Poem: Surveillance

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Watch a bird in its cage,
Surveillance is enough to make us insane,
The watched pot doesn’t boil,
But blows out its own brains

When observed, I must hide or strike out,
Scurry off to hedgerow,
Use my beak,
The knife I call my mouth,
To rend muscle from tendon,
Inflict wounds to inspirit distraction

But the blood has a way of following you,
Like the leech of bad memories,
Embarrassing actions, drunken confessions,
Of night breezes blowing in past-life memories,
The toxicity of oil spill odours

Spilling the beans,
I spilled out not just my heart,
But my ignorance in a hunk of gelatinous mass,
Something to wrap tentacles around face,
The shattering of serenity,
The prat-fall from grace,
The soaked credibility of good first-impressions,
Met with cold fingers in the morning

Knowing to disbelieve hope’s mercy,
The discouragement of over-spent warning

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Poem: Autopsy of Obsession

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There are days when I turn into the very spitfire of rage,
Imagining each of my corners has the sharpness of a blade,
In the mutated tree of my thoughts, barbed wire epidermis,
Pierces all the women inhabiting my fantasies,
The dramatis personae of my harvested whimsies,
Of dresses clung to wet-mouthed thoughts,
Ill-advised courtship indulged in draughts

Sex only comes into it as a primordial energy,
An intellectual game,
Most of my philandering I do in my mind,
Dreams of infidelity help me unwind,

But, if unfaithful, then unfaithful to what?
To the contrived concatenation of feudal civilization,
To the Christian relic of unhallowed churches,
Doomed to lie in the dust of theology,

I merely want to be there,
To have your aroma,
To be the observer of your wit’s Passover,
To have a figurehead I can quietly worship,
To give my obsession a cathexis, a direction,

There need be no passing of organs, of fluids,
Of kisses stolen from needle armpits,
There need be no moisture from dewy mornings,
To taste your dress when kindled with grasses

If push came to shove, then shove I would not,
Sooner crying into your lap,
Than allowing myself to weep through my phallus,
I want a friend who is sharper than a friend,
From whom I will always taste the love of tension,
An uncertain comfort that needn’t be mentioned

Never sure I truly do,
When I say ‘I love thee true’
Loving truer, having something to love,
As below, so is it above,

Poem: To Poetasters

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There is no such thing as ‘light verse,’
Only the putrid stench of indifferent thought

This onslaught of banality shatters my tolerance,
The fragrance of flames licking to sulphur
As I sit in a furnace, devising torments,
To punish the flaccid carelessness of your empty sentiments

A wounded fury, woundingly furious,
I cannot think on the subject of publication
Without arousing tears of desperation and anger

How can I be calm,
When you feeble poetasters
Drain all blood and fury
From the emaciated corpse of poetry?

As your limp-dick words
Sprawl from the arsehole of hypnosis,
My lexicon grows rank with hateful profit,

In pursuit of genius,
I find none here,
Smashing my testicles into a hard-boiled throat,
To smother you with a tablecloth as meaningless,
Unportentous, as your verse,

I shove my thoughts into your dull labyrinth,
To boil my genius in the clogged bile ducts of your notes,
To wish against kindness,
In the lowest tiers of the Inferno,
Mediocrity will receive the keenest retribution

A little boy imagining his passing sharpness,
May have the rigour to change the world

Poem: The Immortal

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The Immortal sat on a tree stump,
His long, sloping forehead, a pinnacle of rock,
Robes of faded vermillion, a petrified languor,
Carved into the lineaments of his face,
An ancient parchment whereon was writ
A depth of sorrow unknowable to man

When you live forever,
Your eyes become portals sick-glutted on suffering,
Fortitude the only friend keeping you up-propped,
Crossing interminable wildernesses, clambering
Over the serried dead in their wormy trenches,
Bones powdered into rocks,
Rocks compounded into worlds,
Where new wars may be fought,
And the ugly process repeated

Unable to die, you cannot separate from it,
It lives in you, and you in it,
Passing before your eyes – a dream of dust –
An illusion cast – a spell unbroken –
Like Sisyphus, every time you think you’ve broken through,
The vapours of illusion swell up from the lagoon,
Leaving a simulacra in its place

