Poem: The Whorehouses of Heaven

gin.jpg

I have been in bed all day;

I have been in Heaven all day,

Pain has shrunk away, by courting

Pain, swigging my way down Gin Alley,

Against the doggerel, poetasters,

Fiddlers, pamphleteers competing with

One another – outrage – I pass the beer

Barrels; the rats and the vomit; the

Scorbutic sailors pulling down their

Pants to prove that their legs aren’t the

Only wooden parts of their anatomy –

He might have been called ‘Black Heart,’

By The Howling Gazette – but the whole

Genitalia was pretty soon as black with

Rotting; his syphilis blooming

 Beautiful fruit

 *

Gaily, he and I strode along –

We didn’t know which perspective

To use – Third person – first person –

No person – so, for the time being, I

Will remain ‘he and I’ until my grammatical

Fever abates

*

Through all the friction and brio,

The pavestones cackled majestically –

Like a flock of jackdaws –

A firecracker of applause

*

They all concurred he was an

Agreeable fellow – though, within

The Scorpionic rabble of his mind, he

Had perfected 365 ways of being eminently

Disagreeable, though he dared only use one

Or two of the mildest forms, on auspicious outings

And  Holidays

*

“Oh, what am I to do!” Bewailed

An out of work actor, marinating, and

Lightly sautéing his sorrows in a flaming

Pint of gin. “I have no one to perform at.

I have all this crazy, restless energy, I

Just do not know what to do with!”

 *

“I’ll tell ye what ye can do with it!”

Advised a scum, slime-throbbing sailor,

“Stick it up yonder arse, and see if she

Has any use for it!”

*

The whole tavern guffawed at this, and

The employability of said yonder arse was

Proven to be very much open-ended

*

But our hero was not amused.

Thumping his liquid bible upon

The desk, he fulminated, mightily,

So that all might hear:

 *

“I HAVE SEEN THE WHOREHOUSES

OF HEAVEN!”

*

Cat calls were issued, and

Vociferous demands were made

To adduce evidence of the verity

Of his ostensibly meretricious

Astronautical navigations

 *

Deliberately jocose prolixity

Aside, something happened

Which no one expected –

The guest began to absquatulate

From the realms of sanity – nay! –

Not just sanity – but humanity

Itself!

*

“I have thrust my face betwixt

The titanic tits of titans!” he yelled.

“Arse, arses, everywhere, and not

A cunt to stink!”

*

His hair burst into flame –

His face ruptured into that

Of an eagle’s, until he had

Become as a Babylonian apkalle,

A crematorial fire reducing his skin

To a squamous black tar; like a

Toasted marshmallow, all crispy

Black on the outside –

Pink and gooey on the

Inside

 *

The whole place burst with

Delight – truly, people did

Not know whether they were

In Heaven or in hell – arses,

Were indeed, everywhere,

Nymphs of isles and sea,

The effluvia of genitalia rising

Like musky incense up to heaven,

To appease Priapus and Kurukulla,

And all other gods of might and

Delight

*

And so our hero was saved –

Though, from what he was saved,

I neither know, nor can tell, only

That, with that maritime smell,

London was gusted up into the rafters

Of illusion’s swellest theatres, and

Opened, once and for all, to Mary

Shelley’s soiled garters

 *

And so:

I have been in bed all day

I have been in Heaven all day

 

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Poem: Black Narcissus

black-narcissus

Black Narcissus was the scent he wore,

Shipped abroad from a damp, London store;

But the Himalayas are no place for

Trifles – the monks might blow their

Dungchen – the sky-like diamond, dissolved,

Boring into every skull, driving nuns

Into solid hysteria – withdrawal symptoms –

Cold turkey for confinement

 

But, the world will not brook confinement;

Whatever mausoleum or rock you might hide

Under, there will always be some hand

To pry you out, and throw you into the

Gorge

 

And, it’s doing you a favour, whether

You think it so, or no; for though you

Might like the texture of your cold,

Clammy rock – the party’s raging in

The sky – and you needs must be tossed

Into it – or else, you needs must

Die

 

