End of tape

He had ideas lots of them

one’s about wood, what he could build

one’s about the next drive into Wales

one’s he never said but held

He had lots of them

And we never listened close enough

now we arch our ears back

to catch a single fray from the hem of his voice as it slips away

We take comfort in reaching back

to say this is what he would have said

to keep him here with us

Though there really is no telling

the words of a lost man

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BEFALL, BEFELL

Darker nights are coming in

tanned ankles are being hid by simple wool

The full moon sweeps up

reflective eyes and songs of wolves

Wind will carry them, as whistles blow

And shoulders are swallowed by crocheted shawls

The moon is nigh’

As is fire and electric light.

How far have we spun from our oaken dens?

From hunting in mud and sleeping in caves

To our detriment; tools for fracking are increasing

Even if we did replace feathered birds with metal ones to carry us

We’ll never, ever learn to fly, or to keep from our tombs

This is ongoing global warming

everyone taking, adding

shoplifters in every (a)isle, cameras watch blind

Panic drips as will regret like an unfed school of fish

in a tarpaulin pond of an abandoned yard

Farewell promise lands, we sobered-drunk with overuse

We’ll be the aliens the filmmakers and theaters warn us of

We’ll be the good guys who didn’t get there in time

Someone cares, hell do I?

I’m drinking rum at/or/with the Buena Vista Social Club

AVANT-GARDEN

Elicit gift of a garden brush

a vesicular heel of over-handled wood,

obsolete without working hands looped

because I’m busy tying knots in the trellis’ rope

for when in bloom

they hold me ope’

Rise then, off-pink Clematis shoot

a street of archers ready to loosen ‘rows,

buds hold patient like hoods to heads

—butterflies—and—bees—pry—

at hedge level height from an ant

the same distance of sky

from the hull of a plane and I

RED SEA

They eroded like sedimentary rocks

He was heavy rain that wore her down

She was crystal forming in place of abrasion

poppy among shrapnel

After seasons of his wicked weathering

She forged a black hole in her brain’s limbic system

Where memories are made, scientists say

She buried him alive in the sink hole of her mind

In it everything they ever did

Every thought, every glimpse

Except for the three kids

A billion seconds later,

She shut the door to his easy shelter

It takes one second of one billion

To find the graphene-hard gristle

a heart of courage

To lose mental torture

and the man responsible

To walk barefoot through the broken glass

To walk barefoot through the broken past

To walk so far, she won’t look back

OLD STUFF

The Leaving of the Day

So this is how the light gets in

One last time and picture thin

Before the set is washed in black

The Moon debuts its night attached

are stars whom all the day

are eclipsed by a Mother’s silting grin.

Shadows can rest after this

tomorrow they will toll again.

Sunlight chalks away as light cascades

Playing the painter’s part with

Pastel-pink and lilac-grey shade

It will never be the same as this

any frame of light as this

This great sway is the dying of the day

For night is flooding fast

just as swallows will reach their nests,

I long for it to keep

For the sky to stand still the Sun’s retreat

A reflection of light and heat

Amidst summer pollen

and empty, winter trees.

Most nights I watch it flare

Not a wave goodbye but a fulgent glare

Light wakes life and in my life on Earth

I like to hate dusk and its departing kiss

For it’s my favourite time

but its lost so quick

Harrison Drive

Take a walk on the sand

On your own or hand in hand

As long as waves

reflect the sky

the moon but a twinkle

in the oceans eye

Take a walk upon the water

On your own or with another

The sand it

softens our skin

You could stay here forever

What do you think?

Guardian on Duke Street

There is an old man I see

I have no connection to him

He has no connection to me.

I’ve watched him since I was a kid

Not knowing if he had died

Or continued to live.

I saw him today

He walks up my street

Once quickened, now lulling feet.

An old man for my forever

I’ll keep an eye on him

Until we never meet again.

Twigs of Love

I make a pledge to the bird outside

The one among the teasel—dried

I heard its beak sorting seeds

Then a twinkling song

bounced from the weeds
In that second I knew,

in that birds clean chirp

Is where this message would be safe

As its yellow-barred wings

Claw the sky

My message of love it can survive
I mimic all day among the leaves

Encrypting my whistle to one

She believes

There are no other birds around

So in a birdy Morse code I murmur loud

This takes days, winter afternoons

With a stomach flasked in coffee

Replaying this tune

If this bird, this golden finch

Prefers my songbook

and so she’ll sing it to her young nest

they’ll grow with my whistle between their beaks

A call of love I’ve disguised

And for forever in the sky

My love for you it cannot die

So, even when we’ve both dispersed beneath the firs

Above earth birds will tell our tale

For Maria, Happy Mother’s Day

There is a glow. In the sky out there and on the streets below. Under this curtain pole of Earth’s horizon, she watches as one day tumble dries into the next. On younger days she has cruised the world but on this day she is serene and reflects.

In all of my days she’s been mirroring light, making a path through the best and worst of times. My own horizon and time-zone. The beacon of hopefulness, true courage, survival. That fuzzy feeling nobody can taketh away for this one person gave me all of these days.

Even when we are gone, we are here to stay. Out there somewhere in the spray, in the streets below, my heart aglow. There she is, my mum. At the beginning of tonight, my forever, first-light.

Are you really Happy? Valentine’s Day

How fast my feet flocked
Past Eau de parfum spritzed women
Hooked onto tensed biceps
Of reeled men

Catching eyes of each of them
Judging shoes times chemistry,
I wonder where they’ve been for tea

Another toast to keep pretending
We are fairy-tale happy
ending the night scrolling down screens
Liking other peoples’ evenings

So yes I’ll look away

He is yours

and I don’t wanna miss my train 

A Party Tea Tomorrow

A party tea tomorrow

A party tea for me,
Mam said it’s not a party
It’ll just be you,
him, her, the kids, the dogs
and me.

Yer Nan might call down,
we’ll have to wait and see.

A party tea for you,
Ham batch and pink panthers
On white, paper plates
Plastic cups for the fizzy stuff
“Straight home and don’t be late!”

When I was a little bit littler
This was a sacred dinner date
The night we played pretend
No celebration to celebrate
just life and a fight for one
of four Sayers’ dinky cakes

No candle light unless the leccy went
A cartoon on the telly
Probably Pokemon
Still wishing I could catch ’em all
Or a time like that, just one.

For me mother it was an evenin’ off
Not a rummage for a recipe
No dishes to be done

Maybe a well-rinsed cloth
To follow greasy trails made by
babies hands
Blaming Salt & Vinegar chip sticks
As she wiped around
Wasn’t we eating like royalty?
In a half dead but still breathing dockers town
Nobody had much,
A glance at a wrist
The face of a scraped watch
and times teeny ticks
It’s in revival now but still hard of hearing

Look at me, I’m 24 and still dreaming
of a party tea tomorrow.