Malorie Blackman

Vague memories of the beach,
meetings there, and kissing.
Of anger, and a distraught mother –

A tower block, and explosions
of anger – reconfigured dreams.
Race turned around and installed

again, to delete itself by mirror.
Then, somehow, I thought you dead.
A misread quote when I was 10

on the back of your book. Gaiman
I think it was. I lost you, then.
Something went out of my world.

Now, after seventeen years, I see
you linked in a tweet. No…
publishers would never steal your voice.

It was you. You were back. I saw
frost in shadows from the sun outside,
and around, the fire of the grass.

I’m not one to talk to authors
So I cried out of guilt and happiness
And now I’ll get the board back out

to play the game we know no one wins
again. Old mistakes gift us miracles
Or at least a chance to reverse them.

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

The Ship of Alexandria

Out of the bay the new ship
empty, and in the hold
scrolls are worked on
categorised

later, years later
the fires, the repairs made
of flotsam

And each time something falls
or a scroll falls apart
something else takes place.

Purpose holds, to go on
into the sea,
and the ship sinks, over years

Ropes and nets, and shark’s teeth
whale bones.

Slowly, slowly, falling apart,
til one day, with a shock
it’s sunk

And the clear waves roll over
nothing was ever here

Yes

The rock will weather the human storm
And aeons hence will thrive still
Over the cold mountain, the clouds arise
And the gold sun.

We may not have been together in life
but rock does not hesitate to fall.
Our dust will mingle
under the red sun.

I have lived as all have lived
with the infinite collapse of things.
I have loved, and will love still
and soundless in the darkness.

You know who you are, my friends.
I sing your song forever
I chant the requiem and praise
of the bright world.

Zodiac

I

Your week this week will go off
like a rotten egg. Such is life.
This fragment of a year will crack
and spill all over you, achieve

new heights of boredom and disgust.
Why? Do you ask why the fungus
grows at the tree’s base and grows
rotten? Come on. Just accept it

like you accept that your eyes
will look where you decide
and not just swing around like
billiard balls in a washing machine.

Next week brings with it new challenges
as exactly the same thing happens
for the hundred and eleventh time.
But this one, this is the one, I can feel it.

II

The stars are spread out in the orrery
like thick yeast extract on toast.
Things are everywhere finding it difficult
to connect. Take Bellatrix

for example. A salty taste on the tongue
just don’t let it touch an open cut.
Inside this emptiness of pain feeling
there is another expanse of tiny stars.

From each new star, we see new constellations
and the red bloom in Orion
is aching to reach them.
Close one eye for a while and things look flat.

There are an endless array of bears in the sky
clouds, atoms, birds, planes, galaxies –
all of these are bears if you look closely.
This week will bring bears.

Continue reading

On Beauty

Considered with reference to bodies

Standing water, in the cold night
reflects the crisp moon,
thin stars in the eye’s quiet corner

In its shallows the dark leaves rot
starving greens and wriggling things
’til stillness reigns

There is only so much you can get
from a reflection –
just ask these dying flowers on the shore

But a river – god damn it
just look – look at that flow
It goes where it wants to

But slip up, take a photo
and there! It’s a pool again.
For gods’ sake delete it

Let us leave all our still disasters
a night of stars, devastated
without their flutter, their refocus and shift

and lay paper puppets, torn and sullied
by the fire which crackles with time
and burns with everything you needed