WAY BACK WHEN WHEN #1
When startled by the impatience of traffic
the pigeon breaks for heaven
& burbles menacingly at the screech
of tyres & blood in their eyes.
Oh to ditch this world just so!
A momentary burst & flap of panicked wings
turns them into toys.
Let’s watch as the rooftops burp & yawn
across the grey miles that routine forgets.
Seventeen & slow as tired rain I stood – a toy -
soft-boned - in a phobic street like this.
Fire unlit & safe in luddite ignorance wrapped.
Pigeons throbbing & gargling threats.
Blood in my eyes -
Not looking up.
PHANTOM IN RED SNEAKERS (FOR JOHN NASH)
I ain’t finished
staring bleak rheumy stares
into this friendly wall.
Even though the shocks have receded -
Even though the plasters
have been ripped from my punctured arm
& flat lines are restoring the calm.
Even though calm is an enemy
to the country of my mind.
These dusty numbers I squeak
on to the pristine ache of the board -
smiling fives & beak-nosed sevens -
play mean god with the existence of god.
But I ain’t finished
murdering the questions with numb waves.
Letting the inertia of heaven erode the points
my rocky coast tenses and re-sharpens.
Bled dry but serene as Buddha
I step up in my sane gown like a wizard
& accept the prize.
My black heart guarded by taut leather armour – I am on the central reservation
balefully staring down the hissing, inclined faces of drivers.
The sky is no colour. It grips a furry disc in light flour
that warms nothing & stares too.
Elephant weather in no known hour.
The cars are hurting the weak light in shades of red & blue.
It is a new-town silence that squirms behind the growl no song enlivens
& the train stutters across the creaking bridge into the station.
A miracle of shapes this crying morning observed:
Married to blind spots of moth-hung vibration - a mist
made of last night’s cavils & blurs descending
as the rain falls in my chest beneath my heart.
Scrawn of kid-shaped clattering go-kart
rides the flattened stones & weary love neverending -
down, down to the teen-ages black with grazes & lists.
Seeing the cheap obstructions and failing to swerve.
A GOOD FRIEND ACTING STRANGELY
feels like knives
or wet wool in fire.
Dead streetlamp & resigned busker
What used to be sky
with the mass of feathered oil.
THE DEVIL IN MONOCHROME
Purple & blue the cloaks of youth always
stalking the mall on wet Sundays.
Rain grey & yellow the skin absorbs
that hangs from bloodshot orbs
Green tufts of grass on damp graves
waving to the dead in a nut-brown sky
But the devil is in monochrome tonight
He is words for the books we write.
White on black they departed,
feathers soft on skeletons.
Warm words free in the twilight music room
mouth silently the lyric to the stories yet unwritten
dragging the crow of omens ‘cross the moon
Black on white they departed;
Storms and bloodlines all forgotten.
Behind the sea an ocean of song
made from lines of dust
Every line an epitaph. Every note
a church bell moan.
We only ever treasure what we trust
And one day there’ll be seagulls
that cry for anybody’s weakness.
In skies they circle waiting for the fall
& somewhere below in a garish mall
black on white we’re frozen.
Safe as nothing breathing & silent
in the cool blue beyond it all.