V.136

The house was on a steep. The sun
was belly button of the sky –
hot head, the red light of my blood
pearled with bright neuronal pearling.

They were shouting, I could hear it
from upstairs. There is so much love
in an exasperated scream.
In a textured chocolate croissant.

Sleep will take me soon and collapse
lose pertinence. After such days,
brimming call-centres of the heat
enrich my dreams. Hello you’re through –

Oh Sam, I know you’ve lost so much
and words are not the kind of thing
that can change our minds – but sometimes
I try to try – you were captain.

Life is a penguin, no life is
penguin egg cracked and just sizzling
on a cast iron pan. Oceans
shifted and took your ship out south.

I was stranded, you said, in cold
and night that lasted months. A light
on my far sailboat caught your eye –
you look up from your fire, and cry

V.135

and history may say alas,
but cannot help nor pardon –
ruins of empires are flowers
in Europe’s garden. Let more fall

’til empire is a lost nightmare
on endless dunes of autumn leaves.
Death-pale warriors and a king –
bearing black stars and stripes, and old –

were sent to quell humanity
wherever it was found – they cried
in joy as kind democrats died
and bestowed themselves red honours…

Now with desolated brains, shout
Vote! to us as we cry – power.
The only response they merit;
tears of sadness as we laugh hate.

All those they murder wait for them
in hell, with visitor’s tickets –
given dispensation to see
lives relived if the roles were swapped

Imperial officers scream
for their fathers as they clock it –
they are to be shot, shortly,
chopped up and put in a barrel.

V.134

I sit at the graduation
courtyard outside the function tent
drinking a red velvet latte,
and eating two halved eggs, just think.

I hover over the dry grass
and there was quiet in the shop
where I chose my sandwich. I eat
and others join me in the square

where poetry seems a stand in
for certainty – a red brick wall
a landscape of reds, wires and vines.
It’s the philosophy building.

I take a mint from a blue tin
with 50 mints in. Lunch poem.
It was onion, and cheese – the kind
which has no name. In my podcast

academics speak of poets.
I take another mint. My, my,
so many things call for worry,
don’t they. It puts me on notice

and I press my index fingers
together and against my lips.
All this. Let these celebrations,
I freshen by breath, let them in

V.133

The slogginess and haecceity
of the evening away from you –
trapped in a metre that repeats
while dust mites settle on my face –

make me feel like a half-played game
packed up with cards badly shuffled.
The blueness and depth of the sky –
against the gold of these string lights –

that’s the thing that passes the night.
I send a picture of the sky
through the sky to you in your bed –
it looks inky black, you reply.

//Words encrypt me and decrypt me
depending on the time. Neural
phenomenology in dreams
has a logos before language –

and reveries are chained and flayed
by the stumbling explanation.
I try to describe a rain field
which constitutes a fraught meeting

but it doesn’t quite come across//
I have homework in the morning
but for now I will listen – there’s new
tarmac on the road and it’s crisp

V.132 Saggittarius A*

The horror is at the centre –
of the galaxy, in this case –
effigy of darkness, grey fire
that once outlined the small gods’ heads.

A colossus of roads inwards
each with a donkey and lantern –
a one way street – an archer fires
their bow and infinite arrow.

The great Buddha sits there, spinning –
you’d better believe you’ll feel peace
as you breathe deep and cross the line
where Ying and Yang get singular.

In this old place, the logos fails
for now, but then, what is now? No
word can explain the difference
between the future and the past.

Sanctis tuis in aeternam
on a galactic pin-head
which defies perspective with law –
to tint it with a golden skin.

In soft radiance, that black lack
accepts us in, and absolves us
the sin of being data – then
shakes space itself with its laughter.

V.131 Ad Vitam

A monkey, given endlessness
A tamarin, say, freed from death
has a long continuity
but soon elements in it shift

It becomes more gentle, it lies
in branch-dark and smiles at eras
proportioned each to new problems
each dealt with in fertility

But day to day life continues –
a melon, a sweet mango,
oranges freed from clinging peel –
they swing, becoming-antic

Eyes that saw the sun hacking down
almost making the waxy leaves
shake, like chess figures with no shape
still see the same, the same frantic

world bearing on with curved spacetime –
our brains are lathed by the planet –
infinity cannot change us
as much as we would like it to

Hold the glowing orb and think it:
how loss will always assault us
every moment – it need not be
a death – only a forgetting

Grange-over-sands

The quicksand and sea of mud
and the sea itself, running
with cold skies as long and deep.
Oaks step out from cobbled banks
with the train’s rumble stirring
the café in the pale house –
I cannot escape from this

barbaric lyric’s enclave –
with the way that the world goes on
how can I still find this peace?
Maybe I should have chosen
to be the gull, the shaggy
dog in the rail underpass
whose soft songs betray no-one

V.130

Sometimes the heaviest reading
is the lightest – you understand?
Threading a needle envelops
the whole of us, a subtle task –

It is not a wetted slide down
in bright acrylic tubes to pools
It is a staircase and each step
slightly differs in height. Slowness

is an active ideal. I read
the day we spent in Dunstanburgh
and it is complex. Razor bills
and Shags patrol the ruined keep

in the darkness while the basalt
is thrashed by the waves. A staircase
starts halfway up a ruined stack –
The last person to take those stairs

was some unnamed and lost servant.
Yellow gorse patches over hills
which spread to the damp horizon
and fields of rapeseed glow and grow

We have steps to take and relearn
as heat passes into the sky
over the bookshop. And your kiss
stumps me like distant history

V.129

In a dream, riddle-full of dark
and industrial violence
It is night, like in Cloverfield –
I am observing guileless loss

Someone dies and someone screams – no
don’t look over there, it’s not worth it.
I close my eyes, twist my head round
and wake up with pain in my chest.

As I question it and question,
the dream does not become clearer
It is images seen through ice –
I need something to make me smile

The note was sent by me to me
unsigned and without an ending
The black morning drags, and I toss
thinking of the curls in your hair

Never leave me, goddamn it, swear
that your post-entropic body
can justify the invention
of the lost world-eternal space

Swear it. My thoughts grow so sluggish
crawling around your end// a void
so sharp I am cut in half, now
when time has yet spared me. Amen

V.128

<< In-between two redbrick houses
there is an alcove and a shed
topped with a mossy corrugate.
On the campus. A leaf dances

shivers, hovers, behind the moss –
blown as if a storm plucked at it
on a taught invisible string.
I’m still in front of the horror >>

<< There is a leaf on the road home
I see in the peripheral
behind me when I look back down
the hill – on the grey concrete steps

It jumps and slaps the ground so fast
and in paroxysms of dance
confined to its small space – I blank
on everything and watch the glitch >>

<< Roland Barthes was crossing the road
when he suddenly stopped – in front
on the path ahead a brown leaf
shivered as if it was burning

but there was no smoke. Enraptured
he didn’t notice the milk truck.
As the blood pooled the leaf flew up
to hover over him, spinning >>