V.111

After a propagating night
on the space ship, the undulate
light and ambient bleeps and bloops
punctuated by our moaning –

A faint smile came up behind me
I engaged my boosters. Fleeing,
but the smile was fast. It could swing
across clouds on its curved wing-span

I used all the scant resources
of my mind to avoid it, first
thinking of everything I’d done
and nebulas of betterness

Then, just dwelling with the panic.
It wasn’t enough. The smile hit
and my dark vessel exploded
with an unassuming shockwave

and a cloud of steam and glitter
(gold glitter, with small silver hearts)
erupted, and I was falling –
the landscape of the alien

calmness reached across horizons
as the smile consumed me, fodder
for the ancient and bitter god
that wants me to be happy. damn

V.108 Moth, after Rebecca Elson

Sometimes something someone says (light
of the morning through the canvas,
warmth of bed and skin) fails to hold
and the problem deepens, and fire

holding me, like a massive frog,
begins to crisp the edges of
my mind. Don’t worry, this one has
a good ending, a small firework

let off in a quiet district,
a single man, gathered to watch,
in the November fog. Happy,
watching the fire-flower unfurl –

a man who has been reborn, fire
leaping into the past, gently
to wrap its warm palm around him,
and give him life again, a chance

for a son, a friend, a wife
to ask, why. That happy. Silence
falls upon me apart from sobs
and whimpers which I cannot place

(they’re mine) (I make them whilst I think)
(think through this problem we have posed)
(you could say, like a moth with a flame,
your brightness has me befuzzled)

V.106

And the hand stitched top you wear
and the thin cotton bag with leaves
and the boots with the yellow thread
and the twisted rings in your ears

And the velvet skirt, its crossed legs
and the top of your pale shoulder
and the nose ring on the pink skin
and the golden field within you

which is also all around you
and there is another person
for whom I would write this poem
but to do so would be a sin

So I have chosen you, my darling
in the queue for the walled garden.
I would walk to an old music
and blag my way through a doorway

to sit with you on the felt seats
as a band rehearses. Listen,
until the steward kicks us out
we can hold hands and whisper things

Let’s buy a memorial bench
and people will murmur our names
with sadness as we run across
some sand, skimming laughs off the waves

V.105 Loss

Simone Biles dances on the beam
and time is waiting for something
Time leans on us, and our actions
are heavy under it. To come

and drink the steeping tea, and talk
or pass the time in myriad.
Years go by in minutes, seconds
flashes of fire along a fuse

a dark cardboard twist to ignite
nothing. The blank air, its thinking,
delays us. And here is the knock
upon glass, at the door. Or bell

ringing out, as Guan Chenchen
stumbles into the Chinese flag.
And truly the most intimate
subjects are the hardest to reign,

to string into a net they cut.
That we balk at the idea
of putting fingers to the keys.
There is so much dead energy

cracking and cascading in us
Oh what a strange day it has been
as the brown sky receives a bronze
as the night wears on, and the night

V.104 Cinemagoing

Seagulls plot arcs over the door
over the hot cars. Here memory
is so thick it feels like human
history has culminated

Pearl and Dean a mythologic
aspect. Kids leapfrog the bollards
like I once did, like I know my
kin will manage to do again

for the end of times has no grip
in ideas that build themselves here
Like popcorn in its cabinet –
which is hot with old emotion

Or the tickets which are paragon
of what exchange could be – given
a projectionist with a just wage.
Here shines paper, now go through here

Here is the event, the dark room
where people wait, quietly pray
and laugh, and then titles, silence
Materialism of light

And after, that feeling of loss
of what has been gone through, firstly
then the door with star shaped handles
The carpark night’s warm gradient

V.102 Apophenic

The path is overgrown and I
am lost – the way ahead is full
of ferns and low branches and moist
air. The sun flies off the grey lake

to dance in the trees. I am lost
which cause can be drawn from these facts
and the quality of sunlight.
It’s changed since I was young. Not me

I remain the same through all the change
my beard lost, my hair cut, my strength
curtailed. My gender uncertain
my sex with those others behind

the red curtain, on the neat tiles
means nothing when it comes to me
– the clean statue hidden inside
the flesh like a glacier mint…

As the leaves from last year engrain
and worms eat them, this certainty
grows – nothing causes anything
anymore, the cause sails silent

among air packed with miracle
More can be said but the dawning
of meaning on the word has gone
there is no duty to call it

The Field

An itinerant worker returns from a civil war that never quite happened, back through time to their partner, and on their way they see things in England and Wales that cause thoughts to occur. In sequence the field repeats, each one slightly differently. In each field a different voice, a different group. Maybe a village, or a city, or a bird

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V.88

The lake surface is dusk-white noise –
Just so many cut paper gulls
and silhouette ducks – then the dark
cuts across this inner distance

I sit in the greying evening
reiterate a dead song-form
– that of assuming the stances
of nature. But nature is gone

and what remains is a dammed stream
and what remains is a lake house
– people moan and run from nothing
and wheeze. I can’t reach beyond it.

There’s only the monotone lake
whose forms insulate nothing from
nothing. An image of a false
image. I make my offering:

In the morning, a red dawn comes
and fixes the sky in crystal.
Intergalactic prison ships
revolt and institute the new

through law. But for now, the moon hangs
in soft focus, and swans are fed,
by fallen branches whose mirror
in the lake caresses the sky

Kew

It’s as hot as the sun
can make it here
where water forgets
its natural direction
of downhill, & hovers

That is apart from the salted
water of our brows,
your smooth and pale back
your classically refined
tanned, toes

seeing plants everywhere
on tables, panels, hanging gardens
tangled in our eyelids, lashes –
my mind loses place.
Arboreal beauty hangs together

with the small and hot haired
nymph of the sweat water
I see before me. You
smile again an evil smile
at my fear of heights – & I

see your eyes glitter
organically –
small sticky rust grey beads
which lodge in my mind
and seed

Duck

Does any animal float as well?
Resting on this peel of thickness
pedalling slowly, and honking

Duck taught the angels
how to fly – see them now
by the barrage, watching for tips –

just put your face in your armpit
and hang there, careless –
that is how to go about it.

Lessons such as that.
And how to remain calm
in the face of such rain

After duck stands up, wrings out his coat
he waves to the angels, who nod abashed
and calmly floats off into the sky