A lioncub played with hyenas
When they laughed
At his pride;
And a cuttlefish caught in nets
When striving to retreat
Is poor man’s salmon disguise;
And a sparrowhawk’s
In the heat of the heart
Of a wasp nest demise;
These creatures died
With a startled sharpness
Keener than their births
And the girdle
Of this whole earth
In their eyes,
All are victims more to mankind
And man’s disease of language,
And man’s demeaning mind,
To subjugate, and classify;
Nature is nature’s intent alone,
There’s no greater or lesser divide
Than between you and I,
So I won’t be so shocked
When I rest my sore head
On an Edenless bed,
Aspic words preserve the lie.
There’s little nutritional
In minds of a fish,
Yet I too am moved
When you enter the room.
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.
All those car owners
Driving by, I did not know,
Before they too died.
I don’t understand.
Reapers, not the lost.
The local crows on fire
Were used as projectiles
Into the pit where the women
Would sit while a cleric
Determined the extent
Of their irreligiousness.
When I was a teenager
I made you a mixtape
On a TDK ferrite strip,
And if the tape chewed up
On your Walkman
We could fix it, with a pencil.
These are the same two worlds
But my hurt is displaced
For Asia, and Malala, and every
Other recepient of man-made
Injustice and medals of pain.
Mine is not the same, yet
The tape bobbed on the river.
Age is circular.
Being younger than before,
Only with more loss.
Walking into a room I do not recognise
For a reason I cannot remember,
People reach out to touch me
But my hope has been dismembered
By the wild dogs of life,
So I stare blankly, as vacant
As a motel closed for the winter,
Or at least the sign said so but the owners never came back,
Or as a gas station without any fuel,
Or as the cold grey body we found
As children, we were ten years old,
On the towpath, exsanguinated, nameless,
Our parents reported the incident to the police
But by the time the constables arrived
The body had disappeared;
They asked me for more details,
The officer holding his notepad and pen
Seemed to me at that time
Like the authority of a different god
Trapped in the daily mess of men,
I didn’t know that gods would agitatedly tap their pens on standard issue pads,
But he did; and I remember that it had
A royal crest imprinted on each page;
The pen was green, I thought it odd,
Green ink, green the colour of youth
And nature and sage and envy and see
Therein how nature’s complexities and miracles
Uses colours in its constant endless symphonies
While man dilutes it to his needs and numbers,
The colour of greed,
The colour of prisoners’ uniforms
In the prison between three rivers
Where they outsourced all the provisions
And now the prisoners bleed green blood when they’re rioting;
The colour of one pound notes which no longer exist but which inflation determines you can purchase at a much greater price these days using those websites this man in the room uses on his portable screen;
Yes, green ink from a green pen;
A pen, that was what I came into this room for,
In the middle of nowhere I know any more,
Filled with strangers who scare me and persist in saying
That everything will be alright
Whilst I overheard one say I didn’t have long left to be alive and they had better think about preparations and the transfer of her finances into their account
As they poured another glass of wine;
And I seized that pen, gripped with every fibre of senescent strength that I have left,
And wrote on a post-it note in front of me,
Black ink more comforting I should say,
And handed it to that man, (my hands have these lesions),
Who read it with the same sighs
That is said to be locked in the western cliffs,
And crumpled it up and said with the tone
Of a suspicious alibi
We don’t know what you came in here for either, mother,
And those were the last words I remembered and wrote down,
In a diary no-one will be reading,
While a cat with orange fur wails outside
Another room I entered
For no good reason.