Friday, 9 December 2011

It's No Wonder

It's no wonder my skin
Feels about to crack
Those days
When my head's in my stomach
And my stomach's in my head.
They say be yourself
So I turn inside out
And paint my face
With my own blood.
A picture of myself.
And they say
She's wearing another new mask.
I try to clean up the mess
With white sliced bread
And wonder how many alterations
I'd have to make
To be convincing
In a uniform.

You always were
The strongest man in the world
But now I'm stronger than you
And no, I don't feel very strong.

I'm going down town to buy
A decorative patch
Cut price and one size
And say, when applicable
Laundry is what I do.



2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

11-11-11

How come we walked through
From the back
Indoors the gravely square
When guards stood at the gate.
Away from the crowds
Who light torches to how great it is.
The peachy reverberations in the sky
Footsteps crunchy, slowed down
Like in a film when the extras
Have all gone home.
And night never gets
As dark as your hair.
We walk in contradiction
To buildings who've made
Decisions for hundreds of years
For so long they've forgotten
Their reasons why.
Stand strong, no clues
For angels who carry crossed out crusades.
And the London Lion's handsome stone.
The roar we heard was a train
Engines moving people on
When it was good that day
To just stand with you
Over fairy light reflections
In the murky old river.
And drift around
Even though we were too late
For the Waterloo Sunset
That was 1967
And the English
Wave death like a flag
And I do
And it cuts the conversation short.
I think you know, I don't know
I really should have
Said I'm lost
Always looking for somewhere
To see
But nothing too bright.
And now it's next week
And I forgot to say
Something like skylight followed me home
Not statues cast for good as soldiers.

2011


Monday, 7 November 2011

The Fancy Feather

She felt the lost fancy feather
I'd seen a breath before
Blow a stray confusion of kisses
Giddy wavers through our hair.
Did one sand hearted wing betray you
To float on the morning fray?
So you appeal to an off the shoulder
To rest jet landings on loan
Till a garland reins in the breeze.
After you, are you tempted to linger
To hear stories of the lost fancy feather
And be grazed on the cheek by a quill.
In a triangle we link for a moment
Then cross unrequited to wonder
Why our safety chain is tired and undone
When we sleep diamond mines all night long.

2011

This Autumn

This autumn there was a butterfly on a traffic island, posing from daisy to mauve daisy, in the late sun. Fashion plate chic at rush hour.
I sat on a concrete cube and she let me watch her.
While a thrift store boy and girl were shining on each other. Natural as leaf fall, on the wall, the colours of October.
And cars slowed down for the lights.


2011

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose of Kemptown
Stayed out too late again
Not well dressed for winter
Every year you do the same.

2011

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dream Awake


My self has gone


With my daytime


I dance to what


You do to me


I dream awake


And watch you


Lift me from


The crowd.



2011



Friday, 21 October 2011

Black Line


Chased by the spotlight of day


I hang onto the wheel


Counting numbers


Until the black line is drawn


And behind the curtains of night


She puts me in my place


I commit a million tiny murders


Or a knife attack, in secret


It's just the same


But I'm changed


Close as hell is hot


I stoke the coals


In my belly


And my face


Is just something I wash.



2011



In Reality


In reality this isn't a city


Just the edge of land


Hysterical with immigrants


Talking so loud


I fight to hear


Her low dark moan.


Their illusions


A rocket ship


When a road


Is all I can see.



2011



The Half Moon


The half moon


Reaching down for us


Her glittery pathway


Spread there before us


If we step in


The sea can take us


Or turn for home


Her light to guide us.



2011



Monday, 3 October 2011

Ball Gowns


She's an explosion inside a circle, courting me with the sun. I burn just to be beside her, from her reflected glow. All day I hear her calling to me from petals of voracious meat. Raw velvet with thorns who taste my blood if I try to hold her. She bows her head now autumn is near, so I steal my chance to cut and possess her to darken and dry in my room. Where in winter I re-kindle her past.



2011



Sleep


Bleeding into the night


I wake to take part


In another day


Leaving a promise


To come home again


And fall into


The arms of sleep.



2011



Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Crow


One undertaking the beach


In common air


I walk and you fly


Searching the shore


Shred of flesh in your beak


Some idea in my head


Thrown out to sea


On a stone.



