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.

Communion

Rain within rain within rainfall,
As snow that once thawed
Within picturesque scenes
In a bauble unbroken
In cold winter dreams,
Inside a teardrop forests find,
A teardrop containing final skies
And faint heartbeat.

No more the fish,
No more the season,
An old empty dish
Devoid of all reason.
The rain became snow,
Water to ice,
Reverse upward cats
And dogs within mice;
Umbrellas my friends and
The looseness of frogs,
All it takes for an ending
Is to lift up the fog.

Forest Lodge

The past is a lonely huntsman
Walking on shards of ice,
Those sharper endings present,
How winter ways entice.

I found a dampening cabin
Beyond that gated path;
I couldn’t explain what happened;
I could not find a start.

But whatever you might imagine,
The truth would bruise your heart,
The curtains dank in ambers,
Shelves all empty and dark.

A sign above the doorway,
Inscriptions fading in moss,
I read my name spelt backwards
And woke into my loss.

Billings

Tarmacadam cracks
Observed from above,
Parallel lines
And tattooed loves.

Even amateurs might spot
The starless ones
Down a garden path,
For they do not yawn

When others yawn,
They do not laugh
When others laugh
And empty all the aquaducts.

These then, their heels,
Photograph albums,
Lever arch and plastic meals,
Dog collar minus a dog,

Throat had somehow
Caught a frog,
Newspaper memories
Join the dots.

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.

Passerine

To a fetlock’s height on unicorns
One Sunday morning you were born,
Weaned by a mother who hung her best dress
Beneath a seasoned turkey breast.
Snowdrift, westward, soon apart,
No sewing kit stitches a cold broken heart.

A blue tit warbling I once heard
On the crooked, downhill turf;
Later, I could not account to myself
For blood on my fingers,
Five or six feathers in my heart
And other forms of Cubist art;
Blue eye of my needle
Where the downy snow starts,
Returning home,
Her song in my chest,
To an empty bath.

Ode To Hurt

We cannot just close off hurt;
This is as absurd as trying to cram
An already full cupboard
With one too many of multiple toys
Destined to remain unplayed,
A little mouldy here, a little frayed
Around the ears. For hurt
Is always stronger for us,
And eventually, as inevitably
As fir cones on a forest floor,
The cupboard doors open
Not with an announcement,
Not with a crash of cymbals and drums,
But a quiet undoing in the night,
So that on awaking, everything,
Everything has departed the mouth
Of that destitute space,
And there is nothing left to say.

This is why we watch each other
From across an indifferent room
Where strangers are in a hiatus,
We may as well be further away.
No, it is better to leave these remains
And sometime purchases from shops
Now closed, where people worked
Who now are dead, and businesses,
And love, oh how we live,
Where living brings an end to death,
But hurt there, dressed and exhaling,
Looks at itself in a mirror, and begins.