Category Archives: Lockdown

Old Dogs Still Have Teeth

Do you see us as

dogs learning new tricks,

desperate to please

new masters?

Was your new world

designed to exclude the

grey-haired masters and

mistresses of

old-world thought, those who

solved a problem before you could

develop an algorithm?

 

Your biggest mistake?

Making it too easy for us

old, clever folk, so we

slip into the booth

beside you and smile and you

can’t escape.

Memory V

Do “is” and “was” and “will be” collide and fall into an undifferentiated heap of time?

Siri Hustvedt, “Memories of the Future”, which has been my companion and prompt throughout this series of poems.

 

When we reopen

might you also

reopen love?

Maybe love is in the

Airbnb?

 

I remember your

mouth on me, my

mouth on you, the

hot, wet inside of you, the

squish of your

sweaty breasts on my

flat chest.

 

We all want the open air, yet the

tight, kempt air of a

steamy bedroom summons our

stoppered desires.

 

White freesias pop open in their

vase of clean water, the

sun dipping behind them, a

nascent moon somewhere in that

deep blue sky we have

extraordinarily lived under

throughout these

strange months of

excommunicating our own

loved ones.

 

Warnings are everywhere, as they

always have been, but now have

bizarre power:

“No Entry”, “No

Through Road”,

“Keep Your Distance”,

“Baby on Board”,

“One Way”.

 

When we reopen

might you also

reopen love? For

just one day?

No….an increment of

shards of days from

past, present, future, those

fractured memories from which we

try to make a

remembered life?

Memory IV

What do we recall of

past loves? Are there

letters? Gifts?

Mementoes? Something

bought together that has

somehow stayed in your hands?

A book recommended? A

piece of music? A

particular place? A

view? Or maybe it’s a

scent or a way you were

touched, a crooked morning smile, a

way of speaking, words

said, or words you wished

hadn’t been said? Or

more recently was there an

email or a gif or a

post on Twitter or

Instagram? A secret

message on any one of a

hundred sites? Will you

remember what all that

meant? What you felt, what you

thought was so

important and is so

irrelevant now but

lingers on in your

memory?

Memory III

Life picks a way through

thorns, which some feel

sharply while others

brush past but each

thorn retains something

torn off, a shred, a

tatter, sometimes a whole

skein of memory which

hangs there forever

beyond recall.

A Minuet for Company

Sometimes I dance a Bourrée

or an Allemande, a Gigue

when happy, a Sarabande

when sad, a Courante to

cheer myself up, a

Minuet for company for

even when company is in

short supply, the

air moves as though there were

skirts whirling

somewhere nearby.

Memory 1

It’s strange how memory

rearranges things like

walls in a studio set so that

certainties become

uncertain and

faces blur so even your

own face in

old photos seems to have a

querulousness as though

wondering whether to

remember or forget.

Murmuration

Is there sadness in the

silence of the night or

is there hope?

 

We can’t be quiet,

us people: we are like a

murmuration of starlings,

noisy, chattering, nosy,

changing direction in the

blink of an eye and

changing again a

moment later,

noise being our nature, and

agglomeration.

 

Sometimes my stomach aches

as though I wanted to

give birth, but its just

emotion congealed with

apathy, the sad desire for

things that have changed to

stay unchanged.

 

But then the

murmuration

calls me to its

hectic ruckus

and my wings

open of their

own accord.

A New Way of Working?

We have to make drama where

no one can come near,

no one can touch,

shake hands, hit or even

kiss: Shakespeare, his

playhouse stricken by plague, went

home to Stratford and

wrote sonnets but

somehow we have to

make this work in the

here and now.

 

Wish us luck.

Everyday Emotions

We sometimes forget the

everyday emotions which

define our days: the

soft breath of your

sleeping loved one, or the

snores which woke you up; the

smell of the coffee and the

endless wait for it to perc; the

gentle rub of the cat

waiting to be fed and it’s habit of

tripping you up in its anxiety; the

splendour of dawn and that

freezing gust of wind as you

open the door; the

beauty of birds

pillaging the garden and their

long streaks of shit on

newly-cleaned windows.

 

This is but the first hour of a

day that a poet must hymn or

such everyday emotions will be

lost forever.

Tears

Do words make you,

like me, cry?

Have you felt

hot tears, those

sprung by shame,

embarrassment, humiliation?

Or those icy cold tears of the

shrug of indifference, of

lost love dripping onto

chill pillow? Has some

song squeezed your

throat, some movie

made you sit through

endless credits to

stifle sobs? Was it

something your child said?

Do your eyes

swim with sunrise,

shed with dusk,

moisten with the Moon?

Or perhaps they just

let loose with laughter?

 

Well then, you are human

after all.

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