2011



Monday, 12 September 2011

The First Bus


Sixteen years old and on my way to study for sophistication out on the coast. I boarded the bus at the station. Tired already, my alarm was set for dark o'clock, eyelids heavy with mascara and shadow, protected by a veil of patchouli oil, as the top deck squelched full of fry-up vapour jackets, wet dog denim, and ashtray perms. I figured the study for sophistication would have some rough to smooth, and travelled cavalier in my quest for visual delight when psychiatric nursing was the destiny of most art students. We drove east with bar room volume until one morning I heard silence coming, the fizz, whine, and creak of voices drowning. He was climbing the stairs. Silence from the lower deck audible. Mighty men, fear in their glance, clenched jaws, lacquered women swallowed their breath, everyone found their fingernails interesting. My admiration was thunderous, and by the end of the journey I'd made an idol of a man who could bring peace to the number eleven with a frock coat and hairstyle.



2011



The Last Train


I'm in a carriage with the kids, on the last train back from the coast. One boy holds a skateboard, his shield of defence. He's on the defensive when the street style kids ask, 'what you doin' on this train?' 'Gotta get home, haven't I.' And he's out at the next station, looking over his back wheel as soon as the doors were shut. The kids, after a day on the arcade stock exchange, are flicking their lighters, and one has singed his hair. I hope this carriage doesn't have a smoke alarm. I really don't want any delays so I miss my connection. In the glass partition I see them shoulder walk, anonymous, caps-on, hoods-up, inflated, and armed with massive bags of pink candy floss. I perfect the art of invisibility………….. as if I needed to.



2011



Sun Flutes


Sun flutes in a city bed where I let you grow. Like family our communion has no words, and like lovers you are the first I see when I open the day, and the last as I close at night. If I am awake to hear the rage and see you battle a storm, I reach to pluck and save you, but I stop my hand before I snap a stem. While you are alive you'll always be young. There is no malice between you and some rain when tomorrow there may be sun.



2011



Monday, 29 August 2011

Dance Floor


Again I'm giving away


Pushed by the beat of living


The life I won't stop


Soft gliders on my skin


Feel like glass paper


Hurt is only when hurt


Is on me


I take it off


Maelstrom in and around


Held solid, liquid sharp


Young but no, no


I cash in for lessons


Tongues of light cut


But if I fall into


Their rhythm


My partner is shiny


Or I could kick out


Before they cut me


I am losing


Seam free and hungry


A colour sensation


The floor told a lie


I am a statue, not moving


Still for an encore


I am thistle down rising


Lighter than air.



2011




Respect for the Night


Before I had respect for the night


I'd watch the band


Sometimes until


Their amplifiers caught fire


Not daring to tell anyone


About the sparks and smoke


I didn't want the dream to end.



2011




Monday, 22 August 2011

Night Scent


Ivory bugles


Whisper to me


Through the dark


Perfume on their breath


You are safe


And we'll live for a season


And sway out of bravery


Under the wailing sky.



2011




Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ring Return


I heard requiem mass down the telephone line. She's laughing. The Eiffel Tower is down, a toy on elastic. Because I laugh they harmonise. No, not you as well. Tighten the valve. I left that message, the rude one, I'm sorry, yes. If I could have her, she's alluring in my mirror, this morning, that woman here with me. I left early, gave someone a teaser, pass it on. My opinion is. High street satin, full blown hot house exotic at the intersection, new every time. Let go, no they're my reins, he gave them to me to look after. Look after me, backwards day, a toy on elastic. Lasso the whip. Lips to the mouth, drink a quart of fat, the glass neck. Risen from her gut, wishes rising. You have an heirloom, discordant blood, sheet music and a woman's name. I will use it sometime. But did you know it would be the girders that smear their colours across the strings? I wasn't really scared of you. Thank you. My feet want weight, but not here. The glass was slippery. I heard its noise stop, out of the pavement, no one will notice. In hiding I nurse it, kiss it, herself anoint, the edges, gently. Fire. Repulse. I don't feel every day. Her timetable was measured, a square has four sides, like an hour if you mix in some oil, lock the door, open the windows wide. You hear the traffic, it's the best thing. Safe house, I saved for it. Break. Dough churning, old fermenting. An ambition, an ambition for me. Air cushion soles don't bend, just bounce. I know, I'll go out. In her gymslip, or uniform, field camouflage on the flyover, over the gasworks. Look at me, rubber shaving the curb. Missed me, he missed me. Machine still pumping. Look where you're going. She's laughing again. I'm going, turn around, with you to the gymnasium. In school day socks. I never could jump over that bar, lift it for me, I wear gloves all the time now, Forget-Me-Nots in my in my palm, I mustn't drop them. If that's it, I've got this ring to trail. I could be ready for the next train. Tonight a night box. Her story. Returning. Pretty, pretty carousel.



