is

dangled before heroes like

Jason, a death-or-glory boy

happy fighting harpies or

cthonic armies in rusty armour

for the honour of wearing your

chafing hide around his

ham-like neck.

 

And who thought of you, up there

eating burnt air and

eternally knowing what it’s like

to be tupped?

Playtime

Age doesn’t matter:

there’s still a playground

with dangerous corners where

girls flirt their souls out then

run away, and boys

want to boss or be bossed,

run the Alley-Alley-O or

score all the goals while

the clouds darken and the air is

suddenly sharp with

Chinese Whispers and

Chinese Burns.

U.S.S. Carondelet (1861-73)

Carondelet cruises Mississippi

an upturned cooking pot afloat

broiling the men inside

bristling with guns

looking for fights and finding them

sluicing the blood of dead and deafened men

scouring the great

drainage of the West from

war’s hopeful hoopla start to its

sullied and bitter end.

 

Cumberland Ohio Missouri

Yazoo Red all

belch their waters into

Mississippi’s great churn and

she sailed them all (though

she barely got out of Red

caroming over rapids)

and their endless bayous overhung with trees

dripping with snipers.

 

She took her hits but

never lost a fight and when

they came to scrap her found

she’d gone in the night

on a flood tide, preferring

the grave of her enemies

to that of her friends.

C’est Chic

My guts are gaily gartered round

your well-toned thighs.

You suit them,

wear them well:

I admire how you can move

so elegantly, though you

must be aware of the

trickle of blood running down

your leg like a

seam.

A Good Question

“Is he in, out or indifferent?”

She meant her boss, of course, but

it made me wonder

which I was. I mean

I want to be in (who doesn’t?) but

how far in is too far?

Do you notice the growing lack of air

and space and light?

Are you aware of drying up and

slowly suffocating?

 

Out isn’t just not in, oh no:

I could be out of it (have been),

on my way out,

out of the loop, my

tiny mind or

to lunch, and

I’m often on a limb,

standing or rageous, but fear

being cold and

dread being left.

 

Pursuing all these ins and outs leaves

little room for indifference: I will give it my

full attention when I’m

dead.

Seeing Red

The first time I knew I could kill

was after school in my

grammar school blazer—

bright blue, red rag

in the roughest part of my

rough town where it was a

personal insult to want

to escape.

 

Each night I was chased by

some gang or another, but

I could outrun them, my heart

keeping time with my legs,

each day distilling that

drip drip of fear, resentment and

hate until it was a

pure vial of vitriol.

 

So there’s that day when one boy

outruns his friends but

they’ve given up and

he’s alone and God

he was surprised when I turned and

grabbed his throat, for

I was fit and strong and

he was not.

 

I raised my fist and watched him cower

all mouth and no trousers suddenly

and my heart was pounding

do it do it do it do it do it

and I wanted to I wanted to so bad

I could taste his pasty blood

bursting from his ratty face on my

metronomic knuckles.

 

Instead I dropped him, ran for home,

kept running, ran to Championships,

ran beyond the tape, keep running away from

the first time I knew I could kill.

First fumblings

We pretend children have no sex lives then
laugh as they play kiss-chase in the playground
and forget our first fumblings with
our sticky groins
quietly under covers
worried about smells and stains yet
enamoured of them already.

The Brain Tumour

You call me the Brain Tumour

‘cause I’m always on your mind.

Sara in LaLaLand

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