Poems

Whirlpool

I used to think truth vital,

Now I don’t think that at all.

Only in diminutive incarnations

is it relevant. I wish I’d seen

the tornado that levelled

Kensal Green last year.

When I compare the faces

of theme park junkies

after coasters and splashdown slides,

the soaking look so broken,

rigor mortis shivering,

straight-backed legs akimbo.

Scream for double-helix loops,

for in-line 4G brace your neck

don’t lose your shoes,

but one day the boat will return

and Shelley will be dead

and you won’t come crying to me.

I’m so dirty, the water’s turning black.

I think I’d better shower, pull the plug.

Quitter

Beg your neighbour, his curtain closed,

call a nurse from the nether ward

to lead him down those sandstone stairs.

Not that he’s no saint, but I’m bored

by the hack in his lung. Earnest by-line

coughing keeps my steel plate spinning

and sister I’d crash for a milligram’s

silence, intravenous if you please.

Thrice nightly the boa constrictor

checks my pulse and robbed of sleep

I swallow the double-baked lotus.

Vatic sputum’s spat, the silver bowl

spills shrill to the frigid laminate

and the ringing’s a circlet on stone,

no bended knee to stoop despairing hand.

Senorita Bonita meets the Shadow

Don’t be fooled by the path

through the forest

that your bridges

will hold in slick weather.

His gift’s a heavy torque to wear,

see how it chafes you.

The pale wraith is the miracle worker spent,

so spend a lonely hour to learn

how gods alike must die alone.

The hunters need not speak

of what they woke on the heath that day:

my image is set in rock above the city,

and now you see my footprints in the snow.

Call it a conversion if you must,

but blinding light is rarely binding.

You’ll find the morning after

as you left this afternoon.

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