Poem: Trip to Birmingham


To make the train tide bearable,
Hallucinating mountains in the mist,
Invading Midlands with Celtic madness,
Obscuring horizons with mind escarpments,

To stop the crush of people,
The crossed knees, twitching fingers,
Glazed eyes with hermetic headphones,
The invasion of territory,
In this enclosure of ribs,
My soul needs space to breathe

Disembarking at the university,
Riding the stripes of zebra crossings,
Spectral, the clock tower,
Phallus of the diurnal, emerges,
Dictating the lines of tidal students,
The glowing face, a giant’s candle,
Luminating the cold supper time of Winter

Students regard me as a thing to eat,
What am I – a new professor?
Some expert on the Permian Extinction,
Or the magma inside ourselves?

Truly, a universe, but a universe
Excited by the discovery of itself,
Attaching microscopes and electrodes,
To its limbs and excrescences,
Seismographs to measure the shudders,
It feels inside its soul

If I could just turn back the clock,
And roam silent down empty corridors,
Stick my tongue in marble’s frozen blood,
The haemoglobin inside the cells
Of a monolithic structure,
The lifeforce waiting behind a suture

Then in a dazzling array of colour,
I could be my sister, my father, my brother,
And with no one to read time from my entrails,
The coroner would leave me alone

The city is a colourful thing,
Resting cancer in my bones


4 thoughts on “Poem: Trip to Birmingham

  1. Yeah, it was interesting reading your diary story right after being on the train – made me feel we’d had a very similar journey! I only tagged you in the poem because of the location – as a poem, it’s a throwaway piece. X


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