Ode To Our Bed

You have your side’s tidyness,
My side’s still its usual mess.
If we swapped, I’d take time

To trace those crests and hollows
Where your resting shape resides,
Refill your empty cup of sorrows,

Folded clothes conformed
To your uncontested beauty,
Ready to be stored in drawers

Like confessions in a chapel,
Like reforming resurrections,
Routines diminish duty.

Middle night and middle storm,
I reached for where your milk was stored,
But darkly your side metamorphed

Before I realised, and with great design
The bed of life revolved once more,
Mechanics wheezed while agents yawned.

Now I’m trapped where blankets lied,
Transfixed by how I lived and died;
You wake, shower, prepare for work.

My Doppelgänger

A dozen dead-ends later
I found my better self,
Hiding in reflections,
Or somewhere on your shelf.

He blanked me at our café,
Your hand upon his arm;
He filled our box at Othello;
I hammered a theatre alarm.

Infused by choice and chances,
Gods have quirks of humour;
I did not know I’d been stolen
Until I read those rumours

In headlines in his grasp.
I hemorrhaged poems and songs,
He’s gone researching romance
And my cortège won’t be long.

First Finches

First finches having landed,
Found a suitable place to nest
In rooftiles’ gapped teeth.

Lichen gums, worn enamel,
A tap that can’t be turned off,
I live in a land of crow’s feet

And magpies as relentless as
Camels traversing Saharan
Landscapes. I remember beads,

Kaftans, strange dreams of
Otherworldly animals
Drinking from a sandy stream.

These finches did not know
The motives of crows; now
All I hear is a constant alarm

Like a monotone screech,
A warning, a rallying call to live,
Though their breasts may be

As small as young dwarf
Coconuts before they fall
On undiscovered islands.

Hymnal

My days ahead aren’t numbered
Just because of death;
My years are not for hymn boards,
The pages are not set;
My time is unencumbered,
I’ve lives to live ahead.

Clawing presumptive ends,
I’ve closed the dismal thread;
I threw away the herring bones,
I locked the empty chest.
I’ll join a flock and learn to fly,
If flight brings me to rest.

The Postman Always Knocks Thrice

A postman’s signature
Knock, three raps
And then another,
On the doorstep
A parcel’s born
And the coffee mugs
We ordered have arrived.
Underwhelming gift,
Little porcelain
Counter-intuitive
Surprises unsurprising,
For their smaller size,
With William Morris
Designs also seen on
Wallpapers, on rugs,
Are purposeful
Only for espressos,
Yet portrayed online
As substantial mugs.

With a greater global
Population, and less cocoa
Germination in Ghana
And the Ivory Coast,
Chocolate bars are half
The length they used to be,
Or even a third, in 1985,
Yet with the expense
Aligned to inflation
A hidden cost is greater.
They think we have not
Noticed, nor the momemt
When one day there may also
Be less milk in a pint.

Board games too, observed;
We played a game just
Yesterday where the stage
Back in the day felt
Expansive, with nuances
And details now long-lost,
Like ancient adverbs
In etymologies. And so
It is the same with politics,
A contraction and reduction
Of facts and elements
That seemed before to matter;
Was there ever a fabric
Of truth? And technologies
Engender a similar impact
On relationships and
Workplaces and families
And finances as everything
Condenses in to the will
Of a small belligerent
Minority, stars and planets
Swallowed fully into
Unforgiving black holes
Fuelled by testosterone.

The only advantage to me
Is if mid-passion you’d turn
In our near dotage
Cupping my wrinkled face
To say it’s not what it was Nick,
But seems a great deal less,
While robo-postmen
Knock three times downstairs
With smaller parcels again,
Commercialism minimising
Like inner Matryoshka dolls,
I would say definitively
Darling, nothing is the same
As when first we fell in love.

Foundry

These are men
Of the original furnaces,
Surrounded by sirens
And evolved machinery,
Overground miners
Of molten steel
Can feel unreal;
Hard hats, shifts,
Time cards and whistles,
Yellow painted railings,
Actors strutting
Like working class
Pennsylvanian
Rock stars on a
Stag night.
Billboards and pool tables,
An orthodoxy of
Beer bottles
And Pepsi adverts.
They wore tuxedos
In the evenings
And baseball caps
While you lay bleeding.
One of their colleagues
Lost a finger once
And a thumb,
But it was settled
Out of court.
What will we call stag nights
And hen nights
When there are no more
Of the extinguished
Smelting, fiery,
Delicate creatures,
And no more churches
For weddings,
And what would we name
A distant irreligious war
When you do not return;
Or should you do, then not
With the same fire
As you were founded with
Many years before.