Poem: Foreknowledge of Demeter

demter.jpg

In heat-deadened late summer,

Desiccated umbels scratch the sky

In dense clusters, weaving between

Nets of wizened harvest

*

Oh, sweet Ceres, flowing overland

From waving field to unslaked furnace,

Bloom and witherance of Persephone,

Blunt Hades’ malady seeks to burnish

*

Tarot cards offers glimpses of ruination,

Pausing between fingers of venomed bites,

Majestic bliss before the cold coronation

Of pallid partners deprived of lights’

*

Vivifying nurturance, sweet heliotropic cadence,

Pasturing all lover’s in the sun’s warm lea,

But I am sick – my mouth too laden

With sores to savour this intimacy

*

With nature, with life, with cold speckled showers,

Running in beadlets down waiting skin,

I cannot feel the parting kiss,

I cannot let your lighthouse in

Poem: Diaspora, The Mother

diaspora

Dancing beneath catkined willows,
I lacerate my chest with knives and needles,
The blood streams down over my ribs
Finding fruition in my loins,

The womb gluts itself on gore,
Quaffing the dregs of still-palpitant arteries,
Its hungry mouth chomps and spits,
Dribbling orphans into the road

From there, taking up their bindles,
They scatter, solitary, over the Earth,
Never meeting, nor startling each other,
The silent colonies move sadly apart

With the web, fractured, the silk threads split,
The spider’s limbs revolt in madness,
With no ruler to knit together,
All possible joy is a demented mass

So what hope, then, when ever fertile,
The Goddess, jubilant, gives up her blood?
Ever pullulating anguished sadness,
I lament, in futility, for my lovelorn brood

Poem: Scarcity and Piezoelectricity

magnetism-justin-struble

Yearning to learn the world through you,
Resultingly incommunicado,
The Geographer’s brains dashed,
No longer stalking ley lines,
Dowsing the aether with magnetic bones,
The normality of things tinged with a romance
Souring to non-completion

Saturn in his horned house,
Leers at lion hearts,
Hard work, obstacles, drudgery,
The onus of space and time,
Leaving hope at the terminus
Of so many calendars,
No day enjoyable just for itself,
But for the lure of what it might lead to

II.
The only reified thing is past,
Museum of petrified memories,
Relics of brief happiness,
Walking on cold beaches,
The way you took off your underwear,
Laying on your back,
Splayed legs inviting me home

Sleeping, enwombed in engrams,
These memories can live,
My cord umbilical, leading to you,
Not a putrescent present

III.
Had you come,
I would have said:

“This house is 500 years old;
In it are tenants of morphic resonance,
The magnetic remains of so many struggles,
The pain, hope, loss, of all these centuries,
Refined to a single structure.

“Someday, you too will die,
And your body, relinquishing its minerals,
Became a fountain of sand, of limestone,
Of jewels, which, christened by millennia,
Your ancestors will mine,
To lend hope to their own thirsty struggles.”

But a speech unprettified
By no one hearing it,
Rusts in the mouth
Into copper Verdigris,
Traded on currency’s disenchantment

The economics of Scarcity,
Run the weathered heart,
Making sacred
The rarity of fulfilment

Poem: The Flagellant of St. Mary

Flagellants

Coming out of the cold,
The cathedral swallows me,
Digested in its stone belly, malformed,
Another soul lost in masonry,
Another thread in the cosmic carpet,
Another crypt of passing years
Who momentarily walks

From another chapel,
Far away as The Southern Pole,
Voices are caught in webbed transepts,
As I am caught in yours

The whole day I’ve tormented myself,
Bearing guilt for whom I cannot reach,
Those bridges of glass,
Locked in frozen waves,
I am not the key,
Trapped in a man’s body,
No breasts, no blood,
No moon-rent thighs,
No softness to usher in
The tidings of a mother’s heart

For gendered thus,
An evil history is my inheritance,
My very form a symbol of rapacity,
Corruption and vile molestation

I can do nothing right in your eyes

But reaching out,
How fain would I warp this skin,
Invert my genitals,
Hollow myself a womb,
Just to release you from yourself,
Be parturient of your happiness

Skulking in graveyards,
Clothing myself in the skin of ancestors,
All their bodices, and muslins, and Catholic veils,
The Priestess hiding in the gloaming

