Neon Dwarf Fish Tank Blues

There’s little nutritional
In minds of a fish,
Yet I too am moved
When you enter the room.
Uncontrollable impulse,
Electrolyte charge,
I ceaselessly swim
With a fast-beating heart.
Observing with eyes
Slight as a pin,
The grace of a human,
We’re closer within.

If I could say something
While beauty floats by,
My mouth would be filled
With chlorine and sighs.
Doomed only to witness
Your unlaced finesse,
As you brew a new coffee
And turn on a switch.
I died on your gravel,
I died on the lawn;
The soul’s multicoloured,
Alone I’m reborn.

Innings

All this time I’ve been sinning,

an unknown will was winning
I wreathe my own self with regret.

It was ever this way, beginning
To end, where the word innings
Is used by Englishmen in debt

To euphemisms, tongue-pinning;
Now their relevance is thinning,
Notes on a plummeting language.

When they say ‘ he had a good innings‘,
This means dutybound death’s spinning
Through the roof of our anguish.

Yellowfin bellies, sashimi de-finning,
Abbatoir beating-belts are skinning
But sin is how I’m scarred by a knife.

All this time, ever since my sinning,
That devil down there may be grinning,
My inheritance is only my life.


Canto Dell’aragosta

They used to eat lobsters here,
Before beginning the end of ends;
In restaurants, on promenades or piers
Which have since all disappeared –
Overlooking the Papal Bay of Scampi
Patés of blue tomalley.

Fresh from the sea, picked from a pot,
Seasoned with salt for a rich polyglot;
Suspended in freezers, icy blocks,
They tied the pincers, joined the dots;
As he played with his ring
He lied to his wife that his lover had gone.

A lobster with one claw or less is named
A Cull, in Maine and the eastern seaboard.
The male transfers sperm through its legs,
The red is the red of the roe;
We breathe through our gills
Through the gaps in our toes.

Once we have extinguished all nature,
Where will dharma and karma take us?
My hands are changing before me,
My body will soon have its telson.
I will adapt to a life on dark distant beds,
Before I am speared, for fatter men fed.

Ode To A Garden Snail, Part 2

Little snail,
Evening journey,
You made it so far;
Will you one day
Reach a yard in to
Something like me?

If you have to,
And I hope you may do,
I am sorry now
For inevitably what
You must go through;
Blackbird beak,

Your shell will leak,
The soil below takes
Its toll. We will
Exchange in time
Our pace, our hearts.
Just keep in mind

And keep your guard,
For there are magpies,
There are sparrows
Who’ll tear you apart;
Stay steady young snail,
You’ll do better by far.

Haiku #550 – #554

550.

July downpour, and
My neighbours are jet washing
The empty bins.

551.

Inexplicable
Feelings towards these people.
I am a stranger.

552.

I saved a spider
Today; may it be enough
To karmically

553.

Repair me, before
It’s too late, if I spared a
Thousand dark spiders;

554.

Because I worry
These days that I am beyond
Saving, regardless.

 

Heaven Lake

Recurring dream,
Sent in advance
On the saddles of geese
To an ancient land
Where reincarnation
Is taking place.

Repatriating me
Tentatively, years
Before the shift,
Like a preview for
Audiences to a film
In a cinema
They may never frequent.

Scenes lack chronology;
It was sold to these people
I do not know as
A route for tourists,
But the nation’s mask
Slipped and I knew then
Of poverty and deceit.

Fields beyond
The spying sedge
Divulged soils
Barren and as red
As ever a Martian rover
Beamed back by satellite link;
Yet it did not go unnoticed,
How villagers were forced
To rake and till
That seedless, empty
Former lake.

I broke away from the tour
Just before a torturing place
Disguised as security checks;
I ran uphill, a country lane,
At the summit I found two houses
Built in an odd representation
Of Western architecture.
An elderly woman departing one
Looked into my soul with
A purpose beyond divining
And said ‘we are not allowed
To converse in this space,
It is frowned upon, and you
Could be arrested, especially
Once they hear your accent
Which I recognise from Boston,
Massachusetts‘. I was nonplussed,
For am I not clearly from a small
And stateless island?

I made my way downhill, through
Living rooms filled with shifting
People and weird toys. Finally
Arriving back at the hotel
I understood these protocols,
You cannot look at the locals,
You cannot engage in dialogue
According to the ubiquitous
Signage in red and white,
They are trained to melt away
When the Western ones walk by,
Our suitcases as curious to
These servants and obedient managers
Who are sometimes shot
In secret locations, in forests,
For reasons counterfeited
And approved, rubber stamped,
As curious as we found their
Customs and their dress, their
Acquiescence to their fate.

I rushed to catch up with my group
Queuing for an airport coach,
A final check of passports,
A glimpse of army patrols,
An overwhelming sense, relief!,
Beyond the controlling sleep
To arrive back safely in mornings
Where I know of choice and loss
And love and grief. I stretched
Out of bed, showered,
Combed my post-pandemic
Longer hair, reached for my phone
Where nightly it charges, but
My phone, like all my
Karmic chances,
Had disappeared.