The Poet as Rodent

Mud is the water, 
One and the same.
Up does not exist,
Under shade, filtered dark-
-Light of the sky,
Which does not exist.
Bearded, hooded, mechanical night,
Only dendrites in underbrush,
One wet, others salt
Another clog, another enemy,
Tunnelling always, falling back,
In the sunk ground. 
Another sound, another enemy
As in the sky,
Which does not exist. 

Seven Sisters Round the Foot of Your Bed

With bow-curved mouths,
Bullet-nosed and suited,
They draw down shutters
Against loud, lonely noises
That scrape the skull
Like a truth drug —
Phantoms slamming
Against dirty chalkboards
To leave us warnings,
Scribbled in pink & white.

DOWSING STICK

Turning out plastic tokens from my pockets
And running an upturned hand along the underside
Of witch-tree branches (overgrown: needing amputated).
I could retire from the biomes of The City –
Here I’ve no gut to complain, no neck to put out,
Or claws for burrowing, a spine to prop me up straight,
No scales or hide or carapace for a mobile home.
So, I want to look down and see Steinbeck
Beneath the ground, held in the taller grass —
His boots welcomed into the sweeting ground. 
I could impregnate the selfless greenery,
With my automatic tools, my metal extensions,
Terraforming the low fields and ascending forests.
Or, end myself simply against a felled sleeper,
Not by money, not eviction, (or any invisible string).
Beaten yet again, but honestly this time, and final —
Unceremonious. Trading in a heavy head for another,
A sinner’s mind for a mute bone in the ground.
Following only the Y-shaped divining rods,
Severed on the ground. All my tangled aspirations,
Now crosshatched and clotted, wetly unwinding into a new bed.

Pop Astrology


Sitting street-side at the Zodiac Café, I shuffle my hand,
Scratching at my cheap scorpion tattoo. I turn out my coffee
Onto the real thing (a Red Claw) laying low in the gutter.
This displeases him, and he tells me so by rattling his sickle,
Percussing with his mouth-beaters and snapping his shears.
Here, the satyr/shop-owner turns out his sagged awning
With a splintered mop-handle and splits it by mistake.
The downpour is a biblical thing, sublime and scatological,
Gushing downhill and consuming everything not nailed-down,
Tearing up street signs and carrying off strollers.
A horse screeches, nearly de-saddling his hapless rider,
(Who nocks and fires helpless pleas in all directions),
Motivating a drove of cattle, who bolt off into the distance.
Just as all seems lost, an extrovert with leonine hair
And a first-rate tan hacks swathes into the shapeless creature
And is, in turn, trebuchet-ed into a loud clock-tower.
So, all remains lost. The water begins to spoil the land,
Mixing with the coffee and the compost.
The black ravine is now coursing, 12 feet high,
Enough, I’d think, to break the ribcage and crush the lungs
Of your average merman. Fate runs on ahead of me,
As he tends to do, urging me and everyone I know to follow.
He then trips and torpedoes into a storm drain, to drown,
Kicking and wailing, under a rancid, rising mud-sea.
Crabs nip at his exposed handles. Fish watch on, dumbly.
Letting out the last of his garbled death-sounds,
His legs jerk for the final time and droop, akimbo.
A waterlogged boot slips off to reveal a blue, bloated foot.
I watch on with my twin (both of us naked, orbiting
One another listlessly). At least, for now, it’s clean and dry
On the rooftops, we agree. Drunk on the drama,
We top up our cups at the new bankside and crack them together.
Here’s mud your eye, he says. Here’s mud in your eye, I reply.  

Days of Mercy

I strangled my broken memory of a horse
Into a clod of potter’s clay, painted it poorly:
Victory red when wet, now spiced mud.
The others eat potatoes without salt.
One fries onions in the bottom of the kettle.
I, their idiot father, inhale the fat in the air,
And rub my heavy bread-and-beer gut.
Today I was a sun dog, waiting restlessly to rise
At noon, alongside my mother, and puncture the sky.
Though my cue never came. Hurt,
Like the paunched rabbit hung up
Before me, I watched my blue entrails
Thud onto the wood-effect vinyl flooring.
My surrogate Turk aunt warned me,
Of the dangers of painkillers in times like these.
I explained, it’s only for my skull-splitting
Aches and the bulging pain behind my eye
That brewed last night, while I overslept,
(Dreaming of impostors in the NBA
And the end of days). So I chew the pill,
Readying up for my 4 o’clock early
With the rottweiler who beams back at me
From the wet, black mouth of my boiler room.

The Cosa Nostra and the Pornographer

 

The Cosa Nostra took my dog by the nape, shot her in the head, then vanished off-screen. I vowed to slaughter an animal in front of them in response. Here, my friend turned pallid, more so than I had ever seen him. He knew of these men, academically and firsthand. Though he said nothing, his terror was plain. I had dug up the sex tapes of each of my peers and made a playlist online. We all sat together now, in a hateful silence, (them seething, me a pariah in spirit) in a darkened film theatre with red velvet seats. And we sat inside the film itself (a ceaseless blockbuster). We were poorly cast stars playing out each role, odd choices. As we watched ourselves being watched by ourselves, my Second Self chased a mythic strand of proof, one that would clear my name of all crimes, overturn my charges (voyeur, pervert, pornographer) and render my promise to commit honour-suicide null and void. I surprised myself, even, when I found this dancing hair of evidence, though I’d have to wait until the end of the film to present it to the jury.

END