Can’t you see what lies it all is?
Behind this masque of body,
The Venetian rites of tubercular quarry,
Peel away presence, the whole cosmos
Is the mist of my luminous ashes,
My passion is the sun,
My coolness the moon,
Their union the love I give you

But man-bound, all is odium,
Emasculated by being a man,
I am a half-way thing,
Neither here nor there,
There is no vacancy, no hollow,
In which my love is welcome,
A holy well nobody seeks,
A pilgrimage nobody walks

Behind the silence of my mind,
The Soul is the one that talks

II.
Nevertheless,
I must cohabit with dualities,
Trade in falsehoods,
And gendered neuroses,
Evermore my own flagellant,
My vicious atoner,
In the Chapel of The Mother of God

If I cannot be the Virgin Mary,
Wombless, I wander in Nod

Poem: Shepherd’s Home

shep

Closed for refurbishment,
Your body old sandstone,
Invasive ivy between your ribs,
Sheep-haunches scratched against your bricks,
Looking out cold on a field of rooks

Still, we cling to the past,
Mourning the loss of openness,
Where we once found love,
Only ramparts and battlements,
With scars, over-touched,
Prompting unwanted wars,
When all I needed was a hug

So, let’s tear up the carpets,
Burn all the furniture,
Drive out the harpies
Squatting in the aviary

These walls are still thick
And ripe for love,
There is still a hollow before the hearth,
Where we can ensconce ourselves for winter

Wanting to find you sweet,
I only come away bitter

II.
I carry on as shepherd,
Watching my flock die,
One by one, growing thin,
Wool stained red by tooth of dog

I live among ruins,
Bat dung dwellings,
Approaching tentatively with a candle,
You never dare to come in

For what home can I offer you,
Among all this carrion?
Where my rugs are all of stranger’s skins,
Finding jewels in all my sins

No, you love the cold of the North,
Not my cold, the cold of the South,
Skin picking off the corners of my mouth,
My icicled spine,
Merging with tree bark,
To lay with woodlouse and loam

Now I am the Shepherd’s bothy,
Now I am the shepherd’s home

Poem: Infertile

FridaKahlo

Footsteps chime upon the bridge,
But the river cannot reach me.

I hate humans,
I want humans

Wayfaring, wendigos enwrap my ankles,
My pathway a string of corpses,
The phallic church spires are all infertile,
The sky is pregnant with only sorrow,

Being unreachable,
Banned from a whole spectrum of experience,
These limping legs atrophy:
I lay among the nettles,
And, to make things more fertile,
I rot into the soil

Poem: Nothing Good Ever Happens In August

praying.jpg

Nothing good ever happens in August,
Month of false hopes and skewed desires,
Amidst the fruition of berries,
The nauseating silence of robins,
In the hills of The Cotswolds
I reaped a sickly harvest,
Putrescent with distrust,
Undermining faith
In anything at all

My dreams had foretold all:
Herds of bulls trampling your corpse,
An invasion of beetles suckling your veins,
Every cell of your legs pincushioned with needles,
As you lay, bloated and blue in the bath.
Is it small wonder the policeman shot your child,
Leaving his pulp to merge with the dirt?

Nothing is wonderful to me
In this freakshow of marvels,
A steady conveyor belt of disappointments,
Hiding in stainless steel perfection

But I was willing to go along with it,
To be seduced by museums, by undiscovered
Entomology cases, a hidden universe of iridescence,
The praying mantis my future. What does he pray for
But more things to be ensnared? For more men to fuck
While she eats off their heads?

Go on, I’ll put up with it. Look blindly on
As you take me inside of you, my face
Pulled off, fascia by fascia,
Rent by your mandibles;
The pain and humility we’ll face
For the prospect of happiness,
Until we hear the skull-crunch,
The soft implosion of sinuses,
And we realize with a thud:
It’s all to no good

Because nothing good ever happens in August,
When you stumbled faceless down murderous streets,
So blue-eyed and brainless, you can’t even see this
For what it is. The whole while dreaming of jewels
And diamonds, of Lords and Ladies in their palaces,
Of beauty offered gentle,
In oriental dressing gowns

