Dad, in his Pegasus trunks, dark-
Him skinny and pale, he
Could only dive into the sea, not walk.
He had to have a no-going-back entry
Into the cold and the wet,
And every night a three mile walk uphill for a pint
Cursing the rabbit hole he fell into coming back once
Giving him an ankle like a snake that had swallowed a cricket ball.
The photos from then tell me we
Still held hands, and in each
One I’m looking up at him expecting something.
Attached to the living you.
Then you got gone.
The attachment hung on,
Clutching at the ghost of my understanding.
To a new vision I could live with:
A kinder one, which lets you breathe
Your own air in my heart now
I hallucinate you into existence, my dear dead friend:
wear your denims, one week worn in the holiday hills.
I walk around caressing, pressing their grubby thighs.
I nuzzle the nape of your neck in the night-warm duvet.
I read you, inventing clues, collapse us into timelessness
Hold my hand up in the black air and wait for reciprocity.
I pare the gentle skin from the imagined ink of a committed thought
I presume we’ve made love without even knowing.
Death is the distance, your pulse alive the butterfly wings
Which stir me.
I envisage you a graceless dancer, bursting with fire.
Walking with my two-year-old grandson
Along the avenue by black naked trees
And on thin frosted ground
In the bright winter morning, I showed him
The whiteness of his breath.
The moment could not be undone.
He giggled excitedly at the phenomena,
Hitherto unnoticed which, he gradually realised,
He had an element of control over.
Breath held or expelled.
I had helped make the Natural
Unnatural for him
I thought of this
And everything I’ve written.
The ping of pink skin
Blades flash on ice.
Raspberry juice on ice cream
How pretty the bluing.
My cool mind as crisp as a
Sunny winter’s day
Seconds drip to the floor
where the blood sorbet pools.
Three cheers for the red, white and blue.
The next Now.
It’s universal flow
Is constantly coming.
The unreachable approaches.
The infinite ocean
Swims through us.
The mouth though,
Words spark electrically.
Out to you.
You get me.
To be young and leaving town.
A new wind’s freshness blowing
convictions that the past can’t stop
the budding of your growth.
Supple truths shape you anew,
Pliant with made friends and lovers.
You have made room with an eager discarding
Of bets hedged, dice blindly thrown,
Sorrows dustily stowed in yesterday’s loft.
But old leaves have a habit of sprouting
In your untended garden.
Lie me in a dream: all foggy precision,
the snot-green sea of Mystery coldly lapping.
Float me apart: my ever-expanding self,
It’s atoms light-speed bound by no-time.
Lay me, allay me: beyond truth and lies
On the outreaches, where the edges blur,
Where beginnings ends begin
have me seeing being everywhere
Until there is no me and all.
When I lie beside you desire satiated
another rises, the annihilation of self,
Usurpation of us. Weary of the want
To be everyone and everything,
Let the loneliness dissolve and the aching be absolved.
Have me either god or woo-woo.
I woke to the wonder of pale curtains
and half-shut blinds.
A reflected moon from the neighbouring
attic window glinting through the slats.
A hypnagogic slender Japanese towel
being dried by the mind-breeze
was unveiling its connection
to the metal step-ladders erect and bedside,
and for an eternal minute
something was about to be revealed.