Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

A slice of toast,

wet toast, floats

downstream bobbing

into banks.

 

A soggy boat

 

suitable for sticking

into

old men’s gums.

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What’s Lost

Tell me about your life,

The untold days

That will incinerate when you go,

Your favourite toy,

How you felt lying awake in the dark.

Tell me about your normal family,

The uncles who never were.

Tell me the unsaid stuff

That will have you live in me-

One little thing that no one else knows,

Because when you die

Only caricature remains.

This is what I asked you.

 

You told me

You loved all existence

As much as you loved me.

Handiwork

I waited decades

for my father’s hands

to take shape in mine.

 

Calcified skin,

yellow tobacco-edged and burn-tinged,

elaborating his age;

 

but I never got the rooted veins,

nor the cold marble threading waxily

up wiry arms,

nor the anchored mum of a tattoo.

 

I got duck-billed fingers,

arms of flabby contentment bathed in mother’s milk.

Sun-frightened skin

fresh as a strawberried nipple.

 

Yet his hands live on

in my head

chiselling away at stubborn but superfluous words.

Solitary Object

Every solitary word has a weight.

 

Centuries of weight.

The heft of now.

 

Times there are

to plough through this

just to get the day done.

 

But the natural gravity, heaving down for each, remains.

It is always there to see, to feel

If you would but acknowledge this.

 

Haul it into the sanctity of

Your hard earned understanding,

Drag it to the fireside of your meaning.

The Parents

Monoliths of flesh and bone:

 

Impermeable, unknowns.

 

They’d talk in shorthand

But only of work,

The business of the day.

 

Carving hard mythologies

For the foundations of childhood,

 

Where the fragile truths were dangled, arms length,

And familiar lies embraced.

The Nascent Romance of Dulux Paint Charts

Waltzing with a trolley

down the aisles of Homebase, I find

your eyes, your eyes- page 49,

Jade Cluster and Mossy Moor.

Your lipsticked lips are reproduced

as Sumptuous Plum or Summer Coulis.

Your skin, apparently Sorbet splashed

with Toasted Terracotta freckles.

I struggle to find your hair, though,

there being no classification of blacks

to compare with the infinite range of whites

there seems to be. Jesus, Cornflower

Blueberry, Violet, Jade, Nutmeg,

Apple, Almond, Barley,

because white is obviously a shade of nature.

These guys get paid for this.

Selling the nature of paint.

If only they could see

your firelit body flicker,

give colour to the burn inside,

the freeing of sweatbeads popping,

the Coral Flair would read

Bloodlust Flush or Pinked Desire.

What are the colours

for Wanton Abandon?

Beat(en) Poet

Unhappiness:

hear it fall

like a body in a sack

down

cellar

stairs.

 

Anxiety.

The ang and the buzz of the x

like a cattle prod zinging.

Have you ever played Operation?

That zzzz of failure.

 

Truth.

The only beat possible.

The hangman’s gift.

This beat is forever.

The Old Flame

When we burn,

Yesterday’s fire returns:

Of necessity, mirrored

heatlessly in our diarised words.

Fucks do not leap off pages.

A hand’s limpid

touch barely lands on the screen

Yet out here, a pulse

frantically pumps, skips

and waits

for a phrase to dance with,

because the heart knows

that new sentences

excite themselves into your past and sometimes land there.

The Soft Touch

A butterfly’s slow wings blur and burr soft air on my skin.

Grazing the invisible feed of desire, never quite landing.

You hover in the updraft of bodyheat.

The parallel lines of my want and your touch Recede into poetry.

Your voice kisses the page.