The oak stump upon which The Immortal sat
Was the last relic of an ancient wood,
Over which he’d presided for ages uncountable,
Having tired of the tortures and endless wars
Of the stars systems through which he travelled,
He withdrew to the relative quietude of planet Earth,
Then little peopled, where he could hold converse
With volcanoes, and meditate in mid-air above
Lava fields, reigning in tranquillity aloft
The times and tides of Creation,
Where the serenity of all-pervading ocean,
Could be suddenly thwart into torment by storms,
And abruptions of equal duration, jungles sprouting
Up in the passing of a year’s breath,
Then eaten up by swamps anon

My imagination does me more credit than my pen
Can express – or so I tell you as The Immortal passed
Gently through the birth throes of pre-history,
Swimming beside giant trilobites – by ambitious
Lifeforms with spiralling flagella, and other spawn
Worked by infinity’s ingenuity, radially proliferating
In a concourse of unlikely ways, to secure their time
Upon this uncertain world – creatures some of us
Still spy in dreams and visions, long since re-housed
In the Earth’s magma core, never to be seen again

After the last Ice Age,
When the world began to take a shape
We might recognize,
The Immortal settled in the wood aforementioned.
He kept watch over the birds,
Returning fallen chicks to their nests,
He knew the names of every new bud,
And kept in discourse with the elementals
Who performed their office in these woods.
Leaf-growth, sap-rise, wing-shuffle, and silenced
Preen were the notes of his flute;
Bird call and bush-rustle were scratchings
Within his throat. He was the sacred storehouse
From which all birds gathered their songs;
The unseen muse from which robins
Derive their twelve-month rhapsody

For thousands of years, these woods went unhaunted
By unwanted men – an enchantment spread from tree
To tree to keep the peace of the place in humble perpetuity,
Preserved in the amberous damask of unfading twilight,
Enwombed in a glow, fireside lambent,
They remained in a state of ceaseless merriment,
Boycotting all seasons but Spring.
Lute, harp, and merry bells jangling
To keep the goodness in – an unpunctured yoke
Of log-snug warmth, where no tree was felled
But by the consent of the wind,
Or The Immortal’s wise sense of order

But this Golden Age could not remain forever.
As violently inconstant as the molten mountains
That gave them form, the Earth grew ripe,
Grew dizzy for change. Man spread like small-pox
Over its once fair face, carving up the land
To prostitute it to their wants.

All around the wood,
Landscapes were tarnished to suit their ways,
Land-fills, quarries, the thoughtless proliferation of waste,
Garbage everywhere man was,
And even where he was not,
Lakes gave up their dead,
Vomiting amphibious refugees,
Newts and frogs, fish fiercely hungry for legs
To escape the toxins eating into their scales,
Mountains mined, the whole world suffocated
Beneath the carapace of cement – skies criss-crossed
With fumes – rivers red with copper and rust –
Every creature and thing now marketable and priced,
Life only worth the telling of its death-hardened function,
The pleasure it can give to the luxury-fat rich

The Immortal knew the wood’s days were numbered,
The encroachment of machine and saw not forestalled,
The spells could not stave off the men
Who lacked mind enough to know magic existed at all

The Immortal did all he could,
Pleading with interdimensional councils who might intervene:

“Take me!” he implored. “Let me sacrifice my immortality,
And infuse it in the soil of this wood,
So these trees will be axe-impervious as diamond flesh,
And the birdsong as though music from an eternal book
Inked Akashic upon the sky. Let there be at least one place
Upon the Earth where man’s murderous fingers cannot pry.”

But The Council would not give their consent –
Too much Karma and interdimensional red tape.

“An immortal born must immortal be,
Quitless of time or the tides of the sea.”

And so he saw it done:
Every tree cut down –
Every bird unhoused –
Every spirit cast out to be reborn
As a curse upon those diseased enough
To quit them

Which is why you see him here now,
On the un-uprooted stump of the last remaining oak,

And as grief runs proportionate to the lives its afflicts,
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the comfort,
Or the sadness,
To watch The Immortal move on

Poem: Welsh Daydream

cottage

Terse old house,
An entomologist’s empire,
Tucked in-between hard knuckles of earth,
Kneaded by the hands of canyon-making disasters,
Where woodlice weevil between geological strata
Of carpet, aching for rotwood to feed their tummies,
Guests, sedate, upon electric blankets

They come into the cold,
To escape the cold,
The romanticism of hearth-warmed discomfort,
And the jellied-legs of walkers reduced to pinewood

I will see you then,
Out among the rubble of king-marked graves,
When all you needed was a good blanket of mist,
To declare a few mountains an empire

In the Wales of old daydream,
To The Grey King’s nightmare,
Knitting his beard,
Into the fog’s kingdom

 

Poem: The Hidden Woman

 