2011




Friday, 29 July 2011

Maria Marten Chant


Maria Maria


William beat you down dead


Blood soaked the barn.


Maria Maria


Girls who are easy with men


Invite their own end.


Maria Maria


A country born wench


Should not think to roam.


Maria Maria


Mother Marten she weeps


But we shan't waste a tear.


Maria Maria


Earth will hold you down


In the red of sunset.


Maria Maria



2011




Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Haunting Pier Hill


Haunting Pier Hill


Sea spray dust trapped


In the glamour


Gales shearing the skin of hotels


The fog a kindness to scars and her


Beating on oil drum island


Safe from a sky


Drawn down in pewter leaf


And rose petal fan light


The estuary a wind pipe


Her impression planted between the sweep


I left me there


In a loop of astrakhan armour


My lady forever reclining


In rock flower brocade.



2011



Pearly Claw


Pearly Claw


I know you love him


I want your love too


My eyes turning green


Green becomes you


You climb right in


When I get out of bed


Alone with him


He caught a fish


Your song turns his head


Scale in my throat


Pray teach me your spell.



2011



Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Ragdoll Nancy


Feet in the air


Head first in a box


She fell out on the floor


Sewn on face smiling at me.


Her legs can't hold her


Nancy just flops over


Swung along by an arm


Made of cloth, wool and ribbon.


Think I'll run a bubble bath


And drop her right in.



2011



Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Ex-Goddess


Sipping nightshade from a bowl


The Ex-Goddess


Rests her eyes on her hands.


Alone now in her room


I reach as far as her


And she has found


There is no God.


The night is passing


While her every hair


Will lift and grow and drop and die


I open to that feeling.


But she hasn't much time


And the scissors feel better


In her hand


As the other throws


A girl's hair across the bed.


The things he knew


He knew they were nothings


Weren't you born tired, confess?


Will the Devil twist shadows


Of you and me


By a kissing gate


On the empty Wall.


There is no Devil


The Ex-Goddess has found


Me making shadow puppets


With her hands


Of a woman searching for a wound


I believe I saw


When we spilt


A bowl of nightshade.



2011



Monday, 20 June 2011

The Same


We walked on the cracks


Down flat streets


Box houses, a drone


The same


You saw no one


Eggs in a pan


That's all there is


Our washed out black clothes


A cover


I take you to a photo booth


If anyone calls


I've gone out


A reminder


We were there


One day.



2011



A Hopeful Case


Stand on a chair


Sit down if you have to


But face me.


A straight line


Won't make me fall


I've come this far


The trip wires


Are where I put them


Listen and I'll tell you.


Your careful twist


Doesn't hurt


Tight knots don't break easily


And in germ bitten thought


The tunnels are deep.


Please, hear my voice


Not a playback average study


For you to smooth an edge


Trim a thorn


File away


A hopeful case


Course complete.



2011



Monday, 13 June 2011

Canary Feathers


There's a man parading my road


I saw my cat slinking


Along the window sill


He has a large dog


Circling every garden


My cat runs to the bedroom


This morning there were


Canary feathers on my doorstep


I arch behind the curtain


And go to sit with my cat


On the bed.



2011


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Town Birds


Town birds


Town birds


You don't have to stay


You don't have to pay


For a bus or a train


To drive you away


Fly somewhere new


Can I go with you?



2011



Cobalt Blue


The other one of me died before I was born. They thought that was all but no, a cat was killed the day I was born out of that chamber I'd shared with a corpse. My danger was drowned, but the waving veil black butterflies aren't real so can't be pressed under glass. Even when a schoolgirl thought I should know the runt of the litter always dies, so my own would be soon. The slow breeze wings amused me enough not to rattle those close to reality who whispered my saviour behind the door. The shade of those wings a relief from sun dried smiles of childhood.


