V.99

The world is not a game of chess –
A game of chess is not a game
sometimes it’s something more and less
When a world turns on an evening

When rain churns upon the roof tiles
and rain sounds dance inside the ear
and rain worlds are raised from the red
depths of the mind, a damp childhood.

In an oxbow lake three kids act
in a pirate film, and leap out
in the rain, to feel the warm depths
and feel roots in the dark water

touch their legs, and shiver. A fish
a dead fish bobs among the reeds
Its unused eye staring at clouds
dark with the shadow of water.

In a film a neat cottage stands
by the sea, and an old man gives
advice that, being trite, this time
because of something deep, and past

returning, brings with it a roar
like the sun checkmates the dark sea
and castles on the sand, kids hands
had made, are washed away. I love

V.97 Nightingale II

It was probably a sleepless
thrush, or a lady blackbird out
In the morning to center me.
Later in the week a green tree

(green, you remember green, a sharp
asset, a zone) is filled up
by a murmuration. Words fail
to register all of the ways

that words fail. Over the next months
poetry leaves me as I hold
my black plastic controller and
curl up in bed as the womb hurts

curl up around an old and new
goal, to have the numbers raise up
and buttons click neatly and soft
as the shots of unreal guns sound –

As the game becomes my home, I
hold myself in the vibrant light
and lines cut to suit the dull eye
and suspended in a rest mode

I wait until the suspense that comes
from restraints, as in chess, or love
is suspended in turn and light
of sun over the river grows

Dark Dogs in the Morning

The darkness fell onto me like a fever
stirring – stripping and dressing in the cold
I picked up my phone, and wiped breath from it.
Weak coffee. I left the house, slid doors,
the dogs pressed against me – flickering
buzzing, sparking – something was up
but I didn’t know what.
            I set off

seeing the shoals of mist swim
in morning dark where day is forgotten
and the choral synthesiser drone of stars
shook me, made me shiver – I drowned it out
with my headphones. Walked out
with my pathetic torch across
the wood and farm-land in the mould black
morning – marvelling at the absolute lack
of magic, there in the dust-clump wood.
I glanced around me, saw nothing
thought ‘but wolves, but wild boars’
I smiled, took a fast pace down
the bend to the flood-plain
where I imagine the flesh-fade
of dawn began to apply itself to night

***

Later on return – I left tracks
in the forest frost grass from the mansion
to the servant’s quarter –
my breath was even more eager than I
to get to the house, it ran ahead
but stopped suddenly – a dead deer
half, half-eaten, eyes open
as the ground is open to the falling
sat there, on the cold patio.
Poachers only want the hind-half
I later learned – I felt the cold fur
brush past, long hair of the black dog –
thought; you were excited for your find
I left you behind. I’m sorry.
She took the skull between her teeth
and cracked it. From the cavity,
the night came flowing back…

V.54

The moss between cobblestones. Rain
to break rot weakened branches. Wind
on the puddle on the bridge tears
the world into sections. I step

in the puddle and move on. Step
through the humid air. Step. I fall
through the floor and the map appears
grey and unrendered. The cloudlines

were just painted on the skybox.
I look down and I have no feet.
But the air is humid, I breathe
and smell damp old cars. Will we get

thumb arthritis, when we are old?
I see objects from my youth hang
in the air, ready for the next
cutscene. Then the quick-time event

begins. I have to tap *a* as
I drive the car home from work and
a stupid pigeon accosts me
by flying into the road. I

then miss pressing *up*, and my mind
gets caught on climate, that I can’t
be driving. There is a glitch and
I am flung into the dark sky