Haiku #701

701.

Should men have menses,
I said now, this world would be
A different place.

Ballad Of The Lame Duck

We travelled together
To a country pub,
Twice down the lane
And called ‘The Lame Duck‘.
Hillsides abounded,
You could roll Cheddar downward,
Seats of stone
Beside summer-westward.
The riverlet rilled,
Smells from the grill,
A rusty sign twinged
With sounds of relief
As we entered a darkness
Devoid of belief.

On your thumb you twisted
An emerald ring,
And down in my heart
I heard your soul sing
Songs of sufficiency,
Songs of lament,
Funerary orations
Deeds, necessary, and
Seed preparations,
Epitaphios Logos,
Stored within an amulet.
You turned to me and slowly said
Do not be sad that I am dead;
An eye for an eye,
A tooth for a bed,
Cat got my tongue
A seventh judge said.

Many more crossed
The same riverbed
Before you stepped into
The last wildnerness.
Wide expanses,
Better unsaid,
I roamed alone
And into the red.

Twelfth Man

Stadia empty,
Thousands of seats,
Just like Maymana’s,
They hanged
Oppositions by
The skin of
Their teeth.
Bleachers for ghosts,
Capitalists disrobed,
Revealing themselves,
En masse opportunists
Inadvertantly proving
Forks in their mouths.
They used to say
Your lungs must swell
With tribal songs,
Partisan songs,
Forgotten origins,
Often abusive,
Made bold by a throng;
If you could buy
Magazines on matchday
That would certainly help
The eleven along.

When your team’s
In trouble, you’re a
Wind at their backs,
Oxygen as thick
As an Aeolian god’s
In their muscles.
They said ‘you are
The difference’,
Fine margins, they said,
Alongside dietary carbon,
Training regimes
And abstinence;
We created the seams,
Winnings and loss,
They would have you
Treat brothers
As starving stray dogs
If this prevented
A punt or a shot.

Artificial sounds
Abound around
The groundsman’s turf,
A theory from executives
No less, God Bless,
Who should have greater
Concerns to consider
Than how audiences
With flexible payment
Plans, glued at home,
Might feel more at ease
And comfortable, more
Palatable, like watching
A weather forecast
Before hangings
With popcorn.

Teams do not need
A twelfth man
When a crowd can
Be appropriated.
It’s another illusion,
Another corporate
Wolf disguised by
Their own myths;
They’ve taken all
Life’s purities,
Alchemied to
Monied dross.

Recordings of crowds!
Dictators do something
Similar, and photoshop
Inaugural scenes of
Huge adoring numbers,
Thin as a toupe turned
As thick as my hair in
Sixteen weeks
Of pandemic.
Recordings yes,
From before the
Outbreak,
Delirium, for a ball
In a net or between
Two sticks
They did not see
By eleven men
They had not met.

So if I extend this
Principle as only
Poets are able,
What else are we told
In this abstract
Lonely world must
Make a difference,
(Until we thrust and
Pour our pennies and
Our hopes down the
Open throats of those
Made rich by our
Poverty of thought,
Of those constructs
We would have worn
A shirt for, would
Vote in their flags
And sworn allegiance,
Would sometimes see
Our sons die before
Their cause, buried in a
Small and unkempt
Cemetery on the hill
Behind our village;
And yet, when all’s
Peeled back like
A dead girl’s eyelids,
Sometimes with time,
Sometimes by cynics,
Stripped, laid bare,
Rabbits dressed as hares
With nothing significant
In their stomachs),
But which instead
Mattered not once
Through heaven’s
Grafted hours
Nor the grace of
Earthly minutes.

Exfoliant

Harm’s made in many molecular shapes,
When we were younger, we stood in its way;
Before cats could taunt, nine lives became drapes,
Rabbits’ fecundity taken away.
Orders received, burnt twice after reading,
Sweltering thoughts of factories in May;
Sweat like small bombs on bleached floors were bleeding,
Wishbones of Peace on a warm metal tray.
The harm in life is always organic,
Find antidotes in your heart’s poetry;
Hoods malfunctioned, contagions of panic,
Where organs once authored, there’s irony.
Untold men died, several years after;
Deprived of love, natural as laughter.

Manifesto Poem

I am going to write
From my veins
Until paramedics
And care assistants
And teachers
And anyone
And everyone
Who lives
With goodness within
And compassion,
And moral compasses,
Are paid the same
As politicians
And financiers,
As celebrities
And over-inflated
Sportspeople who
Warm their hands
At the braziers
Where merchants burn
The souls of nations.
We will puncture those
Inflated bladder-balls,
For life is filled
With a natural appetite
To reach for ways
Beyond their devices,
Beyond the doctrines
Designed by desire
And ego, beyond
You and I as two
Distinct entities,
For if politics
And those other
Primacies are
Institutions for Lies,
Institutionalised
By their own nightmares,
Then I am the vein,
And I am the peace
To undo deceit,
I am the pen
To re-write
The contracts
And promises failed
By self-serving men.

Fourth Plinth

I don’t know where I stand
On plinths. The unabashed
Alabaster-eyelashed
Anti-abolitonists may be
Rightly pulled off by their
Victorian marble cleats,
Yanked into prostrate
Positions in the street,
Through the arches
Celebrating ancient
Atrocities, hauled on
Rattling oaken logs
Like dismantled henges
And pyramid schemes, to be
Tossed with appropriate
Ceremonies in to acidities
Within the English Channel
Or from Outer Hebridean rifts.
The sea-bed will be their
Stateless graveyard, no loaded
Roses for them or confetti,
Just blind crustaceans
Tapping the cracked wizardry
Of stonemasonry; bridge of
A nose, a furrowed brow;
Dichoptic sights gouged out
Amid the thaws somehow,
Great geological ages,
Finding their way
These days with eyes
In their claws and their
Claws in their mouths.

I’m finding my stride, my feet.
I’ll never see a statue carved
To memorialise my achievements
Lacking, or phrased
Substantively,
My beautiful failures,
Unless statues in future
Are chiseled (as carefully
As Rodin’s amanuenses
Incisioned with the diligence
Of gastrointestinal surgery)
For honouring cleaning chores
And actions self-defeating.
I for one am glad and pleased,
As judging by societal
Algorithms there would be
Crowds burning books
A hundred years beyond me,
Their pages filled with
Wondrous stories and twists
And prophesies and myths,
All on a pyre
For politics.

But while we lead the
World in protests without
Achieving change, unless by
Change I am writing accounts
About the people I can see
Being worse off,
Parents with less wages,
Children with less
Developmental learning stages
And universities mastering
Navel-gazing, will they also
Demolish or recycle,
(I don’t mind, either),
Statues in bronze and
Verdigris which pepper
Parks and colleges, (some are
Busts, let’s not forget),
Of long-dead men who
Exemplified jingoism, or
The rapists of indigenous
Lands and speech,
The million bigots
Who suppressed an entire
Gender no less for centuries,
Or justifiers of war,
Their bellies made fat
From bellicosity and
Concentration camps.

Then at last, perhaps,
The Lions of Trafalgar
Will collapse and sink,
For those discontented animals
Chased and ate helpless
Gazelles and the elusive
Blue duikers of Botswanan fables,
While the gazelles and gnus
Expressed their gratitude
From within the depths of
Their oppressors’ stomachs,
Their horns on dining tables.