Deborah Kerr’s eyes are too

Big to see the Himalayas –

They are a mountain range

Unto themselves – each eye,

A moon yoked into harness,

Taking legions of men, of

Faeries, to pivot each titanic

Swivel – from left –

To right

 

The wind eats you alive

Up here – it decodes the

Rancid electricity of your

Mind, and scatters your

Thoughts like a murder of

Crows, disseminating prophesy

And madness, in every unspent

Direction

 

Wounds can be subtle things –

A perfect apple may perch on

A bough – a tiny, cylindrical incision

The only omen of its curse, fertilizing

It with fetor and rancour, though its

Skin remain so red, so plump

 

Just like Kathleen Byron, before

She goes in for the kill –

Every murderess must look

Elegant – every murderess must

Know when to torch her nun’s habit,

So she can paint her sex on all,

Putting on the lipstick, slowly,

Watching the candle waver;

Waver like your waxing sanity,

So eager to be free

 

There was nothing ever wrong

With you – you just wanted to be loved –

But neither East nor West could prove

To you anything but the vastness of

Heartlessness – the stoical, British

Cruelty, that offers only reproving

Condemnations, when it should

Love, kiss, and hug

 

But, it was too late for you,

Kathleen, though I might

Itemize every last bead of sweat on

Your feverish brow – to let them roost

In my mouth like a cavern of unspoken

Words, each sizzling in the guano, of

Desire, never to be met

 

You little coquette, you

Ravening Dakinis, tiptoeing

Crazily on the ledge of that

Sky-drowning gorge, to throw

Her in – that stinking harlot –

Wrap her up in gauze, and toss

Her into time’s hungry jaws!

 

With the bell’s rope tied

Around your neck, they could

Hear the certifiable crack of your

Spine, after every ghastly peal was

Rung

 

And, all for two ghastly nations –

Two jewels in the tiara of evil,

Who know not how to kiss, or

Love

 

 

Poem: Misremembered Ages

craneseasonsdance

How can I claim to be natural?

I am artificiality itself – I am a spheroid

Dagger of craggy mass, stabbing itself

With synthesis. I might be a Buddhist –

But I am a British Buddhist – which makes of

Me an obsequious gallimaufry of unresolved

Humours, too confused to know

Competition

*

I try to make of myself an elven

King, whilst living the life of a Hogarthian

Grotesque – vice versa – shitting upon the

Rubric of an antiquated past;

Pretensions to being

A gentleman

*

And, I am gentle. With all my

Wrathful rage and fury, I could

Be a murderous sailor. But, instead

I sit quietly, sipping vodka and cointreau,

On a sofa so comfy, it might as well

Be a strait jacket

II.

Thus I am artificial:

I am artificial as a flower

Fatted on sodium lighting,

Flinching every time it sees

The sun

*

And I haven’t seen the sun

For a long while – all is streaky

Non-clarity here. Ignorance clothes

Itself in morbid mists; causes all gods

To revert to titans, so appalled by

Their own divinity that they must

Degrade themselves as much as possible

To make sense of anything

At all

III.

“Do you know who I am?” she cried,

“I am the ivy that chokes the tower – I am

The prickle of the holly – I am the ruination of

Misremembered ages your heart romanticizes!”

*

We looked at her, and our hearts beat louder

Than our pricks: for that gracious green lady

Was stood among us – the tailoress of our land –

Who, with heaving breast, narrates the forbidding

Thunder of every falling

Acorn

*

“King Oak!” she called out, turning to

He. “Uproot yourself from your

Nightmarish quiescence, and address

Your people! They are benighted

By Technology’s stifled screams,

And whimper under refrigerated

Blankets that weep with need and

Greed.”

*

Thus, The King of oaks ejected

Himself, and let loose a gallows

From every bough, promising to

Squeeze shut the lungs of anyone

Who dared disagree

IV.

