Ode To A Long-lost Dead Friend

Where did you go, Joanna?
And where do they sing Hosanna,
Or are we all on mute.

And the relatives who cared –
In the works they put a spanner.
I just wish the world was kinder

And that one day I might find her,
A resident of some suburb
In the golden ziggurats.

Never A Grandfather

I do not know your age,
Or rather, what your age would be
And all that now to me would mean,
If you were here, alive somehow.
Seventy-four, or seventy-three;
Some people once remarked
That you looked a lot like me.

You neglected every milestone
Beyond your event horizon’s beak
At world’s edge;
Never seen a sunset,
Just an endless bleak and
Ghastly eyeless glass waterfall,
Like a flea-infested mere black hole,
Full of gassy gravity
And its own invested energy.

I disowned you years ago,
Of course, and consequence;
(I thought you should know);
The silences, interruptions
In faith and the quiet
Self-confidence
Derived from permanence,
The planets in their place
Are no more than dusty molecules.
Actions resonate, in blood,
In deoxyribonucleic bonds.
So much is invisible
To the naked eye,
Wouldn’t you say.

Your grandchildren,
Beautiful in their individual
Ignorances and unwrongs
Of your divestment
And your imposition undoing
Of scriptures, and your dance
With Fate, and behemoths
Devoid of any talent, yet
Too great for you
To contemplate too long;
They sing a new psalm
Cut from a brand new song;
Every birthday, yes,
Every marriage,
Every great-grandchild
In Life’s Great Carriage
You deprived yourself of,
Every candle blown out,
Every significant moment
Like neonatal visits
And yellow blankets knitted,
Like a despot overthrown
By populist senses of goodness;
And graduation mortar boards,
And then the inbetween minutes
And hours of simplistic wonder,
Blissfully ponder,
A trip to the beach,
A vanilla ice cream,
Pretence of a wizard,
A long Christmas list
And bedecked Christmas Tree.
Dreams of a gizzard
Are all that are left,
Dreams out of reach
For the deeply bereft.
Never a grandfather,
Never would die
In a world you created
Where mistruth resides
You outlive, outsurvive;
Never a grandfather,
Only a Dad,
Only Death’s Bride,
Only a Dad.




Escargatoire

A promenade of snails
And promises daily entailed,
Within life’s escargatoire
Resides a finer refuge
From the Summer hails.

Every season
Unseasonal,
We walk a mountain trail.
Those fine Autumn rains,
Appalachian;
More than mizzle,
Less than drizzle,
Somewhere blessed and inbetween.

Reminding me of times
When briefly I felt
Communion with my
Thalassic soul,
And saltwaters surrounding
That long-lost littoral shoal
Changed, in time,
Jurassic coast
Metamorphosed whole
From teeth into salves
And then what else
I’ll never know,
Fuel for other people’s dreams
And other people’s songs.

We gave the world away
To dancers and to singers,
But in the giving of our gift
We salsaed with the sinners.

It will not be so long
Before this Autumn’s gone;
Where do we go, love,
With all our homes eroded
In this unfathomable loss;
Where chances all expired
And the precipice is seen,
Who will build a northern spire
Where you and I once dreamed;
Of weather and of mountains
And snails in their desmene,
And who will put a cross atop
Our church beneath the Sea.

Bonsai

Memories shrink in my wash,
So the leaves, once verdant,

Become delicate and almost
Imperceptible, sometimes lost,

Yet nonetheless loved,
Nurtured and now as fresh

As when you placed my hands
On your hips and your obi

Slipped – I can’t remember
The music but I do remember

Your kiss, fleeting,
From where I fall recurringly.

These thoughts are the size
Of bonsai, ornamental,

Propagated, wired
To my wabi-sabi sense;

I walk through the forest
Of their sorrows then,

Counting steps to my death,
Diminutive, less than I was

Back then, when your kiss
Felt like bliss briefly lent.

A Statistician’s Dream

I dreamt about you last night.
I made a joke to see you smile,
Because it is your smile
And a thousand other views of you
Which captivate, satisfy and beguile
Well-trained professorial thoughts.
I said, I am a statistical outlier,
I tend to sleep on the floor.

Then, I awoke on my own once more.
Why is it any surprise that all I loved Would someday abscond or die,
The daily abhorred, for I have a curse
In my arm or the knot of my knees
And I cannot drain the source.
So I dream of you instead,
And let life run its course.

Alicia Also

Twenty years slipped
Since I last stretched
These pavements,
Hairs are the same
With less width
In the aching.
Four families moved
Through a house over there,
Its neatly squared garden
Where a fair woman fainted
And needed a sutre;
She relocated to Lincoln
And give birth to the ancient
Ways of the future.

The ghost house is there
On Precariousness Corner,
Windows all boarded,
Hoardings corroded,
The grass as grown over
As dreams of the homeless.
The children are children
Of those I grew up with,
But a good local ghost story
Is peerless and opened.
Schools expanded,
Red squirrels survived,
Ethnographic adoptions
But pine trees are always
The same and how they thrive.
The old lady who played an oboe
All through one winter
Is buried in our municipal way
Over the river, yet the oboe
Still has tunes to deliver.
Branches quivering in the breeze
Have unseen opposable fingertips
On musicians six feet deep.

Everyone here has new extensions,
Smartly paved driveways
And alfresco dimensions
In wicker and rattan;
The future transfused,
Indifferent, oblivious,
Anxieties gifted and brewed
As traits for the atheists
Whose numbers are swelling,
And bruised the religious
Whose numbers are telling.
Everyone has a disease we
Cannot see, which is that
Everyone steadfastly
Refuses to talk
To each other.

And there is the window
Where every weekend I’d rush
To see my neighbour Alicia,
Schoolboy crush,
Heartbeat in crisis,
Sufficient hormones to fill
The silver Cup of Dionysus;
Alicia also relocated,
This time to Bristol
Or Bournemouth or Weymouth,
And so I never took that one chance
To say something teenage and
Wishful. Alicia got married
And her children are older
Than I was back then,
Shy and less bold,
More innocent, yes.

Tuesdays, you can still inhale
The scent of soup drifting
From the east side factory,
Tomato or beef or oxtail tides;
Thursdays, winds change
And fish trawler residues blow
Over the town far and wide.
We drove there once to lay flowers
Where a nameless prostitute died.

All fixtures and fittings remain
Of memories kept for twenty years
Inside my mind’s shallow grave,
Yet while the world flew through
The universe delightful and bright,
I was left here, two decades behind.

An Old Panoramic Photograph

Let’s drive the coast road longways
And park at scenic views,
Though no sight there’s more beautiful
Than margins holding you.

I cannot visit shores again
For there’s too many blues,
Returning from my armchair here,
In reveries renewed.

Children today don’t use cameras,
They wouldn’t know what to do;
I still have your scent and sunglasses,
Each day closer to a truth.

Your smile could light the vista,
Your hair could tame the dew,
And though I’m frail, it’s not so cold,
When memory’s kindled by you.