V. 82

“All this usury really fucks
me up” he said to the door guard.
“It makes me itch? You understand?
“When I was in that cage, oh yeah

“I could feel it crawling on me
like ideograms.” The guard smiles.
Unstuck in time, he has one task.
He’s met a million like this –

Bad money driving out the good.
“Hey there fella, could you get me
water?” How easy to just leave.
But the aesthetic demanded

A more apposite fate. The guy
held the glass and slurped, with a grin.
“I can’t believe I did it, wow
“I’m finally getting out. Heh

“I really fooled those old suckers
“worthless cunts who couldn’t read me
“given half a year and the books
“I cut up.” You’re very strange, Pound

said the guard, later, down the path.
When the poet tried to salute,
the visitor grasped his daft hand
and firmly held it down. Justice.

*

The apparition of these blood spots on the path:
Petals on a wet, black, bough.

Two Poems

Crowd

The vast pack turns now – howls
it echoes in the dark
locks of the valley cliffs
The whole hive mind stiffens –
an enemy appears
and soon becomes shadow.

The light of the howlers
is a dim-burning light
not hot like communion –
cold; cold as hill mist tears
that graze clean the day’s grime
From forgotten arches

Running silently through
damp places on the hill
Babbling under black clouds
And devouring, slowly
At first, skin from your flesh
And then, thoughts from your brain

Sun Worship

And as poetry dies a death
or is reborn – which is
the same, until it isn’t
And the sunlight takes on a sharpness
And the world begins again to end
quite unlike a mint falling to the floor
and breaking
cleanly in two upon the tiles
and the sheerness of thought stacks
so steeply –
Did not a roman slave walk
the dry paths of this split-cream coast
Does not this man hang such
washing as has never been bettered
in the warm air
Does not the mother walk a beach
as her dog exacts nothing from
the sea
as slow the waves pull down the coast
and the sun’s fog blurs horizons
and a thousand small discomforts –
there is still much to do
even on last days, which may fade
walking through a sliding glass door
as if to return shortly
but never returning (all this
in the sun)

Here, look up through the parasol
at the sun encased in black fabric
does this seem gaudy to you?
The prehistoric stands on a cliff
watching those same horizons
as the birdcalls change.
Ask for help from the sky-trails
as they spread into the blue.
Note the ferocious beautiful
of pre-bomb flares falling on the city
But note you may be thrown off the bus
by those who don’t understand
that a flower can exist in a wasteland.
Place your hands often on
warm heads of hair –
Cope like this – in sunlit ripples
on some body of water
some body of air

Collapse

In the winter sun I saw, a gold
forest of leaveless trees appear.
It was warm in the shower and the wind
could be heard at night on the eaves.
I played games on the evening
and in the morning I played games.
The tangle of ideas has become full
and the temptation arises of a sword.
Stupid people say stupid things
and I cannot be sure of my difference.
I cannot be sure of the world
but I can be sure of the deep house.
I drink stimulants all day,
and in the morning I drink stimulants.
My heart is a construct of ideas
of the faster beat and slower thought.
I cannot be sure of my body,
my thoughts of my body are dark mirrors.
I hold inside me a red liquid
I hold in my hands a rare earth element.
In the winter sun I saw dirt on the screen,
and the night wind brought desert dust.
I am a rare earth element, they know
my paranoia grows and shrinks in ceaseless
patterns I never see coming or going.
It was warm in the shower as I heard
the guitar be generated by movement.
The tangle of ideas is a symptom
of competing interests concieved as a whole.
I cannot be sure of the political body
as its organs revolve, unconnected.

*

In the stream of time games appear
and the faint sound of choirs.
Things repeat and repeat and I hold
within me this repetition and outside
the wind flicks between warm and cold.
I hold my loved ones close
I hold my hands clasped in the darkness.
The answers I have found to crumble
and rebuild, and repeat only in torn
forms like recycled paper used for chips
or packing paper used to wrap objects.
Words lie in ranks on the tablecloth.
Connections form and are lost again,
being lines between lost things.
In the christmas quiet I heard peace.
In the blue fire of the hob,
small fragments of history gave us heat.
The world is an organic simulation.
Time pours through us and damages us.
The tangle of ideas rests in parallel lines
and smoothes out the kind of fear we feel.
The fire is warm on an evening
the sting of heat on my legs
the sound of ancient voices from my childhood
and far off trumpets and the brightness.
Another year passes, I cope more easily.
In the christmas quiet I heard peace.

*

And what is there to say
when all stories are noise
and all stories are equal in their relation
to the void and what is there to say
and what is worth saying
when all words are noise and void
And all stories are at risk.
From day to day I tumble from this mood to that
and often forget what I have said and believed.
From day to day my purse grows lighter and heavier.
From day to day the world goes darker
and darker and brighter and hotter.

From day to day the clouds pass over the face of the sky
and the moon’s blank eye, and I.
If they do not care to save the earth
Why should we care for them?
If they do not care to save the earth
Why should we care for them?

*

In the end, the sun enfolds the trees
and as I gaze at the page, it watches me.
Collapse is a strange thing, it threatens,
but never quite finishes with us –
My heart is a construct of golden ideas
a web, a force, a soul, a sun tower.
The future cannot help, but out of the present
it flowers, and we can help ourselves.
In the sun, I see, a winter sun behind a sea
of branches, there where i lose myself
to find what there is to see

V.70

Oh please please please let me not step
on snails any more, it provokes
moments of panic and questions.
Like what makes a snail the lesser?