Is this the memory of our

Land? Is that the visionary

Eternal ‘season of mists’ that

Bewails itself on a birdless

Harbour, fluttering and flushing

With birds?

*

Bristol – I was for you.

But Mercury had other ideas.

I meant to pursue the memory of

Thomas Chatterton – but reality was

Too busy forging the documents through

Which it hoped to falsify

My existence

V.

And, artificial as I

Am, I still exist: I exist

As a microchip in the cell

Of a harpsichord, pounding

Out the recitative of

Ages

*

I have programmed myself

This way – I have programmed

Myself to be beautiful and utterly

Ridiculous. I know a great

Deal of people love me, readily calling

Me ‘Wise One’ and ‘Beautiful Soul.’ And,

Yet still I abominate this wisdom, and

Am humiliated by that beauty, I’m so

Terrified to lose

*

John Donne did not die – his

Uncertainties are my uncertainties –

Like him, I can reason and misreason

My way out of or into any plausible or

Implausible outcome – a modified T. S.

Eliot, sipping tea from a lavatory

Basin

VI.

For, aren’t we all in a

Wasteland? Aren’t we all

Looking over that un-narrow

Gulch that separates us from the happiness

Of Ages?

*

I dreamed of that wasteland –

Wild lions skirted its outlines;

A landscape so demented,

Verdure knew it not

*

I saw the kissing chasm

I longed to cross it

But saw no crossing

*

Drawing closer, its crossing

Became apparent – hidden in

The landscape, it was immensely

Accessible, for those that drew

Close enough

VII.

And, my love! My sweet,

Jurisdictional love! Maybe

Once you’ve experienced the

Pain of what it is to be persistently

In pain, you will forgive me for my

Excesses, for it is only out of concern

For your futurity that I suffer

So

VIII.

I screamed

I punched the door

I punched the floor

What was I trying to

Do? To punch my way

Out of the torso of a body

That had enwombed me for

Quite long enough?

*

How furious the child must

Be in its womb! And how repentant

It is once it’s left!

IX.

To the Australian Aborigines,

It was the husband who had

Visions of his child first

*

Well, today, whilst walking

In a copse, conversing with a

Trio of messengers, disguised as

Alder trees, a child came to me

In a vision – I was its father –

Would I accept it?

*

Rivulets of fire surged up

My spine, and out of my eyes –

I thought I was growing the wings

Of an angel; but in truth the wings of

A devil, a dragon, a gorgon,

A titan

*

“I course I’ll accept you – my

Son – my daughter!” I cried out

To the ravens of the wood. “Of course

I will have you, my sweet babe!” I called

Out to The White Goddess whose skin is

Like the silver of snow. “Of course I will

Have you, my only one! Ensconce yourself

In the predestined womb of my bride, and

I will be walking, wandering, waiting –

Walking,

Wandering,

Waiting.”

*

I have never wanted children –

But, for you, there is no principle;

No favour or preference I would

Not violate. Like the Mad King who

Sacks his whole kingdom to convert it to

The religion of his bride; I would sack the

Ancestral Kingdom of my Ideals, so you

Could sleep peaceful in its ruins. Wrapped

Up in a silver blanket of aspen leaves, we will

Sleep peaceful through the fires and thunders;

Through the spoliation of maddened sailors,

Skinning citizens with fingers like the hard beaks

Of crows

X.

After that, the child left.

I went home, to try and groom

Myself into a gentleman, amidst

The incendiary of inflammation’s

Fury

*

To the future!

To the future!

A toast to the future!

On the back of Kundalini’s

Agonies, I slither into

The Future out of

Misremembered

Age

Poem: The Arpeggio

piano

In the certain rising of an

Arpeggio, can you hear the

Steady ascent of a sephirotic

Ladder

Climbing up to Heaven?

*

Relativity cuts this ascent into

Nebulosity – and so the ladder falls,

Crippled into curvature – a soft snake-

Charmery of deceit, going round and

Round, and round

*

‘Tantra’ means ‘Continuity’ – and

Yet, in my life, all I can feel is the

Continuity of silence and isolation.

