V.33

If we retreat into enclaves
Well, there’s only so much conflict
we can take. And the web itself
was an example of that

then small trolls followed us here to
watch their voices overspill and
burble down the drainpipe feed-scroll.
But that’s just the way of things eh?

You can invent a beautiful
machine, and someone will want to
use it to masturbate. It’s fair.
That’s just the structure of human

subjectivity. Little did
we know. Think of monasteries
out in the cold dales. These machines
undone by fat ranting hierarchs

and murder based upon other
older mantras. I just want prayer
to fill the halls and no sex life.
But they keep broadcasting naked

creatures on the walls of my mind.
And this whole response is really
too much. Echoing an echo
of an echo of an echo

V.32

The parallax intrudes sometimes
like a muscular pain after
being sat too long in one stance
and you can barely find comfort.

Browsing the internet you find
a cry for help you can’t tell from
pastiche. Then you see an empty
box sat on the doorstep, you see

moth larvae curling in your clothes.
Everything seems to be able
to connect with the following
link. But the pendulum has reached

its apogee and watch it turn
revealing its dark side to you
just as it accelerates down
the side inlaid with relief carve

of massacre and stupidness.
The frictionless pivot of time
and history is mute. But hear
faint squeaks of the ghost hung upon

the nail there, with all its effort
breaks itself to try warn you of
what is to come. But all there is
is a faint sense of deja vu

V.31

It was buoyant and hot as I
was driven under – clear fumes
were drifting in front of my thoughts
I was dwelling on road rage when

there came the bars in Dvorak 9,
between the first timpani and
the oboe’s solo voice and tune,
and I felt quiet in the sun

with the smell of synthetic cars,
and I didn’t let my mind run
hectic over all the aspects
that may have been wrong with that time

(were there any?*) and those bars seemed
then to express exactly that
moment. But later in bed, past
midnight I couldn’t hear it when

I searched many renditions on
youtube for a feeling. Exact
physical opposite to the
nagging Ligeti requiem

which I used to think I liked but
now seems to sharpen headache. Tea
has replaced my bloodstream. I take
paracetamol to keep on

*yes

V.30

The gateposts flutter with sonnets
in rich florentine hands. The work
of sculptor and vile abuser
Benvenuto Cellini stands

in his walled garden, unfinished.
Dukes and Duchesses pay handsome
fees to see it done. In the shop
the cracked furnace bears stigmata

of bronze. And a stray cat stares at
you, the reader of this poem.
Its eyes are black and you shiver,
looking up at the cinder hole

in the roof where hastily rigged
boards let rain fall on the steaming
ash pile, the dark droplets of bronze.
What are you doing in Florence

during the renaissance? and how
did you come to be in this hall
of works? Nobody knows. A girl
stops and waits in the cold doorway.

Without a word you both agree.
In the garden, the nieces watch
the statue grow white hot and melt.
“Medusa!” they say. “Medusa”

V.29

Matsuo Bashō reigns his horse
in and stops a moment. After
several seconds of cool sweat
pearls his forehead, he moves to grasp

some scrap paper. Ahead, the shrine
hung on the priest’s back sways buddha
slowly to enlightenment. I
think to write this poem as I

walk in the sun uphill and out
of the city. Some very apt
resonances would have been sought.
Between my walk and the journey

he took, ready to become close
to things which want their expression
in the form of a clear cut haiku.
As it is I had to take the

bus. Nevertheless, I think to
write this poem on the bus, yet
I see the wonderful smile and
mouse laugh of a girl I now know.

She tells me of the peregrines
nesting in the uni tower.
So, finally, I note this down.
I don’t think it turned out so bad

V.28

If you listen when the sun rise
continues over the woods, you
can hear them. In amongst the trees
whisper the ghosts of the dark elm

and around them flutter pulp texts
of appraisal and if you then
listen when the cashier rattles
the till drawer, taking payment

for a selection of old books
you can hear them. In amongst the
shelves the ghosts of poems about
elms slip and slide from page to page

and as the sun light cuts through leaves
and bluebottles mate, rattling along
thin old bits of rope, and old stones
once used to rip up grain for flour,

let reading not have been a strange
historical cul-de-sac, let
people lower their eyes, only
let the silence ramify out

so we can hear ghosts when they spin
suspended in the air like leaves
hung on invisible threads, leave
ghosts that hang on the page in braille

Path

Occasionally walk down a path such that you wouldn’t mind to die at the end of it. Having seen the beech seed pods’ dark red and the leaves’ brown, damp on the verges, having felt the cold breeze chill your hand on the umbrella, having said ‘cold I welcome you for a moment’ til it echoes in your fingers and having heard the pop of the rain on plastic like rice crispies in a bowl on a quiet morning. And the greens oh the greens of the trees in towering walls and your lone figure at the base. And the end comes with a sigh of a ‘we have to die sometime. And now is a particularly good moment for that, having walked down that path.’ Across the way, the hill of trees sits in the misty rain, magentas and grey greens. Colours shore us

But there remains this; that an act of self abnegation is a kind of assertion of authority over the world. For the following reasons. Either you believe you should stop, in which case you believe you are powerful and too powerful to change yourself, a contradiction. Or you believe your assessment of things is the most true, which is arrogant, considering the world. Or your abnegation is in itself a challenge to the world, since you believe you can still win by not wanting anything. Or something else. If you would just submit to things, you would have a better time, but that’s what I was saying, wasn’t it? No, I was saying something else. I forget.

Outside it has rained on and off all night. The sodden tea bag is cold in the bottom of the cup. I pop a small fruit gum in my mouth and chew it.