The Dead Geraniums Poem

I am not an ecumenical beast, she told me
Jesus, I had never heard that one before
She was wheezing as she climbed the stairs
Shredding paper, forgot she was allergic to the dust
Paper dust? Old bills, dwindling congregation
Too expensive to keep open, running costs etc
I don’t like the thought of sharing another chapel
There’s a reason we went separate ways you know
No I didn’t know.

I was helping her clear the house
Her family’s terrace house on the side of the hill
Typical Welsh house, love spoons in the hallway
Brass trinkets and gaudy lustre ware on the dresser
Her husband’s porn videos hidden in the shed
Teen Arse Action and Home for the Holidays
Tapes mouldy with Llanelli damp and rat piss
I’d binned them before she could find them
To save her from any faith based embarrassment
She’d told me how he’d made wooden things
On his lathe, in that shed

for the Eisteddfod in ’76
The heatwave year in which we all had melted
Must’ve been pretty steamy in that shed, I thought
Turning shafts of wood into phallus shaped leeks
The dirty bugger, the lives we leave concealed eh
Tosser should’ve had a clear out before he died
I tripped over a pile of his LP’s leant like slates
Against the side of the shit brown shiny wardrobe
Max Boyce Live at Treorchy Rugby Club 1974
Land of My fathers by the Morriston Orpheus
Male Voice Choir.

My God, what dross
Would you like a cup of tea dear, she called out
I’m alright ta, I shouted back, eagerly rummaging
In the wardrobe, a bundle of Woodworker mags
Tied up with string with some Spick and Spans
And a single photo of a busty blond with bouffant
Leaning on the railings of the bus station
The words To my Darling Vaughn, June ’72
Scribbled on the back in pencil
I slipped it in my pocket and ran down the stairs
Calling see you later as I opened the front door
Are you going dear?

But we haven’t made love yet
I disappeared down the street . . .

. . . why did you have to come to me that way?
shapeshifting into my dreams as someone else
someone that made me run away from you
out the door and down the street instead of
well, you know what we could’ve done
but it never seems to end that way does it?

and she smelt of dead geraniums too

endlessly roaming

if i could walk away and endlessly roam 
where if i wanted to would i stop
it seems there are no safe havens left
in a world so troubled in all its corners
i am changed from the man i once was
the past receding at nightmare speed
diminishing my returns at every turn
and every face that i ever looked upon
has turned away and shed more than one tear
an ocean's worth of bought occurrences
i am cheap as a market stall gift
as throwaway as the rest of humanity
writing words to pin on clouds
conjuring dreams to hang my hopes
laughing in the face of a mottling mirror
i am indeed imperfect and lost, perhaps
already journeying out there on the road
walking away and endlessly roaming
with no need to stop even if i wanted to

[at the sound of the bell 
press the carriage release lever]

my beautiful girl

my beautiful girl
went gallivanting off
into the storm
her curls in the clouds
twisted in tree branches
her siren song
whistling with the wind
peeling with thunder
lightened with laughter
her bare feet squelching out
the loughs and the seas
she formed the mountains
with her breasts and thighs
no rest or sleep
whilst I wept and worked
her galley slave oiled and lustful
chained to the oar locks
I dragged across the heavens
the stars for her
and fitted them one by one
into the orbits of her eyes
where shining like diamonds
she became forever
my beautiful dream

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below )

north (sons and daughters)

we travelled south
east and west
each taking a bone
to plant and tend
we grew great forests
gave them names
like laughter, love
tundra, teal

there were swans and lakes
hills and streams
swallows flew
dreams took place

and then one summer
years from then
I caught my breath
inhaled again
and there before me
on the shore
a skiff, a whale boat
nothing more

even the geese have flown

it was as I suspected
it was as I had feared
the footpath was deserted
the mountainside was cleared

empty were the pastures
where her goats had wandered free
the tinkling of their neck bells
no longer calling me

and in the valley woodland
I stood beneath the tree
where she and I first surveyed
the grasslands growing green

it was as I suspected
it was as I had feared
no more her lips to savour
no more her voice to hear

but will the spring return her
to my arms and to my side
in all my dreams I will conjure
my shepherdess, my guide

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

Isn’t that just how dreams are meant to work?

I followed you like an orphaned lamb follows
a shepherdess, blindly bleating, jumping for joy
until you cut my throat and stifled my hunger
with your severing knife of cruellest steel

I know, I know, I didn’t sleep well last night
someone kept calling me out in all my dreams
I suspect it was you but I couldn’t hear your voice
and isn’t that just how dreams are meant to work?

they trick you into believing you are safe with them
that clouds and lambs and eiderdowns are
merry-go-rounds with familiar sounds and
there are painted smiles on the turnstile ponies

but on reflection, in the cold light of morning
I should have heeded the warning signs
and if by chance you should come my way again
leave at home your knife of severing pain

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

l’art pour l’art

opened the curtains
what did I see?
a Henry Moore statue
looking back at me

but which was the back?
and which the front?
and how did it get here?
this bronzed art stunt

I closed the curtains
went back to bed
thought about Henry
dreamt of Braque instead

your name and mine

the storm last night blew
the last remaining heart-shaped leaves
from the poplar trees
and swirled them through my darkest dreams
in which your knuckles rapped upon my eyelids
in which you called from beyond the clouds
my name and your name

and with growing intensity
every last remaining rusting roofing nail
that keeps my house from blowing asunder
jiggled like loose teeth in a crowded coffin box
on which your fingers had once released
the suffocating soil to bury my voice
from that day forth

oh that I would recognise you now
with your hair tangled in windblown knots
and your limbs akimbo amongst the fallen branches
strewn upon the orchard grass
where leaves lie rotting and colour is drained
from cheeks that once were apple flushed
with your lover’s kisses

you are but the ambient past to me
pliant and fluid with a light that glimmers
not guiding or warning or even moving
but still as a mirror on an oaken table
your calfskin gloves neatly folded
heart-shaped leaves from the poplar trees
pressed between the pages of your journal

all substance turned to dust that blows
on the opening of the crackling memory
you offered me no more than you could
the leaf held to the moonlight reveals its veins
as if the blood has been preternaturally drained
and I am left with only an echo
of your name and mine

coverlets

coverlets drape
my wordletting dreams
the printedpoems formingon pillows
i sigh and turn the otherway
to the razorlight that splices my cranium
and inthere somewhere are hiddenthings
that even i havenot yet discovered
perhaps they too are draped with coverlets
perhaps i am they

perhaps it’s an endofday exhalation
or the start of a new discussion . . . ?

Woke up

Woke up, it was a Zappa morning
and the first thing that I heard
was a song inside my windows
from the mofo of inventions
he came a-steaming up like freight train bells
and sang these words to me

Oh, that’s alright folks
We’ll not touch this daylight dial
And we’ll curse it ’till the night comes

Woke up, it was a Mitchell morning
and the first thing that I heard
was the call through yellow curtains
of a taxi cab in the parking lot
that came a-stealing up like the molten sun
to take these words from me

Oh, look out, look out
I’m not the only soul to ever be
Accused of hit and run every second of the day

Woke up, it was a Hendrix morning
and the first thing that I heard
was the dreary sound of a sweeping broom
as it cleared the weeping cobwebs
that fell upon this daybreak like a broken dream
that spilt this cry from within me

Oh won’t you stay
Oh won’t you stay
now the petals of my night time words
have forever blown away

 

(with a little help from my friends:
Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix)