boneyard

the thing i'm struggling with most is 
simply finding a comfortable position in 
which to sleep at night when my bones scrape
through the parchment stretched like a canvas
on which an artist daubed all the colours of
his palette with a knife once reserved for
cutting their bread into slices of time that
gathered blue spots of mould reminiscent of
summer skies shot blasted with sea spray
seen from under a curling wave in which
we tumble down green seaweed grass hills to
end our days in a graveyard overlooking the
town in which our mothers have spread their 
legs and forced our heads screaming for air 
through bloodied soil and our ancestors bones
bleached on the beaches where they walked

there i go . . .

i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . . 
i stare out windows and search for that place
lost now in the cosmic dust that made us all
white noise with undertones of . . .
there in the distance my words yet unspoken
my thoughts untrammelled and unvisited
unexpected migrants . . . 
the clouds move like shoals of silver herring
blue and green bubble filled orchestrations
uplifting to where . . .
can i be expected to manage these landscapes?
i feel landlocked and desolate inhabiting them
there i go . . .
i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . . 
i stare out windows and search for seagulls
on the beach chalk rocks littered like skulls
through a child's eye . . .
his father's voice is but a long dead echo
walking backwards on the sand as the waves wash
footsteps away . . .
i know i know i know everything and nothing
such a long time ago when summer held my hand
tenses squabbling . . . 
waves washing through a child's eye 
seagulls pecking at the bleached empty sockets
landlocked landscapes clouded with herring skies
a migrant made of distant cosmic dust
backwards into summers a long time ago
when father's voice spoke to me
i know i know i know
i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . .
there i go . . .

appealing to the wrong audience

i don't know where i am anymore
anymore than i know where you are
this disconnect between writer and disseminator  
strikes through words with scalpel blade precision
surgical laughter turns into a litany of proclamations
an irregularly shaped pearly glow surrounds the darkened disc of the moon
and you have fled into the night with your tail between your legs
to drown as you always planned

i can't possibly help that can i?
it doesn't matter how many of your faces appear on my screen
each one is an unread book that i will never read
reality is a complex mycorrhizal network of incidents
propelled from where we came from
from where we cannot imagine travelling to in our dreams
when we have lost our grip on our racing pulses
when silence explodes in our dying skulls

can you see that day?

untitled lives

the boxes are full of dead people
they smile and wave at me without motion
frozen in time but lacking cryogenic hope
there are so many of them it becomes overwhelming
the past is a silent place filled with muted voices
only I can put the words into their mouths
only I can tell their stories in my own words
and if I dump the boxes in the trash?
who will know they ever lived and loved?

Thinking of you, dad

my father died when I was 7 and he was 37
I have virtually no memory of him
beyond photos and a few sketchy dreamlike scenes
that may or may not have occurred
but oddly his ‘spirit’
(for want of a better word)
seems to find me on occasions
when I am least expecting it
again, this is probably of my own making
or related to some trigger event
but nevertheless it keeps me tethered to him
in a way that makes me thankful
that not everything in life and death
can be fully explained

Thanks to Jon for his poem this morning
that triggered mine. You can find it on this link:

https://jonstainsby.wordpress.com/2020/03/02/thinking-of-you-mum/

in a flash of light

in a flash of light
your bare shoulder
by the naked bulb
flicked on and off

in a flash of light
your fragile face
bright flashlight lit
photo framed

in a flash of light
your bulging belly
now filled with life
lightning struck

in a flash of light
your flickered eyes
shut and fastened
darkest night

Coming Up: Soho 1980

these narrow stairs funnel bodies
pumped up from the street
fluorescent lights strip us naked
through a sudden smog of exhaled
– smoke and sweat and noise
music muffling our way
a stacked sound system
everything is solid yet floating
you shout in my ear:
how many heartbeats per second?
– we’re coming up
– we’re coming up
dry ice amyl nitrate discotheque
London locals insouciant
out of town tourists wide eyed
assorted low life stereotypes
up that narrow staircase
above that Chinese takeaway
you shouted in my ear:
you feel what I feel?
but I’d forgotten who you were
and all I knew was I loved you
and that’s what I told you
– over and over as we danced
– past present future conjoined

King’s Road 1979

our breath formed misty clouds
the breeze stole the warm droplets
it used them for its own benefit
to break down the morning grey
with the help of the sun beyond
black taxi cabs prowled the streets
city rats searching for their next meal
I held your hand a little too tightly