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.
The moon burned, we bled sympathies
For perpetrators, not the victims in blue;
Producers spewing documentaries
Given a sentence or two.
A fish becomes amphibious
When the new lot beat their wings;
No one else knows innocence,
Toothlessly he sings.
Tell me there are bronze scales still,
Should I list what they did and do,
The dead are photographs on a windowsill,
While the assailing say their voice is true.
They put me in the hollow trunk,
Roadside-dumped me far from home;
They raped me in the second bunk,
I mapped the sites in a honeycomb.
They extracted my teeth,
Converted the legends we rest underneath,
Made palatable into senescence.
Brazier smoke, unspooling a roebuck,
Parole will be kind for the killers;
A pick-up truck, and out of luck;
Beyond the grid live caterpillars
Gorging purple thistle.
Fist-pumps, fireflies in a lamplight,
A night without edge is nonfissile,
Losses form a cancerous white.
A story is born with two sides, a digon;
Truth abstains, falsehood flashes incisors;
Stay away from the bar, creek and siphon,
Unwatched adverts employ fewer divers.
Here is a new list
From your index-loving
This inexhaustive catalogue
With an unflinching focus on
My losses; losses I could not resist.
What else would I do with my pigment?
There are many matters
For my conservationists
To tell their grandchildren
Before we forget
What we have expunged
In recent years,
Which incidentally I confess
Is as long as the hex
Held me in its torpidness.
In no particular order then:
Self-moderation in politics,
VHS and compact discs,
Car tax certificates and
The Lust of Velologists;
Yes, things which used to exist,
Dreams of archaeologists,
Ozone, arctic shelf,
All trust in the famous
And icons with wealth,
West African Black and
Northern White Rhinos.
There was a success
Eradicating viruses, true,
Such as Smallpox, and Polio,
Serendipity found only in libraries,
And the accurate use of apostrophes,
Diplomacy and statesmanship;
Any atomized item to furnish the list
May some day yet resurface;
If as with vinyl it’s retro,
If DNA’s injected it’s revivalist;
An internet without the bots
Half or more of the trafficking bits;
Chocolate bars in larger parts,
Justifiable war, and any peace.
Innocence fled having witnessed
How Cupinharós were mistreated,
Faith soon followed for people
Who lived, and loved,
At Srebenica and Badajoz,
Mosul, my neighbour next;
Reading for pleasure by daughters
And the use of offline maps;
Post from someone expressing
Affection and kindness, instead of bland
Unlicked into envelopes the colour
Of a lizard’s vomit,
Words now used and always wanting;
Lastly, for now, I will finish
With ethics and veracity
Where the investigatory power
Buried a woman, then truth,
On a small Mediterranean island,
Where a car exploded one summer.
A priestly patrician without congregation
Surveyed vacant pews from a pulpit,
The last of the lay-folk had faded away,
No longer a nation of pilgrims.
He advertised Matins where nobody read,
He preferred Vulgate Latin to English.
Legionella was rife in the presbytery,
The votive was all but extinguished.
He blew away dust from a hymnal,
The hymn-board held still 3-1-2;
An offertory plate with a mildew fate,
Jerusalem was not rebuilt.
Ivy is choking the chancel,
The first diocese twelve numbered.
There was a day when prayers ended at Karnak,
An unoccupied altar’s in slumber.
I would trade this whole state
If we could repatriate
At our garden, that last summer.
You cultivated like plump green thumbs
Runner beans into gloved fingers,
Suspended on wicker canes.
In a parasol’s shade
We shared lemon tea and bread, home-made;
Your lawnmower was almost Edwardian.
Across the brook beyond the fence
Courting wood pigeons lament,
An embankment’s foliage is wild and dense
And contrasting with your borders where
Ornamental plants and flowers abundantly
Bloom; blue geraniums and hyacinths too.
Before this bungalow was built
There once was here an acre of orchards;
I cannot remember the last letter you posted.
I did not want to ever leave;
My soul was commandeered,
And the more I long to return
The further you are from here.
For thirty years reverse the planets,
Find the place in the universe
Where that moment still exists,
Over scones and cream for a moment we kissed,
And where my soul still alone inhabits.