When I walk down the street, I see

No interfamilial homo sapien I can

Greet in fellowship – only a humanized

Mockery of deformity that reminds me

How singular, how insular,

I am

*

What have I to do with these homogenized

Creatures? I would like to pretend to be a

‘Man of the People’ – but, I am about as

Demotic as an iceberg – an ill-giving thorn

Designed to protect,

And not delight

*

All through the night, I lay

On a bed, inflamed by the moon;

I felt my cavities as one with the lunar

Surface, far-off, yet still influencing

The world

*

I pray for all. But do I

Ever pray for the end of this

Loneliness?

*

No.

*

It is hard to pray for something

One is almost pathologically unable

To imagine. Loneliness is my best

Friend – it has never left me, nor

Let me leave it. Except for those strange,

Brief moments, when fires broke out of

A sudden in the winter’s cold

*

And it is always winter here –

Summer is but a solar flare –

A single hair from a flaming

Maiden, who has long since burnt

To death

II.

Yesterday, I sat in a church,

Entranced by stained glass that

Bespoke vivid visions of a silent

Past. To think of you sat beside

Me, gazing up in admiration of

What you saw; what you wrested

From these windows with your

Uncanny imagination – that thought

Alone was able to win a smile,

Triumphant, against the lingering

Gravity of the day

*

For an artist to be without their

Muse, is like a populous planet

To be without the sun that nourishes

It: no creation can form –

Only dust upon lifeless dust

III.

But, still, there is life –

Still there is that ineluctable

Call to prayer, that rouses life

In the boniest of bones, making

Queen Bees out of dull Worker

Drones

*

How can I feel joy in life

That only offers more tortures

Based on repetitions and elaborations

Of the same old historic patterns?

*

Can’t there be some sudden break?

Some drastic fissure? That sunders

Unhappiness from the weight of the

Past, so that to the isles of gaiety,

We can surely sail?

*

A collision of two worlds –

That’s what I dreamed of

At first, it was just a blip –

A comma punctuating the blank

Page of Heaven –but soon enough,

It was upon us; I was amazed at

How still everything remained –

There was no rising heat – no

Apocalyptic tremors. Even when the

Planet was so close, you could make

Out its individual continents and

Houses, still, nothing seemed to

Change

*

And no one else could see it

Only me

Only me

IV.

And so, I l climbed inside

That arpeggio, and found

A forbidden home for myself

In the isolated harmonies carved

Out by its root, third, fifth, and

Octave – these notes played

Violently above me like the

Mechanical threshings of a

Great big threshing machine –

And I bore deeper into those

Unused harmonies, knowing they

Were the only places I would not

Get hurt

*

But then I became sick of

Not being hurt – I got sick

Of staying stuck in these isolated

Pockets – these infinitesimal sanctuaries

Of non-arpeggiation

*

But the threshing machine

Offered me no place to go –

The gaps between the notes

Played on that hurtling repetition

Of Arpeggio were just too fleeting to

Allow an exit

*

I thought, if I stayed here long

Enough, that I could tighten my

Reflexes, so that even the smallest

Window of opportunity could be

Exploited by my martial prowess

*

The Arpeggio never stopped –

Its notes drummed into me day

And night – the hands above played

It with tireless, arthritic abandon,

And I could only tell the times of the

Seasons, by the way the intervals

Revolved around themselves

V.

In autumn, the Arpeggio

Would still carry on playing;

But the keys on the harpsichord

Would become cold and scratched,

And the whole surface of the instrument

Would begin to fleck off its

Colour, until it was repainted again

In spring.

VI.

But then, one day, the Arpeggio

Suddenly stopped. This was

Unprecedented. Just how could

An Arpeggio stop?

Isn’t the Arpeggio

God?

*

But God is also The Anti-Arpeggio –

And isn’t the anti-Arpeggio what I

Had been all along?

