About Brian Carlin

Retired psychiatric nurse, redundant poet. husband and father

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.

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Idling

It’s been a lazy day.

I’ve been making a meaning.

 

Not actively, not hewing or constructing one.

But in the reverie of moments, sifting,

seeking discoveries in the relative simplicities

of commonplace words and things.

 

I float in and through liminal space.

A deep sea diver familiarising himself

with watery discoveries.

I float.

I circle and return, and peer again.

 

I watch how sentences sit on the seabed

of the everyday. Then how they shimmer

and shift in the liquid glow of attempts at understanding.

I sense how things are and despair of communicating this.

The lazy days, the days of apparent time are hard work.

 

It’s a struggle finding a new language.

What is a poet without words?

 

Our Sea

A sea. 

There is always a sea to look at

With your back to it, facing away.

 

It’s there-

 

Rhythmic, rumbling,

In the dark, behind you

 

Asking you

“Turn to me. Consider me.

 

Be fearful and fearless.”

 

Understanding is not a surrender.

Reader, I Married Her

I’ve read men

all my canonical life,

the double-male gaze of me and books

unchecked, God-given.

 

Now suddenly, it seems

I’m reading women,

not from the outside,

and it has changed how I look.

 

Now that sex is mostly a dead option

and clubable fuckable authors evaporated

I have arrived here.

I have fallen asleep and woke up.

 

(He lied.)

Visitation

Milk for eyes.

 

Desiccated skin.

Dull bones knitting.

 

Sere mind

sits roomy airless.

 

Memories shrivel

to the barest of pasts.

 

The jumper’s neck hangs.

Feet retreat from shoes’ edges.

 

The chair you sleep in

sighs when you slow-rise.

 

But this is no distilled essence.

Something’s lost.

The sap gone.

The juiciness connecting now to then.

 

An emotion paints itself into a new picture.

 

You are less than you.

Unshone Eye

 

I took a stiletto,

rammed it, right in-

slick shiny steel jabbed

to the gut of understanding.

 

Dug it in, deep,

twisted it

to the bowels of recall.

 

Manufactured memories

spilled out,

fingers

messily red,

 

unhinging themselves

from my cataracted

version of me.

 

Splayed freely, slimy persona

awkwardly gasping

strangled by new facts.

 

Spider House

First, the egg-smoothe babies of May

which the cat stalks and swallows. Then,

 

shiny black specks on the high White ceilings.

They move like tiny clouds. Imperceptibly.

 

Spun on the trellis, a concatenation of successive webs.

Crawling through gaps in the skirting

they scoot across the floor.

 

A dot of a body with impossibly long legs,

or like today’s one, a body the size of a thumbprint

With rugby players knees.

 

They either freeze unmoved for days,

or scramble the minute you go looking for a tumbler.

They peak in September, half the size of your hand.

 

Last night, with the light off, I swear I heard them walking.

I sleep, knowing they’re everywhere.

Electrifying

Hauf a wa’

stood alangsides

the forraway back

two streets doon.

 

Bombed-oot hooses

still hud live wires

stickin oot, waitin

tae go aff.

 

Wahn wire hingin

fae the first flair,

jist

oot o reach,

beckoned n sparked

 

an we’d take a runnin

jump

but never goat a

grip o it’s winkin eye.

 

We made up fur it

by gettin an auld battery,

nthen wahn ae us licked it

while we a’ held hauns.