Mudflat Archive

The barn owl is an ancient vector
on the post in the blue silence
It slips a million years between
thin bones and structures of feather –
A predator engineered by galaxy –
Mudflats in the estuary pop and click
with the worms’ horrific cryptography –
Oyster Catchers read it as they pick
scraps from the crab corpse in the pool
then are torn from the sand by desire.
Tunneling into the cliff, the sea pops
and clicks rocks against recorded time
and daylight in the tunnel sketches webs
on the vault-line of the limestone –
Striations of land are sunk into the coast
the marsh holds a sheep skeleton –
The lady joins the doomed Gawain,
topless and expecting courtesy

We are ancient predators –
our eyes scan the front and the field
shifts and pulls towards us –
folds in the land are held straight
by our mind whose horizon is fixed
even while the body scrambles –
The lord of the castle leaves Gawain
to trek a last trek to the the rock chapel
in the green-black velvet valley –
cold in the morning – the horse
shifts and breathes under them –
the image of a single carrot impressed
into the horse-mind network
Mist lifts off the sweating body of the hills –
Sleep is slight like ice on a puddle –
We could not climb the stair quietly
the wood would crack and souls stir
stilling erratic movement of the eyeball

We remember dreams – of snakes
coiled around us, writhing on the bed –
of a silent goblin, watching, still,
until he fades – and tales of animals –
bouldering to find an adder nest
suddenly, and the shock was great –
a spider hides in the folds of a bag.
The engine pops and clicks as it cools
as the road humps over the land
holding us fixed, as the earth moves.
Swallows pop and click on the wires –
Geiger counters of each other’s name.
We are naked under these clothes –
she said it herself and I can feel it –
Scars on the land of the robes –
A bird warbles and beeps frantically –
then the fell runner whose hooves
scar the peat in flight from the lord’s hunt

Swallows struck from silver hang
in the sky like the bright moon
beyond three embracing drops in glass
and the black slate of the belfry –
the university where someone sits
in the library, feet up, on the phone –
and thrift clings to the rock pool –
small purple flowers held
for convolutional identification –
I hold the hand of an ancient woman
to help her through a gate and see
the old post office by the field.
We pass her later on the way
“I did think you would catch me”
I hold a red layered geode
someone had cracked on the beach
I hold a stone like a bearded capuchin
and bring it down to pop and click
rocks on the hard edged beach

My friends, there is no end
though the sun will soon expand
and the earth be smoothed
by the weight of the turbulent sea
There is no end – the habitable zone
will slip beyond us as we cling
by thrift, like thrift to the rock –
We might build a planet engine
to shift whole seas to tack our orbit
or we might not – it changes nothing
You want to preserve us forever
but we are preserved – I declare it
We are archived of ourselves
of this moment – I archive us.
Now tie these greens around your waist
and watch the grass move under cows
who carefully avoid (though they kiss)
the bluebells

Two Bus Poems

I

Every day bar some
the bus comes sometime, stops.
A law as certain, now
as the coming of night
of day, of suns, novas.
And people wobble on it.

I sit on the top floor
it feels safer up here
and I think of your face
whom I meet at the stop
on the odd occasion.
I think of the bus crash

where the corner taken
slightly too fast ended
in an event survived
by two of us alone.
The tragic accident
with one happier dream;

as we stare for months from
plaster casts at open
eyes across the room – heads
in a cartoon-like wrap –
your eyes like oil vents loosed
and set fire in the night

and that oil drains downward
to soak our sweat drenched casts
our two hospital beds
in the desert, they melt
and we walk slow to meet
and this under dark rain

burning rain – we are one.
We were only standing
sparsely chatting back then
now we melt into
puddles of each other – and
the dark oil rolls onwards.

II

Your fingers tap cleanly
on the deep red plastic
suitcase – where will it end!?
I would say hi, open
the suitcase of futures,
allow random packings

to array themselves – smile –
You smile as I walk by
the bus’s lit windows.
It had to be raining.
Now, not only can I
not skateboard but dwell, too

on your face, this soft chance
which for once makes the sharp
butterfly wings softer –
an anxiety lost
and gained this idea
of our nights together

in the Sevillan shade
sharing an orange – peel
of our clothes scattered on
the warm tiled courtyard floor
as I whisper in your
deepest ear – what fragrance.

The suitcase slipped out
of your grasp – rolled and I
caught it, its dimpled shell
shining under bus lights
this cavern of hard flesh –
but what am I saying.

Aphorisms II

There is a joy of history in the fact that the totalising force and the absolutist will always be dogged by those with a voice, a blog. The might of the word, of knowledge, is similar to the might of the ocean. You may divert its force for a time, but it will flatten all land eventually. You may think you can divert it. But once something is realised, it stays realised.

You can’t stop someone being right, even if you take everything else from them. And that is beautiful. The pen is longer than the sword.

*

When I hear someone exasperate about the internet, I always think – which comment annoyed you today? Which site fractured your sense of comfort in knowledge? Because of course, there is no such thing as the internet. There are only individual users, and groups… But then, that’s not quite right. The word – internet – like the word – society – has an image or sectional meaning whenever used in this way. It comes accompanied with – a comment section filled with drivel – the endless mass of opinions – lists of reviews, one to five stars, each with their set of entries… And I can’t help but think of this, whenever someone says ‘what’s wrong is the internet’ or jokes that… If it weren’t for the internet, we’d all be happy. The internet, they say, like a compulsion, their fingers itching to pick up a dustpan and brush, or an EMP device. I wonder if they know how they seem to us? We who have lived in the internet. They merely adopted the internet. We were born in it, moulded by it…

*

To rehash an old philosophical kick – It is an image with a great inner weakness that is destroyed simply by the existence of difference.

*

Since the old world is dead on its feet, we need only to keep living how we want, in order to push it softly into its grave. Culture is dead, long live culture.

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