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Of the beautiful girls in the world,
The fairest one is hidden,
You can seek her out all you want,
But she only comes unbidden

You can search in river, search in dale,
Search in ruins forgotten,
But you’ll not find her in the new,
You’ll not find her in the rotten,

You’ll not find her in desire,
Nor in the pits of yearning,
And if you find her in the woods,
You can be certain that they’re burning,

But when hope has taken its final plunge,
And The Seven Abysses are wailing,
And you are caught up in the current,
Your limbs, weak and flailing

You can be sure she’ll seek you then,
And pull you from the river,
And lips that hover above your own,
All ecstasy can deliver

But when the kiss seems perfect and clear,
A union, prophesied, of heaven and earth,
All sorrow certain to disappear,
The overcoming of death and birth,

That is when the blade sinks in,
A creeping chill subsumes your frame,
Your saddened skin falls from your flesh,
She steals your life, your pulse, your name,

This is what comes of wanting beauty,
Comes of seeking love’s return,
You gave yourself up to a wolf,
A hateful lesson you can’t unlearn

So, think twice of that fairest girl,
The sweetest one that’s hidden,
Her beauty may be what you want,
But her rending comes unbidden

And in the recesses of your grave,
At the touch that was forbidden,
You can spend the rest of your life reflecting on,
The woman best left hidden

Poem: Shaman Sorrow

 

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When we were shamans,
The whole world was our tundra,
I controlled the mellow earth,
You controlled the thunder

Ice and snow wove a web,
In which we were the spiders,
Straddling star-back in the night,
As Heaven’s only Riders

Riding through The Milky Way,
The quartz-laced, star-strewn river,
Neither was the taker,
Neither was the giver

Then called we were by knocks on wood,
Called we were by clash of stone,
Called we were by tongues of fire,
Called we were by windy moans

Together we met a sad-faced God,
A hulking beast, covered with hair,
The snowy pine wood was his home,
The snowy pine cave was his lair

He looked at us, and shook his head:
“Together, now, you cannot be;
You must go into the sky –
You must go into the sea.”

Separated we were, my love and I,
She became a golden bird,
And I became a loathsome thing,
For which The Gods have not a word

Then sun and comets came and went,
The Earth no longer was our tundra,
I no longer sang the earth,
You no longer sang the thunder

We were not shaman lovers then,
Shamans again we could never be,
Now that you are stuck up in the sky,
And I am trapped beneath the sea

But still I dream of returning snows
Long for rebirth of the tundra,
When I will control all the world,
And you – all the thunder

Poem: The Deathless Horsie

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These horses have been ridden too long,
Tired and hoof-worn, their muscles replaced
With pistons, bones and ligaments composed
From robot cartilage, cold horror of sci-fi dawn,
Samplers to speak where they used to sing,
Erectile sensors signalling to their hairs,
They can gallop, now, on interference waves,
New god muscles to give them motion,
And new equine umbrellas, to keep them
From short-circuiting in the rain

If androids dream of electric sheep,
Then my nightmares are of cyber-horses,
Animals trapped in digital code,
Kept alive perpetual as computer slaves

Everything is your pet now,
If you can’t eat it, then it must entertain you,
Slave into wires to prove its value

No joy of flogging a dead horse breathless,
When all our horses are cabled and deathless

Poem: Sky Warrior

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Buzzard, not the smartest of birds,
Your intelligence is in your instinct,
The lust of your programming

Euclidean geomestrist – the sky’s tawny compass,
Hunter of circles,
Shaper of predation

Inside you is a leopard,
Feathered, yet unfrantic,
Space-stabbing cries,
A sky warrior’s dialect

You have read all the lexicons,
All the grammarians of hunger,
And many scholars still worship
The cold stupidity of your fortitude

A weaponized wing,
A crow-taunting thing,
A heart-chaffing nest
To catch the clarity of spring

 

Poem: Anger Seed

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Anger is a hard, fiery stone,
The pointed, jagged teeth of war,
Stampede of horse in blood-tarred mud,
Wasp stung trapped mad in marrow bone

Drama thirst of fucking drama queen,
Simpering megaphone of all your hurt,
I speak to you, cold and curt,
To restrain the pain that might have been

Cauldron of ire, simmering long,
Taut hard verses of vicious song,
Subdue the beast – the foaming maw,
Excise the tumour of righteous law

Warm stone, now cold, in graveyard lies,
Buried in soil, cold and wet,
In the zone of sweet forget,
To seal the place my anger dies