The outline of a heart on my sole, where I walked through the skin of my foot. My chosen protection eggshell blue mothballs from my grandmother's hatbox, my favourite place. A special treat to look inside the mahogany keeper of her Sunday best. Remember the mothballs to scare bugs from the cloth to keep me prettily covered, even if I'm eaten with holes. The more livid a dress shouts, the less words I'd have to find. The first drops of celebrated death, each a glistening bead fell from between my legs. She's out wearing holocaust cross and David's star. In time moulding my skin grown around, like grandmother's wedding ring, the meaning forgotten when doctors asked if they could cut the band.


The mirror with rust creeping around the edges more and more. A whole new picture in creation, the space for your reflection getting smaller. A meeting with old times, nothing seems to have changed. When the photograph is developed it's see through and grainy, a ghost who looks the same as someone you once knew.


I continue to walk, so one day I'll see marsh fire. I hope to have time to lift my skirts and drag all my shadows clear of the flames, so I can prise the wrought iron stitch work from my ankles and stand amongst my shadows. My legion, who may fight for me, or not. Is my creation so grand they could not see my nice cosy iron maiden with spikes poised at my gut if I got any fatter?


I am no oriflamme or electric blue. Nor can I carry the insanity and disease and sordid offences from a century before. I'll break the line, the bottle of tainted blood smashed and drained. I'll stay at the party until I tire, my vodka switched for water when no one is looking. And if again I see a stream flowing with petrol, the crime of liquid peacocks, I will gaze on this poisoned wonder once again and calm myself, for I am not to blame. Then unfurl behind me streamers of ultra violet, cobalt and emerald, through the church yard of oatmeal gravestones, worn clean of inscription, but the deaths head raised in definition.


One day I sat on the beach, the sea serene, my thoughts milky. An old woman walking from the water, her sodden swim suit the colour of a surgical bandage, fallen down to her thighs. I turned my face away, but to see a Japanese girl walk from the water, her blood running over her cheeks. I invisible, one east, one west, only I aware of exposure and blood.


Some days I feel too exposed and raw myself. What will she do next time, go naked? No, the bravado of nudity is the greatest shield of all. I'd rather wear a burka, just me, skin, hair, meat beneath and no one would know who I am. Invisible, solid, black shape…… Until my time to die. I may burst open, my bed a mass of fleshy, bruised and weeping orchids, rare and grown wild. Or I might just fade until I'm ashen, a fine rust of blood. A contour of lace, more air than threads. Unable to stretch into life, but complete. Gone, without the dust of a dream.



2011



Saturday, 28 May 2011

Birthday


The weather didn't come out today.


Only rain fell like tears on my face


Before it touched the ground.


Eight magpies, white and sapphire and black


Wearing formals by the headstones


Looking to me for something shiny.


I'm here in my nightdress


You can look, I don't mind


But you can't have me today.


If you think of her, perhaps Medora


Will dance for us and shimmer.


A phantasm is the only show today.



Then in two nights, when light was high


In a dream adorned and sparkle


Jumping light to hang in poses


Held in the air, in a room alone


Everyone else downstairs.



2011



Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Playing


Your back a clean page


Firm beneath my hands.


I spread my fingers


And feel rise and fall of slow breath


In time with mine.


But no, not your heart


To feel it beat you would be a man.


I want you my instrument


Unmoving, with legs bound.


Your back my canvas


Symbols drawn from my fingers.


You see by a feeling


That fades as it cools.


I warm you with wax drops


Red, I peel them away


The first marks.


I trace lines between them


My nails a rehearsal for a blade


Cleaning away all other sensation


But for the salt I brush in


With lemon juice I wash you.


Your arms unbound


Muscles tense to tear cloth.


I bite your shoulder


Earthy spice of sweat


Dries on my tongue.


Your arms I stroke unmarked


Slow to your wrist.


Your hands will touch no part of me


They are just for my eyes


To hold and imagine


How you will play for me


In the final movement.



2011




Thursday, 12 May 2011

Trinket Box


A paintbox girl in the mirror frame


Hallway washed out to sepia.


Gemma is swinging the locket of Mary


She's wearing high heels


For lounge bar climbing.


A mystery of perfume


Sent from her mother


Leafing through a scrapbook of hopes


Torn from the dusting.


She leaves charms


In her way to the door


The key on a chain, hypnotising.


She's polished her girl to cut glass.


Gemma has around her throat


A silver rope from her father.


The clasp is strong


And she knows the cost.


He's welding a ring to cage her.