*

So, in the interval of his

Un-falsifiable intervals,

I escaped through the gaps

Of the now rusted and placid

Threshing machine, and found

Myself a spot of freedom

In the absence of glory and

Sound

*

Truly, the keyboardist

Returned to his instrument –

But I was no longer the one

Being instrumentalized – I was

No longer the victim of a sonata

That has no beginning or end

VII.

And the Arpeggio resumed playing,

With myself being threshed by it,

Every part of me reaped to be an

Unspoken melody’s fodder

*

Because the Arpeggio cannot

Be hidden from – it is the Lord of

Both Sound and Silence

And if you can find something that

Annihilates both of them, then maybe

This poem will finally end with

Me asking once again:

“In the certain rising of an

Arpeggio, can you hear the

Steady ascent of a sephirotic

Ladder

Climbing up to Heaven?”

Poem: Love At First Sound

bird

Man, I met this girl last night,

A creature of comely, ethereal delight;

But when she uncrossed her legs, as she

Sat on her chain, I thought “Spence could

Fit a whole flock of jackdaws in there!”

So, I took her home, this mystery

To plumb – when her port cullis

Lowered, I was struck dumb – a flock

Would not fill this vaginal Canterbury –

Nay, all the crows in the world – a bird

Sanctuary!

I could hear the squawking of macaws,

The ruffling of pigeons – even a lake

Of placenta to house all her widgeons!

She asked me to please her, I said –

“I’m not a plumber! The man for this

Job is my afro-haired drummer!”

 *

I introduced him to her, and from

The moment he heard, the internal

Cooing of her uterine birds, it was love

At first sound – now, he drums her all

Day – and, at their wedding, I caught the

Bouquet – and wished to meet a lady,

To cure this heart sore, ne’er

Again having to shout –

“1, 2, 3 – JACKDAW!”

 

 

 

Poem: Woman in the Mackerel Shawl

Talmage, Algernon, 1871-1939; The Mackerel Shawl

You are the prism through which

Shines the light of my every

Experience; whatever I am,

Whatever I do, I think how

Much sweeter it would be

If I could share it with you;

Whether the art of painting,

Or ancestral architecture –

I want to hear your impressions –

To let you lecture – to pour forth

The gleanings of a most beautiful

Mind – the chains of which this

Locksmith hopes to unbind

II.

We could go to the art gallery together,

To escape the assaults of the drear autumn weather;

Make up stories about the characters in the paintings

We see:

Like The Woman in the Mackerel Shawl,

Her pain reflected in the mirror –

What is the cause – the origin of

Her fear? Is she hoping to look

Beautiful for an unfaithful love,

She knows even Venus hasn’t

The power to move? But the pain

Palpitates – she may not even

Lift the chain from its grate – better

To be imprisoned, than look in the

Eyes, of a paramour whose indifference

Cannot be disguised.

III.

But I have no one to make up

These stories with – no lover to

Fortify what my heart misgives –

A girl passes, clinging tightly, to

Her partner’s arm – the jealous

Beauty of that moment – my nerves

Are disarmed – even that seems a

Wish – a glass unfulfilled – (and it’s

No wonder I’m bereft after the last heart

I spilled!) – But still I look through this

Prism, colorizing the light, casting

Rays on my lonely train journey

Tonight

I’ve Got a Little List – Reuben’s Version

groucho_marx_koko_the_mikado_bell_telephone_hour_1960

As someday it may happen that a victim must be found –

I’ve got a little list x2

Of society offenders who might well be underground –

and none of them be missed! X2

There’s the journalistic jingoists who write The Daily Mail

All children who use slang terms like ‘LOL’ and ‘EPIC FAIL’

Bestial politicians who like to shag pig heads

Which explains why there’s always bacon in David Cameron’s bed

And all female prime ministers who’d better off desist –

Theresa May is on the list!

I’m sure she’d not be missed!

 

There’s the Radio One disc Jockeys and the others of their race,

And the piano accompanist – Helen’s on the list!

