A collection of poems and other writings...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Darning Socks

Clouds on the horizon. 
Clouds, smoky and grey, pre-empting the passing season - sandal-free days. 
So I spend my afternoon darning socks.

There must be something remarkable in the angle of my toenails for no matter how short I clip them, they are inclined to devastate the yarn above.
They are the Big Toes that create the greatest destruction, incising against the inside of the toecaps of my boots, shredding the thread, fracturing the fabric. Now, the next time the socks are worn they must be slipped each on the other foot, so the holes hover each above the middle toe, Toe Three. Meanwhile, Big Toes set to work again, feasting anew on virgin textile. And come nightfall, as I toe-heel out of my loafers, there are now two pale planets of nail and flesh luminous against a dark woollen skyscape.

'Buy New,' she says, 'for Life is Too Short to spend hours darning holes in such insignificant garments. Buy New!'

But how can I reject my knee-high Prince of Wales plaid?
How can I desert my 'World's Best Dad'? An ankle-borne motto from a time when I was not so worn out by work.
What would I do without the Weekday Run-through – the circling calendar slipping unseen into my shoe? Monday Blue through to Lemon Yellow Sunday.

And these, my wedding socks, black silk softness, will I divorce from them so easily?  Should I slip them along my soles, though now crumpled and ill-fitting, stretched because the size I bought was just a little too short?
Can I render them up? Can I tender them in exchange for something fashionably new? Or should I darn and sew, the way I know how to? Darn and sew, mend and make do.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A Graveside Kiss

Lilies
     dense and white
     and speckled orange
     soft-stemmed funnels of sorrow
     bundled within a polythene sleeve
lie
     on the mound of churned earth
     that will cover her coffin
we
     thumb paper tissues
     into our palms
     sidle together
     our heads at forty five
     though a more subtle angle
     between your body and mine
     for we are inclined to weep
we each
     lean on the other's arm
     our soft palates each clamped
     against the grief
     tongues tying the tragedy tight

but here
     amongst the cannas and tigers
     a bumble bee
     fumbles one by one into the flower cones
     re-emerges after a moment
     reversing from each powdery trumpet
     pollen like polenta
     dusting its busby black and belisha fur
then
     its forage complete
     now all sweetness is gone
     it rises against the breeze
     and flies close
     between your shoulder
     and your ear
you
     flinch
     and shudder
     as the wing-disturbed air
     broaches your neck
     an intimate breath
     a whispered kiss
     at the graveside

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

H-Bomb

I climb the corner
from Valley into Upper Valley Road
the licorice evening
cat-curling round my feet

young boy
ten
walking towards me
drops an H-bomb
as he passes

I stutter my surprise
but then
remembering
its sometimes
good to connect
return the greeting

Hello
I say
back


Friday, 7 July 2017

jockey shorts

In an attempt
to drive
his taunting teenaged son
from his bedroom
as he tries to prepare for bed
the father strips
completely

naked
to the blue thread veins
that run across his chest
to the varicose vessels
that meander
from his groin
and delta down his inner thigh

the lad jeers
cheerily
at the whiteness
of the pallid skin
stretched shining
over the ridges of the shins

scoffs
at the loose-toned buttocks
revealed
as shapeless
jockey shorts
are thumbed down from the hips

complains
as a curtain of pendulous stomach
undulates in
a galloping adipose syncopation

but is silenced
as the father's flaccid weapon
larger than his own
claims victory
over the moment

the father
ignores the abuse
chooses to centre himself
in his thoughts
tosses the shorts
to the dirty linen basket
shakes creases
from folded pyjamas
stored beneath the pillow
ties a double bow
in the thick white cord
to ward against
further
more physical
attack


but
eventually
the lad grows up
and
sees that
he is
now the one
who strips to the white bone
before sleeping
contemplates
a ruined temple
as he yearns
for some more sensuous

corporeal sensation

Monday, 3 July 2017

Terrifying

Another piece from an Electric Tomatoes session - this was the first warm up exercise and the prompt was 'terrifying'....

Not there. Not like that.
Like what?
Not like that.  Have you done this before? Get your arm underneath.
It is, it is.
No, all the way round. Take the weight, take the weight.
I don't think I can.
Yes you can. Don't be daft. But perhaps first sit down. She wants to feel held.
Where? Here on the chair?
No, on the sofa, sit there. Take her onto your lap. Then I'll take a snap.
What over here? Shall I sit over here?
Now put out your hands. Put one here and one here. No, under her bum. Just there. Just like that.
Oh I see.  Right, okay.
Now pull her in close. Right into your chest.
Like this.

Like that. You'll soon get the hang, but don't let her head just wobble about.  Hold her tight – and relax. Just breathe – and relax.



Answers on a postcard as to what exactly is going on...

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Will you never kiss my face again - A Villanelle

We've been looking at the villanelle in my writing class, so I thought I'd have a bash at one.  There's something very wistful and slightly archaic about the form for me - the repeated rhymes and refrains.  I have been a little free with the form but I think it is still recognisably a villanelle....


Will you never kiss my face again -
your hands reach out no more, your finger's tip
not trace the line of cheek on down to chin?

Will my tongue not taste your breathy stain
and will your lip not press upon my lip?
Will you never kiss my face again?

Remember times when we embraced in rain.
Remember how we gave the sun the slip.
Now there is terror in this parted pain.

You struck me once, I still recall the sting:
your hand against my cheek – my swollen lip.
Will you never strike this face again?

And tears you cried, when stressing under strain
or contemplating yet another trip –  
for there was terror in that parted pain.

But now the parting is complete. Death's train
has swept you from the platform, made no slip.
Now there is terror in this parted pain
For you will never kiss my face again.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

shell

I meet you
and my heart bleeds words

and so
upon torn scraps of vellum
I write the words down
in my blood ink
to capture
the beating heart of you
in the beating heart of me

I have chosen my most special epithets
and inscribe them
upon this precious parchment

and with a gum construed

from saliva
and sweat
and blood
and tears

I paste them
upon your soft skin
to cling like lips
to each ululating contour
to follow the curve of your cheek
the sweet overhang of your breast
the challenging valleys
the darker ravines of you
shaped and followed
by my anxious collage

and through such moulding
have I not trapped the beauty
of your spirit
within this papiermâché shell

you dance
and dandle
drift and delight
and I adore you
in this cocooned form

even while I watch
the spirit sift like spun sand
from the pulpit
of your eyes
and listen
to the sea
shudder in your breast