Welcome To Washington Heights

The pimp is my manager,
He says he is my Fantasy;
He says I like it when he hits me,
This is not make believe.

When I was six or seven,
I dreamt of fairy castles,
Now I bleed three times a week
And take my alcohol.

I find comfort in his violence,
That’s what he said I thought;
Trouble doesn’t have a pitch,
I don’t associate with people

Any more, but him.
I must be happy for clients,
I am a Texan cargo train,
I am the Houston skyline.

He gives me warnings
Not to go on the run,
Sometimes punches me too much.
A room incarcerates

With sheets of shallow pink
And I think there they all go
On the freeway with
Their health insurances

And bungalows with lawns
Neatly mown; in time their cars
Turn on these headlamps,
Light up the furthest wall.

Fourth Plinth

I don’t know where I stand
On plinths. The unabashed
Alabaster-eyelashed
Anti-abolitonists may be
Rightly pulled off by their
Victorian marble cleats,
Yanked into prostrate
Positions in the street,
Through the arches
Celebrating ancient
Atrocities, hauled on
Rattling oaken logs
Like dismantled henges
And pyramid schemes, to be
Tossed with appropriate
Ceremonies in to acidities
Within the English Channel
Or from Outer Hebridean rifts.
The sea-bed will be their
Stateless graveyard, no loaded
Roses for them or confetti,
Just blind crustaceans
Tapping the cracked wizardry
Of stonemasonry; bridge of
A nose, a furrowed brow;
Dichoptic sights gouged out
Amid the thaws somehow,
Great geological ages,
Finding their way
These days with eyes
In their claws and their
Claws in their mouths.

I’m finding my stride, my feet.
I’ll never see a statue carved
To memorialise my achievements
Lacking, or phrased
Substantively,
My beautiful failures,
Unless statues in future
Are chiseled (as carefully
As Rodin’s amanuenses
Incisioned with the diligence
Of gastrointestinal surgery)
For honouring cleaning chores
And actions self-defeating.
I for one am glad and pleased,
As judging by societal
Algorithms there would be
Crowds burning books
A hundred years beyond me,
Their pages filled with
Wondrous stories and twists
And prophesies and myths,
All on a pyre
For politics.

But while we lead the
World in protests without
Achieving change, unless by
Change I am writing accounts
About the people I can see
Being worse off,
Parents with less wages,
Children with less
Developmental learning stages
And universities mastering
Navel-gazing, will they also
Demolish or recycle,
(I don’t mind, either),
Statues in bronze and
Verdigris which pepper
Parks and colleges, (some are
Busts, let’s not forget),
Of long-dead men who
Exemplified jingoism, or
The rapists of indigenous
Lands and speech,
The million bigots
Who suppressed an entire
Gender no less for centuries,
Or justifiers of war,
Their bellies made fat
From bellicosity and
Concentration camps.

Then at last, perhaps,
The Lions of Trafalgar
Will collapse and sink,
For those discontented animals
Chased and ate helpless
Gazelles and the elusive
Blue duikers of Botswanan fables,
While the gazelles and gnus
Expressed their gratitude
From within the depths of
Their oppressors’ stomachs,
Their horns on dining tables.

Lifting Weights

Even beneath uncontestable rain
My weightlifting neighbour
Presses his bench; he strains
Biceps and triceps against
A violence of indisputable greys
A month before July. Contorted face,
I pray he does not look the same
When extorting sighs from lovers,
Sincerely he appears to agonise;
Self-afflictions behind a fence,
An audience of cypresses blink
Under dark green umbrellas.
I cannot justify nor rationalise
The constraints of the body,
And I furthermore pray
For his ligaments to remain
In place, for our ambulances
Are overwhelmed and our hospitals
Like Ministers for Roads
Offloading excess silicates
Have cancelled triple bypasses.
The barbells rattle and wheeze;
Barbaric routines, might I pray
One more time that he should find
WD40 in a kitchen cupboard, please.

Across the flooded lane, which ego
Dictates may as well be as wide
As the Irish Sea, wider than speech,
Wider than a bouyant comet’s tail,
Even beneath uncontestable rain
I fail in the never-ending bout
With myself, I’m the butterfly
Shadow-boxer punching metastatic
Targets which look like me,
Where no winner flouts his
New-found wealth, silver belts,
No podium nor medals nor
Pouting for swarming paparazzi,
Nor even simply the satisfaction
A man may find when pressurised,
Moving kilograms up and down
Under a turbulent kingdom’s sky.

A weight can take so many shapes,
And when a weight is lifted
We mean to achieve a sense of relief,
So why when I strive
To lift aloft my dumbbell-mind
All I find are aches and grief.

On Sovereignty

The country of our birth
Swaddled us at first
With amulets unearthed,
On the Bridge of Rings
Protected by verse and
Nursing circulated words
Designed to strengthen
A calculated succour.

But something went wrong
In the words of the song;
The rings began to throttle,
A rotting curdle clotting,
Until anthems unplugged
In a counterclockwise
Epiglottal vortex drop.
On a yoke of lies we choked

And collapsed, suffocated
By the very state which
For earlier generations
Maintained principles,
Protectiveness.
These words synonymous
Now with stock and broth
For better leaders abroad

To mock. Ours are dressed
In party-patterned frocks
With feathers plucked from
Lame pink pigeon legs
Where eagles nested once.
The continental populous
And associated press join
Lengthy queues for fuel

Of ridicule, and rightly so,
For our leaders heard
Laughter and cheering,
They fuddled and fudged,
Misjudging the thinking,
For the sounds were of jeers,
And a slow, prolonged sinking
Of all we held dear.

 

Eton Mess

They made a pudding, gave it a name,
Now two repasts are never the same;
No table-head, no Toby Jugs,
No morning kiss, nor goodnight hugs.

Hunting meringues, cold sugar-coated,
Furs of fox, wick-weasel throated.
Institutions in the wolds
Poured strawberries on the whipping folds.

A kitchen cabinet’s full of mugs,
The mugs have mugshots made of thugs,
They bore a mace, wore ermine gowns,
And pasted slogans through the towns.

Ah, they’re cheering cracks of willow paddle!
But underneath the leather saddle
There’s neither lion, nor horse from shire,
But running creases, Truth’s for hire.

It’s butter churned at Corpus Christi,
Though source of Sophistries are misty;
I’d rather pen-portay some anarchy,
Than this Middle England’s apathy

To anaphylactic taxing of our sense,
We’re told its better for defence
Of national interests long since sold;
They’ve got the cure for common cold.

The Diplomat

What exodus, the great
Denialist said to himself,
As he tore up carrots
From the soil with his mouth.

A barren wasteland,
Émigré brides,
They sit in their bars
And revere this weird pride.

Even flowers of plastic
He brought home for his wife,
And left in the bathroom
Had suddenly died.

Lost conversations,
And misplaced files,
Diplomatic communiques,
Men gathered in crowds

To inspect, solemn and wise,
Forlorn fields of crops in shale,
And miles of stray dogs,
Chasing their tails.

Twelve Minutes (Eighth Sonnet)

The time for sunlight to reach my old desk
Finds all people equal, cursed and the blessed;
The time for blood in my dreaming arm clots
Is your favourite song in twelve bar knots.
Our time to choose stairs, or elevator,
To views of Rome where many years later
Alone I returned, with my bag of regrets;
The time stays silent, with words never said.
The time for walking towards my gallows,
And judges drowned in red-rising shallows;
The time of pens to write a brief letter,
Gifts to a friend you have feeling better;
The time we lost for a bomb to explode
Should be time re-wired, to write this new ode.