All people who have their smart phones pressed like THIS against their face –

They’d none of them be missed x2

And the idiot who praises with enthusiastic glee

The soap operas and talent shows beamed into their TVs

There’s X-Factor and Emmerdale, and anything with Simon Cowell

Whose face would look much improved impaled on a trowel

And any number of Rupert Murdoch’s phone-tapping journalists!

They’d none of them be missed x2

 

There’s that EU Brexit nonsense which just now is rather rife

And Jeremy Clarkson’s publicist – I’ve got him on the list!

Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, and other clowns of political life –

They’d none of them be missed x2

And unapologetic statesmen like that devil Tony Blair

Searching for Weapons of mass destruction that we knew were never there

Claiming we had to liberate their country from turmoil

When all he really wanted was more reserves of oil

But it really doesn’t matter which politician goes on the list

For they’d none of them be missed

They’d none of them be missed!

Poem: Visions of the Sea

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By the sea with you

You are wearing an electric

Blue dress – the same color

As the storm, which, even now

Is conducting the sea outside our

Villa into a crazed anti-petrifaction

Of chaotic ferment

*

The curtains rail against the

Inside and outside of the villa,

Like opaque sheets of strung-up

Skin, searching for a skeleton to

Starve to death with the famine

Of perfect definition

*

But we are both too

Tired to pay tribute to

The storm – instead, we

Pay drunken courtship to

Morpheus, the god of Dreams,

Lying foetal, intersect, with one

Another, on the darkened couch,

Swaddled in lighting, tenebrous,

And escorted by the presence of

Invisible oneiric courtiers, whose

Nature can only be alluded to in

The snuffing out of candles, and

The jettisoning of empty

Treasure chests, which will

Sink to the bottom of the

Ocean, never to be found

*

I know I am happy

Because I am asleep

There can be no sadness

In sleep, until the horrorful

Bliss of dreams is washed away

By the screaming tides of sentience –

The crisis of an indestructible consciousness

That longs to be forgotten

*

We have both drunk too much –

My tuxedo is damp from laughter

And dancing – whilst your dress still

Covets the jealous outlines of your body,

Which your dreams will tear off, and your

Death put back on

*

If the champagne’s gone anywhere,

It’s taken us both with it – as I dream,

Lodged in the haven of your sleeping

Heart, I feel that I am out in the wrestling

Arms of that stormy sea, and you are the frail

Raft – my angel in three boards,

That keeps me from going under

*

II.

You stir for a moment –

Your happy, drunken lids

Obliterate me with their

Favour; your gaze, lopsided,

Trying to emerge from

A liquor-soaked nervous

System, still a million

Miles from synchrony

*

In the phantasmagoria

Of that half-waked moment –

Can these loveless lips borrow

That semi-conscious kiss from

The future, if I promise to

Dutifully return it once time

Crystallizes it into reality?

*

I can feel it all so fully,

So sensuously, so lucidly,

So urgently

*

But I am not in that

Storm-girt room with you –

Only in the stifling room of

My sadness-girt, lonesome

Cosmos of consciousness,

Watching The Proms after

A show, trying to find some

Auspicious truth, in the fragile

Clutter of my dreams

*

What will I find there

To hold onto? A few kind

Words? A mint edition collection

Of now stale embraces? A scattering

Of this seasons prophecies, all by

Wishes misconstrued?

*

I will find what I will

Find. And once the parties

Are all over, and the glasses

Have been drained, I will

Abscond to that storm-girt

Villa, and wait for you to

Find me

Poem: The Handsome Beggar

rennoir.jpg

A sadness like mist trickles down

The hills, blue canyons rent in space,

Pellucid, inviting impressionism to

Invent itself

*

I cannot find a version of myself

That hits the spot. Nothing is ever

Good enough. No sooner do I

Cast myself in a new mold, than

I instantly want to fracture it

 *

Grief, grief, unbearable grief –

Must you churn me in your teeth

Gnawing away all things jolly

To ferment the milk of melancholy?

