Ode To A Parking Lot

All our loved people,
Indelible, said clearly,
In my thirteenth sonnet,
(Did you read it?
I haven’t, I imagined you
Subtly and too kindly said…)
Each incredible, unique,
Who for whatsoever reasons
Are in parking lots
Of businesses which
In this moment are as
Unrealisable and mythical
As Pegasuses appearing
In supermarket aisles
On the left, hooves heard
Between the edamame beans
And the deeply bereft,
Or Orion’s coordinates,
Illuminated blue in new
Speedometer needle sets,
With your one head
In your two beautiful hands,
I am with you all
Each and every one
In our millions, our army
Of sadness, sorrowful troughs,
Because I too am that moment,
And I learned to overcome,
And when I overcame
I owed it for you,
As a penance, at cost;
I bleed and I bled,
My fervent words for your love.

I became through with a world
Designed by others
Into which I was buffeted
By their Shannon and
Fastnet blustering rough.

Do you remember
When things mattered,
Before they feigned
And they flattered.
I cannot remember a thing,
My life’s no more certain
Than a butterfly wing,
But in a butterfly’s wing
Is the sting in the sin
Of all that matters
And entertains.

Some drive away, hands on the wheel,
Some go on to thrive
And some to steal;
But one or two don’t, in the car
Or the woods, and I stay
With those love, the misunderstood,
And that’s why when it comes
To paychecks, a glance,
I’m not with your goodness,
For I left all that time
With the dead in a trance.

Thirteenth Sonnet

We’re as fixed as anything else in heaven,
You can’t use douters on black holes or stars;
Why try placing Cornwall east of Devon,
We’re constant as Phobos orbiting Mars.
No end to hearings heard by eleven
Coroner cloud-gods in black cortège cars;
Bones have feelings, and our bread will leaven,
Our teeth cut with stuff from atomised scars.
See these bones, barely ossified rocks,
Set in their place by the Goddess of Clocks,
Ligaments moulded millennial rocks;
Even space can’t contain these lost aftershocks.
When leaving life to imagining death
We demean depth from our one daily breath.

God Of Kindness

Sometimes the sky seems as wide
And big as my sadness.

Sometimes I wonder how it was Permissible for you to step out,

While I was stored within a moment.
Sometimes I wish I was something else,

Less than my cobbled wheezy-sided,
Indulgent, obsessive false-comparison self,

And that’s just the better half
Of my kernel. On the other side,

A spider’s on my eyelids;
A paperweight, a floating shelf.

If I was a god of kindness,
By degrees I doubt it would help,

I’d be a god of putting things off
Instead, and drinking tea,

A god of missing you,
The goddess of missing me.

How can I follow my love’s path,
When there is no path to see.

An Elegy

The fallen ones do return, Marina,
With many roads to death, one exit;
Restored in rosemary and verbena,
They’d laugh at Pandemics and Brexit.

You see, nothing will change or fade,
Wheelwright’s brand humanity,
Where only wheels were ever made
For conveying misery.

Your golden hair was poet’s fire,
Verses like arson, exploding malpractice;
I could not disrobe the clothing of liars
The way you exposed them, a female Atlas

Condemned to bear a crate
Of man’s rotting apples, the weight
And the shape of a globe. Your gate
Wanted oiling, your river in spate.

So I thought again of my childhood,
Suppression is more than state-welded;
It spores like moss and ferns in the wood
Until darkness and sunlight are melded.

I rode a bike like a horse into battle,
The driveway my Sevastopol,
My pen’s an unsheathed sabre’s rattle,
Through fields of rye for alcohol

Fermented, how adulthood lamented
For the limits and shackles it made itself;
Carefully the state had creatives cemented;
Two decades later, your book’s on the shelf.

I am blessed, I could escape as matter stands,
I hope to never know the pressures
Which exist in the mind and the hands
Of wheat in the wake of the threshers.

Use powerful words to sentence strife,
Fly me, poets, to Yelabuga; 1941;
Let’s bring a poet back to life,
Let’s fill old age with her song.

 

Half-Life

Even now, I remember well the half-hatched ordeals
Of that autumnal evening; beginning not with
Someone’s finding of the student,
(Not a friend, but a caretaker or cleaner),

And then the conjectures revolving into rumours,
Around the cold corridors of dormitories;
And again, the next day, nameless officers confirm and
Light up a truth which quickly dissolves

Like a tooth in a tumour, or a blinking eye
In the dark damp womb of our creations. Self-stopped
Like half a clock at the 19th hour,
Nothing more to absorb, confused, alone.

It did not begin when some other freshers planted candles
With a different future’s blossom, some flowers, some cards
Expressing half-life-sorrows, blocks of bewilderment
For a young man they neither addressed nor uncovered.

Twenty-two years have now slipped through that noose,
Twenty-two years of what-ifs and the bruises and confusion
Which do not diminish in those poor parental hearts,
A dominion where dear grandchildren are not born,

Where the extremities of life contract and reduce,
Where no one cries from their jaws for sadder times and joys,
Where a disease tore into graduation photographs and
Glasses of champagne once filled, left altogether untouched;

A thesis which unlocked the shift and pulleys of the universe
Unpublished; and an unmarried wife who wed her lesser wish,
(Died ten years later at his hands, discovered there in plastic bags
By tracker dogs, over the hills at Nightingale Woods).

Decades later, a specific chair was not moved into
A specific space at a celebration of alumni as they gobble port
And profiteroles in prestigious campus chambers,
Because no one there remembered, despite those dreams

Which govern and gnaw, without a name there is no lore,
They shifted on their feet, exchanging nouns and verbs,
They noticed people who whetted their mouths
Eating grapes and canapes in shades of green and purple.

No, it started many lives before, when someone somewhere
Did not say a vital word, a necessary term, a contract with Life
Left unassigned, unrehearsed, over and over until unlearnt.
Outside, Australia is burning.

And so we hurtle on, now unrepentant exiles of that time,
Post-internet, where anything seems accessible,
We stand still in illusions of luminous currents,
In the vacuum of chronically forgetful republics.