Monday, 16 March 2009

January 22nd 2008 (Published in Ouroboros Review 2009)

"Your world seems as far away as my mind" (Jenny Cook)

I
Not that morning, the morning
after – the tomorrow as it were –first
there comes the waking, ignorant
as a creature still asleep in a tree cut down.

Then, following a shuffle through
the detritus of spent party poppers,
the name and face leaps onto the
buzzing screen. The room smells of rain.

Locking the door the morning dark requires
stiff fingers to fish for a phone to guide the key.
What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that's simply the way it is.

II

Still enduring Class A hang-
over from a declassified night
stumble amidst the rain-cleansed grasses
as the solemn dew curdles to a thick soup.

The headache is painless so split
a fifth of absinthe or worse. Clapping crowd
ready; lift the heavy guitar
(more axe than ever) and pause on the stairs.

The stage awash with a week's worth of sweat;
one pair of eyes - filled with the knowledge of what
happened - equally glazed beneath the orange
glow issued forth from plastic palms aloft.

What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that's simply the way it is.

III

That night seeking the familiar
comfort of popcorn perfume and dark
a performance to turn away academy eyes
and though they look now it is no less deserved.

Each of us, breath held, longs to be
nothing but him as he slides, with the
fibre-optic elegance his
talent allows, into anyone but himself.

Guaranteed is the award for the mimic
that gets to show the world his young chess moves
in the inevitable biopic being
fought over pre-script in studio depths.

What used to be lighters are now mobile phones
that’s just the way it is.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Adrift (as published in London Grip March 09)

There are no fish that swim here
in this mire dark green and viscous.
He always felt at peace in the water
and even now he remembers
how he would toss in a stone
and watch his face tear away with the ripples.

When the wind drops and the sun rises, lazy as lost spirits,
the coffin – a boat for the dead –
is anchored and tranquil
wreathed in tendrils and reeds
somewhere beneath the surface, crystallised with light,
out beyond the storm, beyond reach.

That Winter the bay froze
as his body turned with the sky from dusted
pink dawn into a bruised blue-green dusk,
all warmth and light drawn away like miners pulled
from their tunnels in subtle shifts.
But still he may return
like the others.

Every single one of them
a ghost-limb of the bay
as though the water forgets
to keep what it claims.