Damoclean

Lifelong I have walked in sole-bare shoes,
With the trapdoor of my thoughts
I am going through,
Like an inverse Damoclean sword,
Like a parapet above a bamboo pit,
Each stake sharpened
By your silence as wide
As a black hole’s gingival abscess
Or a behemoth’s grin.

I walk with a shadow
Owned by self-sabotaging indiscipline,
Infrequent in me, your company,
I trod the floorboards while you
Flossed your wolfbane teeth
With cider-froth and
Complacency.

Only lately,
That lateral door’s secured
By love,
A love that endures
Longer and more fast set
Than a Trappist’s bloodstone whetting,
More than the Gordian knot
Where once we tied to dogwood
In this self-same moment
An ageing satrap’s ox;
And I, my love,
I will no longer drop.

Mirror Image

This is me
In the mirror,
Unless
It is not;
Who can say
One way
Or another?
So I walked through
Shimmers of smooth
Glazed glass
To find out, departed,
Whether I would last,
Assessed my self
And was no better off.

Then you strolled by the mirror
And inside I was trapped.
I rapped against its surfaces
As unmoved you moved by.
I had to bear witness
As you lived
And you died;
I slumped behind that dreary
Veneer
And for several years
Here and there
Cried.

I found a way,
To step around that mortal frame,
And could see myself there,
I appeared just the same
As I watched myself say
“This is me
In the mirror,
Unless
It is not;
One way
Or another,
Who can say
And who cannot?”

Ode To My Father

When I opened my mouth
It was you, yes, who spoke;
When I then fell asleep
It was you, yes, who woke.
You colluded with love
And waters then broke.

By the skin of my teeth,
No skin on my nose,
You scooped all the futures
And curled up my toes;
No bedtime stories
And nowhere to go.

We drove down to Dorset
With one empty seat,
I rushed to the school gates
With no one to greet;
You opened a door
And the door was my Fate.

Daily they’re grieving
In pubs and the streets
For those overboard
In the bayou and creeks;
My numbers are letters
And the letters are Greek.

Karmic Roulette

Karmic Roulette,
Where will you take me next
For a spin within your wheels?
Sometimes far future,
Sometimes the past,
Sometimes in blue,
But it never lasts with you.
I am simply your small round
Metal ball-bearing
Sticking to its task –
Give me a place to land
And I will fill the part.

I landed, and entered a city
In the steppes of my heart,
The world outside was crumbling
But these tower blocks steadfastly
Clung to their history, with
Ornaments and crockery in orange,
Yellows and that thick green
I had not seen since 1973.
This room made do as lounge
And diner in one, square
Utilitarian, lighting dimmed
And of all this no more
Than the size of
The God of Moths’ thumbs.
Your mother kept your space
At a table where I now sat;
Surrounded by plastic, mica,
Nothing had changed
In the seven sharp years
Since you’d gone to the shops.

Though the case had gone cold
And closed many moons ago,
Your mother was seeking a groom;
She proselyted about you and I,
Showed me her photographs of you
While saying brown was all
She could afford for your attire
To survive in this bleak room.
She treated you like an exhibit
In a catalogue of stones.
I noticed your smile before
Anything else about your beauty,
Your smile illuminated your face
Like unending tapers in life’s
Chapel while I ate her dim sum.
Here you attended a service,
Here you turned towards the sun.
I assured your mother I would
Meet you on the steps outside
The limestone church, much like a
Place of worship I visited once
In Podgorica, with plain
Outer walls, but the inside
Shimmered in pure gold.

Before that could happen
The wheel turned with its own
Warping thaws of justice,
And away I would spin
Above the colours and
The numbers in red,
To God only knows where,
Destination’s only certainty
Will be you and me apart.

Damage

The damage in you
Transfused
In to damage in me,
I tried to escape
But with all the wrong keys
On my wrist, those tools
Warped in to convoluted tubes
With familial glues filled,
So I fumbled and tripped,
Fell in to the sea,
Just as you fell
Just before me.

This, my children,
You will write about me;
You’ll see strangers in photos
Yet know how they leave.
Decisions long lost
In the thickening mist,
Abandoned our trawlers
To shellfish and rust
Like a ghost’s fingertips,
Difficult to defend,
Impossible to resist
Between the curve of the earth
So high and blue it’s absurd,
And a sandy lane’s dust,
Simple and deceptive as
A molten ring, a goodnight touch,
There is so little remaining
Between what’s left of us.

In another dimension I dreamt
Of coins falling from the sky.
I woke up the next morning
To find eight on my eyes.

Find your own way,
On yourself now depend;
Feed your soul on life’s poems,
Pull the tubes from descendents
With nothing left to lend, or give,
Hear my words echo through:
Resist, resist, resist.

Haiku #569 – #574

569.

There’s no need, dismayed,
I guess I was always this way.
Inevitably,

570.

You used to say,
As inevitable as
Ice, December lake,

571.

Before cracks appeared.
Seven unopened presents,
One a year I bought.

572.

A jigsaw puzzle
Of scenes I don’t recognise,
With a missing piece.

573.

It’s ok, don’t say it,
I know when I’m wallowing
See it in my veins.

574.

I’ll not lose an arm;
My three existential limbs
I’ve already lost.