We all squirm and have our dark shells.
Entire belief systems are crushed,
just like that. By small accident.
If the snail doesn’t matter, then…

My hopes and dreams bypass the snail
and I can live in a dream world
beyond, where political talk
never betrays anyone. Where

good men are honoured. Good people.
There once was a world where good reigned.
The demons got bored and planned coups.
Death meant nothing to them. They ran

in the streets screaming slanderous
screams that cut the good buildings down.
They wrote newspapers and chattered
in their odd logic, disregarding

tears, emotions. They thought little.
They rolled around in little shells
like a physical process, then
I knew. I was better than them.

V.69

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

V.65

If buildings stand built in the sun
by the oak hill, why must we pay?
when all transactions are known to
release their bonds upon us, why

must we pay? When our lives are short
and end shortly, in the field full
of broken trees, why must we pay?
When skeletons possess estates,

when the dead pile up endlessly
all over the world, and will persist
in doing so until the death
of death itself, one dark moment

is ours, and nothing more, desires
gum up the cogs, they jam, and break,
and we sit amongst the breakage
and stare blankly into it, stare

at the landowner who stares down,
at the wreckage and holds out bones
attached to bones attached to bones,
why must we pay? Why must we pay

when the earth will fall into fire
as its orbital arc decays,
and all long things become shorter
and waste, why then must we pay?

V.44

Coming home on a long warm night
where the air takes the noise of keys
and holds it cupped in its hand like
a ladybird which alighted

on the hand, and is climbing up.
Coming home after mild concern
has flared in a blank stare forward
and later a stratified phase

of conversation while the feet
hit their warm rubber on the path.
Coming home after talk of trade
and politics and other large

and uncontrollable forces
which fluctuate like black storms do,
hung waiting behind the buildings
on your right, and seen between them.

To say power is power just
raises violence to a law
and that seems a dull reversal.
There are as many reasons to

do a thing historically as
there are to do a thing today
at least, and as reasons densen
a cool breeze blows over the street

Republican

The deep-house beats fall
From the window – hit
sunbeams combing the heat
Fall down simmering streets

It’s royal wedding day – but I
Can only focus on this
bunch of dead flowers
Strapped to a lamp-post

The cellophane wrap flutters
Around the dry remnants
Framed by estates and hills
And glints from windscreens

I’m not saying something,
Shocked by the light’s irradiacy
The faintly dissonant organ
Of which echoes softly pour

The Forest

The Tree says “Down! – thee
seeds and sapling usurpers
“I am the root and I the purpose
“Know my bark, it keeps me strong.”
And murders them with shadows long.

The saplings and the seeds chant –
“Up! – up the republic of growth
“Of varied ideas, and new things here below
“Until the wood is filled with variety
“Old bark can stay – but we’ll have our society.”

The forest is filled with kinds of desire
But all must drink – and bathe in the sun
The far spread shadows are death to some
“Until the dark dawn of some great forest fire”

Some hope to spark, to get underway
The falling, the ashes, it tends to gestate
Grand ideas of a sunlit glade
Though dappled light seems the best some can await –

Born as they are with stunted branch
Or lack of structured niche or dance
They tend to fall back on the law of the light –
that when shadow is cast, those in shadow must fight.

Either starving dark amongst the shoots
Or taking as model the climbing vine
Or cutting the old bark down to size
Or grouping and starving the heartless old roots
To scatter light out from the leaves of the few.

Elegy Written on the National Express

i

To the rusted coach, hurling through country
the misted landscape shows itself brightly –
smoke silhouettes and industrial edifice
rest in the view, as rubble in grey dirt.
Awake but precarious, I’m whimmed by the heat
and I wore too much crap, brought too much ephemera
rummaging for a pen, in notice of others
whose christian voices, here and there pray.
The whispering waving of torque and hot rubber
the passing on centre and passing on right.
The carriage rolls hungry, wafting on the road
in the air of the country, musty and cold.
The air conditioner breathes, occasionally coughing
in this rhythmic trance, the traveller’s loan,
which purchases the journey, cheap.

ii

In the coach, dull head and hot at the feet;
a clash of environments, splitting the cabin
and the swinging spindles of a needle thin turbine
obscured by the copses that spatter the land.
Miniaturised trees, from the fog’s deep gradient,
resting on the morning, and hewn dirt roads
(the trace of the coming expansion) flow outwards
pre-empted by pylons, ancient statues
whose rest in the desert, long after we’ve gone:
Buffeted by cold wind and frost in the nighttime
snow slowly erasing the web of old tarmac
pitch-dark and frozen, but the national anthem
plays still over the land, a deathless anthem
turning the fascist strata, and rousing
the fragments of newspaper to stand.

iii

In the fast fading coach, windows sullied,
shadow eats the occupied roads of the world.
Ambience change brings me reeling, threatened
from dystopian daydreams, to Motor Way One.
The unending chance-driven swerve of the chassis
rends me and jolts in my head and my stomach
and lightly the inevitable sickness sets in,
waiting for the portent’s rain to begin.
Mechanical reproduction’s music marks
the passing of time; it’s all that does
despite the rolling windows, falling country
whose homogeneous peeling marks the whole…
Drowsing in the sullen surge I wait
and London waits for me, churning,
the City dark with mould.