*

I wanted to feel beautiful again,

So I had a friend dress me up as a girl,

To try and restore a purity of innocence –

An innocent beauty from younger days

*

But all I found was a purity of sadness

A mist of yearning hid behind the eyes

Whatever beauty remained, distilled in

Scars, incisions borrowed from surgical

Skies

 *

Our tribal ancestors thought scars

Were beautiful – like coffee or blood

Stains on a book’s frail page – they tell

Stories words cannot image; a secret

History, embossed on skin – each razor

Wound indicating where the narrative

Begins

*

What do my scars tell you about me?

Not necessarily the ones carved on

My arms and thighs – what about those

Writ on the sealed circumference of my

Iris? The unhappy diameter of my heart?

The too-tight cage of my lungs?

 *

II.

But, the battle still rages

On: Hope and hopelessness

War – Optimism verses

The insecure

 *

From the ruins of the

Tower, we carried a headless

Body – it was not long before

We were in captivity

 *

And that is why I cannot be

Content with just any one

Version of myself – they feel

Like hollow silhouettes – vile

Caricatures – fragments from

A whole these mockeries injure.

Medusa wears no make-up –

She will not just show you the

Cream of the crop, but the whole

Nest of vipers, following the call

Of a demented piper, paving

The way to Hopelessness’s

Home

 *

III.

For, I am in love

And there is nothing

I can do about it

Except swing on my

Rope, and watch

The pendulum run to

And fro, waiting for

Some decisive blow

To thunder me out

Of this

Stalemate

Thus my heart asseverates:

 *

“Pain is love’s foremost fruit

Gnawing away at the root

Joy is but its fading flower

Seldom lasting more than an hour

But pain teaches us more than joy

So this suffering I will employ

To empathize with every living thing

Fatted on my tears, nourishing,

 *

I will love you, though it hurt,

To be with non-reciprocation girt

And from the loaming of my wounds

The flower of compassion will ever bloom

And with these words, I will cease,

To glut on melancholy’s feast

For now they bring in the dessert –

Lover’s pain and lover’s hurt

 *

I will love you till the end

I will love you as a friend

But wishing I could be your groom

Knowing there will ne’er be room

For me in your incisive heart –

I will wait outside, with wounds that smart

For the dissolution of my sins,

When you let this handsome beggar in”

 

Poem: Connoisseur of Pain

Study for Portrait II (after the Life Mask of William Blake) 1955 by Francis Bacon 1909-1992

Has anything really changed

Since I was a child, or a teenager?

Not really. Life is still painful. I

Still long to see the sight of my

Own blood. But the pain is different

Now – it is rich, vibrant, colourful,

Stratified – where once it might just

Have seemed uniform. This is not a

‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Pain, but pain

For a connoisseur – the kind of pain

A Man of Distinction might hang on a

Wall, and comment on, in educated tones:

“Do you notice the brushwork? The way the

Knife wounds have been wrought is particularly

Exquisite” – a pain of such extraordinary

Refinement that it can only be exhibited in

Prestigious museums on special occasions.

I suppose I am blessed: I can have complete

Unrestricted access to this pain whenever

I wish . . . and even when I don’t! This pain

Is my oyster; my sweet, little slave, always

Ready to torment me without bidding. But

The best time for viewing it is in the mornings

And evenings – that is when the light, or

The lack thereof, exposes my pain to such

Perfect conditions, that it cannot help but

Be magnified. If people could see

Me as I actually felt, and not just as

I appear, they would not see a seasoned

Man of tranquillity; but a pincushion,

A corpse, a voodoo doll loaded and

Impaled with blunt instruments of

Torture; whose body has become infected

Through unkind words, and whose skin

Has begun to rot away and shrink, for

Want of being touched.

I feel like a sick man in his

Death-bed: and yet, it is somehow worse than

That, for I know I must get up tomorrow,

And find a way,

To carry on

Living