Once Or Twice

A deeper life,
An appropriate life,
Days mixed like blends
In Chinese Five Spice.

A meaningful life,
Enriching life,
All sounds entincing
If once, or twice.

Repeated as dreams
Repeat these beating
Hearts, our living surf,
But diving deeply

Only serves for purposes
Of strange, unusual shapes
And species, brings up
Forms untouched by rain

Or sleet or snow on my
Tongue, then leaves me
With a pressurised head,
And a moment of hurt.

Future Reminiscence

We reminisced
Like indistinctly
Separated lovers,
Carefully unwrapping
Other people’s memories,
Other people’s bliss.
Remember when our hair
Fashioned in newly shared
Romantic styles
With kanzashi propping
We would later forgive,
Shoppers made from glass
Reflecting the market
Would stare, open-mouthed
If to be so avant-garde
Lately had we dared.

Before we earned
Our contrasting directions
We understood much less,
There was no compendium
For the sentience
Of stones at the summit
Of mountains dressed
In red, and unexposed
To prejudice like silt’s
Accumulations
In gall bladders
And appendices,
Or the forty wars
They ordered, keeping
Us occupied long after
The conflicts and
Armaments
Had disappeared,
Parboiling three or
Four pandemics,
Six or seven daughters;
They mansplained
Impossible are
Any further losses,
Like fathers returning from
The Boer only to see
Their sons conscripted
In 1914. The reason
Stages are loved by
Adventists, confutators
And politicians,
The pamphleteers
And the musicians,
Teachers and priests,
Is there the congregations
Hear messages as though
Not for the masses
But for individuals
Directly injected,
A form of ancient
Alchemy. You always
Said tread carefully
Through the verbosity
Of men on podiums.
I did not know then
All that you meant,
But now, I understand
Suffering and love.

You honky-tonked
Your way through the blues
While we flirted through
Millennia, where
Unfulfilled
Prophesies
Of computer-generated
Apocalypses
Seem somehow preferable
To the hardships
Of being kept apart
From you. We endured
Obscene tortures
On our screens,
Aeroplanes burning,
Dossiers deserving
Nobel Prizes
For turning what existed
Into what did not,
Rainforests made way
For shampoo and
Doughnuts sprinkled
With hundreds
And thousands of years;
Forget-me-nots lost,
We tied a bonding knot
Where we might meet
And reminisce again,
Holding hands across
Our thoughts and the
Continuums
Of space and time,
Appalled by the myths
Brewing the next
Holocaust,
Fusing and feeding
The next apocalypse.

Valedictorian

How we suffer now from adventures
Both fantastic and more frivolous
Of our Nokken-locked forebearers;
Their revelling days of fortune and fray
Without thoughts for future seafarers;
Their consanguineous prayers all spared
For the vainglory of giant squid battles.
The Pompeiian partisan audience bayed
For gory blood-letting stages, and rattles
Through cattle wagons reverberating;
Woodstock, hemlock, sixty-eight,
All as if just yesterday;
Cavaliers hounding Roundhead saddles
Built bridges to last on sweetcorn
And apples. I looked in the cupboards
For a jar of Spanish marmalade
But every cupboard is stripped
And how they stare back, a ghastly stare
Like a stray dog’s dead eye socket
Devoid of its optic organ.
The entertainment of war endured
And the wars of lasting distractions;
Blessed were you to feel the blue sea,
But you left no more for her or for me.
Rest well within your heavenly shelter,
In bed your daughter, the Future, swelters;
This is your valedictory speech now failing
It trails from Paris to the pier at Grayling,
I wish her brave sailors would scatter and seek
The land where no more mothers are wailing.