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
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.
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
A worried king came to me, lord knows why
to measure his luck against the Philistines.
Strange how an eldritch technique can change
from heresy to dogma for reasons of state –
anyway, for all my murdered sisters I gave
him just enough doubt to put off his aim –
he’ll lay down his sword from anxiety, then
lie down and slide along it, slowly, to rest.
I slaughtered a calf to give precursive thanks
and fed him libation to his own pierced flank.
When the gods ascend from out the earth,
justice sees tyrants come off the worse.
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
The Rain: streaming with direct argument through the air.
The Sea: calm as children swam with their dogs at the whispering surface.
The First Doubts: felt by those who stood by the rivers as they rose.
Torrents: under arches, creaking bridges.
The Water: rising, day on day – perhaps we had hit a galactic cloud of ice, which melted through the plum atmosphere. But it was so relaxing that the scientists lay down, or swam with their dogs in the lakes which were overcoming the cities on the plain.
God: when contacted, denied involvement.
The Priests: unworried, they lay in the belfry and felt the water lap their ears.
The Spire: up out of the water, the church became a rock in the sea, which pierced the bottom of a boat that had been constructed for fun.
The Boat Crew: relaxed. Went into the water slowly and quietly.
Soon: the earth was blue and yet the rain didn’t stop. It poured between the stars in an unknown mechanism, doubtless to do with the meanings imbued in some partial beginning when pure energy thundered out of the centre of things.
Soon: water filled the galaxy, and then the spaces between the galaxies.
Underwater Stars: booming in the depths.
Comets: moving very slowly, leaving trails in the intergalactic ice as it spread in the manner of mould with a dispersed origin.
The Water: perhaps streaming from black holes, connected to another, drowning, diluvian plane.
The Water: glub.
The Water: glub.
The Water: glub.
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.
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 –
Oystercatchers crack it as they pick
scraps from the crab corpse in the pool
then are torn from the sand by desire.
Tunnelling 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.
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)
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
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