The evil that people did,
And evil that people still do
Is reason enough why I’ll be returning
In a soul-equipped igloo.
On the backs of whales I’ll hunt
For injustices in the thaw,
My harpoon deeply impaling
The abandonment of law.
I’ll sail across death’s forests,
Hear humpback’s distressed call,
By their skyward fire at night alone,
Warming my hands as I fall.
The moment is my throne allayed
Beyond that icy floe,
Eternity, hair’s breadth away,
Watch me as I go.
My art is fuel for my self,
It’s all about survival;
Watering plants in a drought,
Mundanity’s suddenly vital.
I wanted a different existence,
To find my higher rival;
Meanwhile art is all I’ve got
Before touching down on arrival.
Later, above that lofty shelf
Too late the dim apostasy!
Knowing I was safer below,
O art, protect my soul from me.
When a unicorn falls from the wall
Then we are all in trouble;
Until that day I’ll paint my bed,
And write beneath the rubble.
You have your side’s tidyness,
My side’s still its usual mess.
If we swapped, I’d take time
To trace those crests and hollows
Where your resting shape resides,
Refill your empty cup of sorrows,
Folded clothes conformed
To your uncontested beauty,
Ready to be stored in drawers
Like confessions in a chapel,
Like reforming resurrections,
Routines diminish duty.
Middle night and middle storm,
I reached for where your milk was stored,
But darkly your side metamorphed
Before I realised, and with great design
The bed of life revolved once more,
Mechanics wheezed while agents yawned.
Now I’m trapped where blankets lied,
Transfixed by how I lived and died;
You wake, shower, prepare for work.
To the workers ploughing out there,
To people in the chair,
To families burnt in enclave rings
Now living without prayers,
If I could lease my grieving lung
I’d undo despots draining done;
Absorb that cancerous, bloodied lot,
For fairness growing through the rot.
There’s no mausoleum or statue,
No temples in gold or bamboo
Which can’t be uprooted or toppled anew;
We’d be unstoppable, in a week or two.
I heard my soul cry from its cell,
A muffled sound, bottomless well,
Mishearing its touch as a distant bell,
I reached from my seat, and unseated fell.
Extracted a curse,
And woe betide, should it try
To return like thorns.
Yet in doing so
I am now tired, I could sleep
Through three centuries.
Sometimes the sky seems as wide
And big as my sadness.
Sometimes I wonder how it was Permissible for you to step out,
While I was stored within a moment.
Sometimes I wish I was something else,
Less than my cobbled wheezy-sided,
Indulgent, obsessive false-comparison self,
And that’s just the better half
Of my kernel. On the other side,
A spider’s on my eyelids;
A paperweight, a floating shelf.
If I was a god of kindness,
By degrees I doubt it would help,
I’d be a god of putting things off
Instead, and drinking tea,
A god of missing you,
The goddess of missing me.
How can I follow my love’s path,
When there is no path to see.
All those before who fled,
What did they do to me?
They poured their troubles onward,
Red blood could part a sea;
Still, you’re in untended plots
In a quiet corner of Cheam.
How far I looked up to you,
A child at the endless bar,
We’d walk across midwinter tracks
When you couldn’t drive a car.
You tended donkeys with more care
Than family bruised and scarred.
Adults sometimes shed the skin
Their parents dressed them in,
But you glued your self to mine,
Inheriting your chin-chin.
Each evening when I’m drunk
With words, I think of you,
Hoping this is not the last drink;
Without words what can I do.
At a traffic light, roadworks,
The jamming pressed their
For those cars tailed back
From a year before I was born
In scales of a summer storm.
I did not know I’d end up here,
A tear in my eye where
Many lost worlds formed,
Places I’d seen with cathedrals
And parks and riverside scenes,
Caught like a fly in my eyelid.
Someone exited their vehicle
And tapped exasperatedly
At my window. I wound down
The production-line glass
And noticed for the first time
A kitemark for British Standards
Engraved in the corner;
These days, it’s an oxymoron.
I found myself wondering
Whether my soul had already
Dissolved, or whether a steady
Dripping away occurs through
Various stoppers and plugs,
Like prayers, like rosaries,
Dogmas, dharma, traditions.
These days in my country
The scientists have deserted,
Prophets can be purchased.
He was still shouting,
The man in the street
I wound the window up
And drove away but not before
Drying my eyes, foot on the clutch
Finding first gear,
Revving the engine,
Rain matted hair, lightning beats,
I smiled for the first time
In so many years,
Running over his feet.
A spider bore weights
Of raindrops, flung from far heights.
So why love, can’t I?
Bitter the ironies,
Fuel of my life,
Devourer of time,
A grave for a wife.
Seeds in an apple
Letting trolls down,
I remembered you wearing
Your basque wedding gown.
All memories sealed
In a chest they had drowned,
Deep in sharp oceans,
A long-submerged town;
You can still see some rooftops
When you dive further down;
There’s the church belfry,
Brass bells make no sound.
I cannot choose living
With this charged weighted load,
For as soon as it’s given
I must cross their toll road
To pay with the striking,
The force and the blow,
So I hope you’ll forgive me
If I remain here below.