Do Not Become Their Eulogy

Create a world you want to see
Before all’s late for you and me;

Find a way you want to be,
Do not become their eulegy.

Life isn’t so straightforward,
These things we sought for granted,

Daily demands subverted,
Faint-hearted life is hardest.

I’m only here to celebrate
Qualities which you elevate,

So please, in this old Bostonian snow,
Do not dream of letting go.

Alicia Also

Twenty years slipped
Since I last stretched
These pavements,
Hairs are the same
With less width
In the aching.
Four families moved
Through a house over there,
Its neatly squared garden
Where a fair woman fainted
And needed a sutre;
She relocated to Lincoln
And give birth to the ancient
Ways of the future.

The ghost house is there
On Precariousness Corner,
Windows all boarded,
Hoardings corroded,
The grass as grown over
As dreams of the homeless.
The children are children
Of those I grew up with,
But a good local ghost story
Is peerless and opened.
Schools expanded,
Red squirrels survived,
Ethnographic adoptions
But pine trees are always
The same and how they thrive.
The old lady who played an oboe
All through one winter
Is buried in our municipal way
Over the river, yet the oboe
Still has tunes to deliver.
Branches quivering in the breeze
Have unseen opposable fingertips
On musicians six feet deep.

Everyone here has new extensions,
Smartly paved driveways
And alfresco dimensions
In wicker and rattan;
The future transfused,
Indifferent, oblivious,
Anxieties gifted and brewed
As traits for the atheists
Whose numbers are swelling,
And bruised the religious
Whose numbers are telling.
Everyone has a disease we
Cannot see, which is that
Everyone steadfastly
Refuses to talk
To each other.

And there is the window
Where every weekend I’d rush
To see my neighbour Alicia,
Schoolboy crush,
Heartbeat in crisis,
Sufficient hormones to fill
The silver Cup of Dionysus;
Alicia also relocated,
This time to Bristol
Or Bournemouth or Weymouth,
And so I never took that one chance
To say something teenage and
Wishful. Alicia got married
And her children are older
Than I was back then,
Shy and less bold,
More innocent, yes.

Tuesdays, you can still inhale
The scent of soup drifting
From the east side factory,
Tomato or beef or oxtail tides;
Thursdays, winds change
And fish trawler residues blow
Over the town far and wide.
We drove there once to lay flowers
Where a nameless prostitute died.

All fixtures and fittings remain
Of memories kept for twenty years
Inside my mind’s shallow grave,
Yet while the world flew through
The universe delightful and bright,
I was left here, two decades behind.

Revolutionary Sky

Skies with deepening greens,
It seemed our worlds had
Turned upside down; seas
Became skies and the skies
Were the sea. No longer
Walking a coastal path,
But somewhere else, no
Erosions, a few other walkers
Enjoying the weekend air,
A jogger in slow motion,
A cat in the woods carrying
A defibrillator pack on its back;
These sights still exist somewhere.
In those clifftop woods we passed
By houses being built, an estate,
With huge Buddhist statues and
Tannoys set to play meditative
Canons while we counted beads
On our japamalas. Then back to
The coast, a dip in the cliff,
A ghost village, where miners
Lived with their hopelessness,
The seams stretched out
Under the ocean bed and which
Are now like cloud-tunnels
In a revolutionary sky.

I found you in a lounge where
Purple wallpaper was decorated
With motifs in black. A room
For the living they called it.
No wonder I felt uncomfortable
In my own skin. You wore a dress
With a crinolette made from
The wishbones of whale and
Eagles’ nests, and overlaid in
The very same purples and blacks
As the patterns on the wall.
You shifted into blueness,
Then exited without a trace;
In my waking day I’m found
Wandering these apocalyptic
Streets and revisiting a sky,
Still here underneath its weight,
Just where you left me.