You may make your trek to Pre-Raphaelite churches,
Paint your brain silly with William Morris stained glass,
But her mandibles still eat eagerly of your flesh;
The hellish truth of reality cannot be suppressed:

Because nothing good ever happens in August,
When you have sex in a spider’s nest

Poem: The Galleries

beach

I.
Come, link your arm in mine,
To the soft rustle of your dress,
We’ll walk the galleries together,
Footsteps slow, each pivot of your heel
A timeless nexus between breath’s motion

Can you hear the wind in this painting, my love?
The way the willows bend
To the violent kiss of the wind,
Our feet kissing the floor’s tessellations,
The deprivations and regressions of our lonely imaginations

May we, like needlework,
Frame the softness of our silence,
Encase it in a warm crystal, without borders,
All our marvellous moments,
Orbed in a serenity,
Hushing all who observe it

Now my legs are bleeding,
The winds blow too cold,
And the distance of your dress
Makes me nervous

No more do stilettos practice echolocation,
Like bats, trapped by window glass,
Giving up on their escape,
Enwombed in ennui,
She perches nervously on me;
Her talons spell disaster
For all I’ve hoped to be

II.
Now, in the sand dunes,
Skirted by skylarks,
The particles create skirmishes
From the fickleness of fractals

All the weft of stranded sea creatures,
The wet footprints of pebbles,
The mad dance of Pembrokeshire,
And the engrams it engraves

But how am I meant to feel a thing
With all these petticoats about me?
The friction of sand flaying my labia,
My vulva, the corseted hermaphroditic impulse,
To be lonely, to belong, to be free

I can never achieve them all,
Reach a self of holy Trimurti,
Watching other kites fly,
Too much shame to fly my own

Shame, always shame,
Keeps my love subdued,
Puts fear in men and women,
Leading me to conclude:

I am my own asylum,
The bonds of my own containment,
The extinction of my only freedom,
My antlers on the walls,

I should never have come to the beach,
Too full of my sadness’s singing,
Always mouthed by the sea,
Too full of my sadness’s meaning,
An unbearably poignant triptych,
Placing a coffin in my heart,

Never a Lady beside me,
Always a man apart

Poem: The Fruits of Sadness

tree heart

From an unexpected distance
A cannonball hit me in the heart,
Blood throstled from my vena cava
And coronary chambers, erupting like a fountain,
From this new mouth in my breast bone

There was no one to hear it speak, to help,
In this ashen desert, no flashes, no searchlights,
Only explosions to warm me, ruptured and bleeding
Into the blackened soil, rich with the loam
Of turbid hurt

With the swiftness of a swallow
The blood-loss visions began,
The bleached skeleton men dropped seeds into my chest,
Feeding that mouth, massaging my dripping arteries
Into terms of acquiescence

Then the thing began to take root,
All those barked fingers peeling through vertebrae,
Rending my skin to seek the soil,
Tendrils raping the gaping mouths of my veins,
Transforming my torso into a suffering, green plexus

Soon my thorax was a hunk of wood,
My oaken heart blossomed with a pain so magnificent
It nailed me to the ground

It was still winter,
No leaves came,
Birds perched sad on my naked branches,
Harvesting the haemoglobin dripping from my buds

No symbol of hope is intended in this,
Just a dying heart,
Turned, Daphne-like, into a tree,
And all the inevitable life that comes with it

 

Poem: The Triumph of Failure

rooftops

Starting as the space between the strings,
A silent duet above the street tops,
Words and melodies trickled from lips,
Hearts-hiccoughing from grace-frayed gifts,

But then I became repulsive to you,
All my songs the stuff of maggots,
And now you only saw carbuncles
Whenever you looked into my eyes

“You can sing from a place of fire,
Ushering lyrics into The House of Beauty,
Lift the fallen out of the mire,
Find sweetness in the tears of cruelty

“But can you sing me a house?
Write a symphony of social security?
You’re a worthless, rhapsodizing louse
Venom in the mouth of domesticity”

And, as troubadour, I must triumph in failure,
Submit to the solitude of starved desire,
Search vainly in despondent valour,
For the pain sure to inspire

Unearthed pain unlocks the treasure,
Fresh blood mingles in the fountain,
Divorce from love gives me leisure
To make hell into a mountain

Purgatory, overflowing, has no gates;
A journey across the desert awaits