V.116

I sit at the table, half-lit
by the weakening autumn sun,
applying for jobs, oh my lord,
what have I done? The tea is hot

and hearing faint but crisp alarms
(there must have been a powercut)
– or is that just my tinnitus)
I am steeped in apocalypse –

I am confident in using
Microsoft word, oh old my lord
I thought people were born that way
– just for today, far poverty –

I am giving up videogames.
A dog would be easier trained
– more visible – for I can’t see
myself, oh my lord, to see wrong.

The orange leaves glow so cutely.
Something terrible has happened –
I have met someone who just might
make me get my act together –

I scrape myself with shards of pot
and pour ashes on my head, and
I can use Excel with all haste, lord
my shortcuts are so sharp, so keen

V.115

I am sorry, for not being
strong enough, when it counted.
The moments of this world whir in
an unstoppable black fountain

My eyes are blurry and ears, blocked,
my jaw is tightened and grinding –
Looking back has turned me to salt
but the distant light is brightening

All of our acts will be redeemed
if we accept this grace – the world
is void of magic, but still seems
to glow in air. Red flag unfurled:

May we fight side by side on walls
where inhuman hordes throng – and see
a grey wizard rise and fall
down the hills like a rattling stream

May we stand side by side and hold
the hope of some lost child in hand
presiding on a field of bone
when the horns sound, and the last man

arrives, having settled accounts
at sunrise, hallowed light in form
of a prelude, thunder of mounts
hooves on the plain, be eagle-borne

V.113 Bond

There was an empire here – therefore
pain is caked into statues lost
on the sea bed. Time is so scarce –
gas dissolves, sinks in the water…

Missiles built with economies
scatter like graphs of a world-crash
and it is beautiful, foxglove
of nuclear Armageddon

The new war is begun because
certain things cannot now be stopped –
aesthetic laws demand of us
complete dedication. Agents

look into the heart of the state
and it looks like a cup of clear
water with boiled flowers – drink me,
says the label, and grow smaller.

He stares upwards, blue eyes cancelled
by the roaring fusion of things
There is no crack team coming, no
hope for a future for the old

Are we ready to lose these hopes?
Denied redemption, what remains
but death? Are we not better than
the worst of the things we have done?

V.112

I want you to be the first one
I talk to on my birthday
gliding over the clouds in space
in a glass dodecahedron,

our little pile of cool blankets
and when I can’t sleep due to things,
I will whisper to your earrings
that I want you to be the first

person I talk to on that day
(and I will caption the footage
with star and heart emojis)
that’s when we watch it back, my dear

(me and the orbit habitat
attendant) I will tell them how
I want you to be the first one
I speak to on my birthday – yes

I don’t know what words I would use
Maybe I would express anger
at how you mistrust my judgement
‘how dare you!!’ I would say, ‘morning –

by the way. You are beautiful
the way that shadows of nimbus
are elegant, on their cloud bed
from our glass ship, it’s my birthday’

V.110

I’m stood in front of a hedge maze –
there are three doors and each is locked
with a different kind of black lock
whose keys aren’t quite biting the pins

There are thirty keys, so varied
in shape and their material –
the silver key seemed right but snapped
ejecting a tiny blank scroll.

I knew that here, invisible
was the map to find the lost key –
but I tried to heat it and see,
a lemon juice script darkening,

when the whole scroll just exploded
into a tart lavender dust
(I’m sure I can see lavender
through one of the keyholes. But which?)

I bend down to look again, then
lean unthinking on a handle
and its door swings sweetly open
with the sound of a barnyard latch

I step through quickly and so, fall
through a trapdoor into a pit
and that’s what loving you is like
goddammit! I must brush my teeth

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.103 Antipoetic

Heat without respite stills the voice
and dreams of redemption arise
stood microwaving a pizza
halving a scone, after a day

when digital ends, achieved, bring
a small smile and the motivate
gaping. Help me, I can’t stop plans
from forming out of computers

Better stop this hot dithering
the real does not suffer the fake
to install itself here for long
always some half muttered question

And scared of the voiding of life
I remember the hanging sun
at midnight when you were married
The drive to the naked ski slope

The stumble on the rocks. The week
of trekking with mosquitoes, bears
Hiding out in the empty, dark
forest of the distant image

Mounds of pine needles and their ants
You crying at intensity
of feeling, of the days that passed
when time became saturated

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

V.101

This author will still be read, when
the sun has enveloped the earth
in a stifling embrace, and rock
again attains its prevalence

It will go down in history
down into the land, under it
with the rust, into the magma
where the planet forgets itself

The nation’s glory shall ring out
through the debris field in deep space
as comets impact planets, dull
armadas in the dead empire

They will still talk about today
when mouths are a thing forgotten
and the only concept is cold
Cold that stills the slowing atoms

I will remember you until
I lie on the linoleum
watching the inlaid glitter blur
until a galaxy appears

I will remember you, my love
breaking the law of the poem
We will forever have been us
There is nothing that can change that.

V.100 Loki

You know what to do, in lastness
you feel the god of steel growing
you pray that all will fall away
as hesitation corrupts us

Our time is lived but once, and yet
that doesn’t seem to move us much
But what can we expect from voices
peeling the skin of older gods

The courts of law arranged behind
the gate, behind the projector
screen, where the greyscale mouse dances
and buried viking chess sets crack

A hedonism ramifies –
you don’t know that you’re born, they say
Response: You don’t know that you’re dead –
building great towers in the west

exactly like giant gravestones
and in memoriam to what?
Allow us talk, sir. Allow us
our fortresses in the dark air

Something is dead and its absence
thickens through non-acknowledgement
The engines of capital burn
as particles plot against us