2011



Sunday, 1 May 2011

If I Leave


If I leave now


I won't see you go


I only turn away from you


Not to wait here alone


For a ghost or some sign of you


That might never come.



2011


Monday, 25 April 2011

Good Friday


Under the cliff in the midday sun, the chalk and the sea. Left, right onward pace. My left wrist hotter, the only thought I give to my watch. It's a day of easy heat. Let the sun in, no one will burn, it will let itself out.


Nothing to be tired for, but a rest in the garden is something to do. A young girl is basking and fluttering with her sister on the grass. Her mother's finest work, stretched, skinny, and unaware. Early in the day I said all birth should stop. The race should end. We're all past saving, all we can do now is give the earth back.


We go to the church, well the grounds, well the graves. Our divine vision, he must be a raven, he's the biggest crow, flying, commanding. He lands and walks, limping. Walking got me here, but it's all I can do, left, right, sometimes backwards.


We read the gravestones, the big, black bird never far away. People who die have whole stories in their names. I vow to change my name before I die. I see a name for a famous woman. I resurrect Lena Scola. The bird calls from a tree. Was she adored? Did she wear rubies and silk? I see the bird drinking at the pond. I look for Lena Scola again, to be sure I didn't imagine her name. Was she a teacher, a baker of bread? Did she stand in the spotlight? I hear birds' wings. Did she rest softly?


We find a bench. The bird is on the wall, passing time, watching us there.



2011



A Night Out with Black Annis


We grab a corner of the town each


And give it a thundering shake.


Annis rises up through the dust cloud


She's caught her cloak on the church spire


Spinning it around in a twist.


My name I scratch into tombstones


While she's up on the roof tiles


Drumming a tune with a cross.


I follow the time of her rhythm


Lighting new colours in stained glass


To end I leave them all black.


She leads me through pathways unheard of


Where houses shiver and moan.


In the air there's a whisper from Annis


Turning the brooding womb barren.


There's an act going on through a keyhole


Temptation has his legs round a virgin.


They flock for a peep for a coin.


So we have the people distracted


A wailing babe is our next pious cause.


We slice it through a window left closed.


An eyeball for cats to paw pat


Hounds make carvings in bone


A crow soars away with a milk tooth.


The only use we can find is to eat it.


And I give twenty good reasons


When asked why.


We count the devils footprints


The crossroads is where we meet.


He knows of our occupation


And thinks it wise not to stay.


But he keeps on the right side of Annis


And offers to take up the blame.


Now she's become monumental


Her hair flying thrashes open the sky.


Annis is out on her own now


The time to be on the road home.



2011



Hearts Grating


Yesterday the curtain closed


And you spoke in abstractions


The room filled with smog of opposition.


Your eyes blocks frozen on me


I couldn't see to leave you alone.


I threw stones, anything


To break into you rock face


But they just made a wall


Too jagged for us to touch.



Tomorrow we will beckon


Our hearts grating fall open.


We'll be a God and Goddess


Who murder their children.


I'll plant gilded stepping stones


And cross them with you.


Where you tell me a staircase


For us to ascend and descend


To a room where


No words are ever spoken.



2011



Monday, 11 April 2011

Luna


In my bedroom


I can hear the sounds


Of a sea shell.


I'm pinned awake


And I can feel


The weight of moonlight.


I'm a mobile


My strings hung


From a crescent.


I search through tree tops


And behind tower blocks.


I find her


She's looking at her reflection


In the sea.


She's the maker of shadows


I'll always be in.


The night is hers only


And she has nothing


To say to me.



2011



Old Country March


The dead have left Glastonbury.


Stone faces proud and brave


Above the abbey archways


Have lost their memory


But smile euphoric


Like an old drunken beauty


Above her ruined body of walls.


A short road


Took all day to walk.


We hoped to find


Around the next corner


Graves of men and women


Who were born and lived and died.


But only found a sign


Saying an ancient king


May be buried here.


I knelt to touch iron cats


Waiting to scrape boots at a doorway


Needing something to follow me home.


The sun a high and golden crown


Seeing everything, again


Made me think I should feel warm


But I didn't, it was cold.


Outdoors caving us in, we climbed.


I battle to find an easier path


And the sky line is long


But I see nothing


But land bitten and sucked dry


By tribes who want too much.


I turned away


And wondered instead


Of the story you'll tell me


When you come down.


And I see that we are


A bigger place than this.



2011