Canto XXX

On viewing Bronson’s frown lines in HD
as Morricone’s trumpets frame his glare,
the closure of revenge and destiny.

I think of how the master wrote his score
before a single frame of film was shot
and once again my mind returns to form—

the old music that the rhyme scheme imparts
the soundtrack for our urbane platitudes,
for smart phone thumbs to tap out Po-Mo thoughts.

This constant metric metronome was used
throughout the many centuries by those
that kept the five stress engine running through

the countless wars, the ever aloof muse,
the change of landscape, til the carbon clock
runs out, and longer still, why not? Who knows

if this rock of ages knows the age of rocks?


Canto XXIX

One thing I learned today from Martin’s paintings
is how we love to watch the skies turn red—
the rivers boil, mountains disintegrating,

the clouds of ash, heavy as molten lead—
from vantage points of dull security.
And when we step away and look ahead

to view heaven’s torpid serenity—
the creepy cherubs and white robed caucasians,
libido-botomized for eternity,

an ecstasy devoid of titillation—
I’m quick to step outside, switch on my phone,
rekindle my appreciation

for all these fleeting days in Babylon.


I drop you at your class and race the sun
across the hilly grass of Brockwell Park;
the Indian Summer day is almost done.

A brilliant white Alsatian growls and barks,
its pallor beams beneath a gnarled oak tree
as the green expanse that frames it drains to murk.

The curfew doesn’t apply on days like these:
the gates gape open, football games play on
and young couples ignore the autumn leaves.

Who knows which nights signal the end of aeons—
the click of fate, the biblical cock’s crow—
the coming night descends so it can lay on

the deeper dark through which the Effra flows.


This is the world we pass to you dear child—
the markets that are ready to collapse;
no megafauna left to roam the wild;

a government that’s led by chirpy chaps
who’ve planned this shambles since their Eton days,
waiting for a momentary lapse

of class awareness from the under waged
who’ll vote the old boys club back into power
because its what their favourite red top says.

Yes, I know there have been darker hours.
I think of pregnant women, bunkered up
during the blitz, knowing the tin roof bower

will collapse under the V2 payload flash,
as fragile as a hunched up, unborn child
behind a stretched out spread of belly flesh.

Who knows what horrors are yet to unfurl,
or what utopia may yet ensue
its causes purely unintentional

and pissed away before the time you’re due.

Canto XXVI

The engineer writes haiku on his phone
as machines chug and whirr into lunch break.
This is the greatest peace of mind he’s known.

He thinks of Frank O’Hara, rushing back
to bash the keys while munching ham on rye,
to finish just before the hour hand’s tick

so that the New York poet can sent his lines
to Ferlinghetti’s gaff on the East Coast.
But when the engineer’s haiku is done

he hits publish and then the poem is lost
among its kin that swarm the internet.
He stops for lunch and nods to Li Po’s ghost—

the many works he penned which he then set
on fire before he cast them down the river,
sent back to where they came from, made complete,

to places where they’ll stay in print forever.

Canto XXV

I love the scene in Hero when the scribes
practice their brushmanship as arrows fly.
They do what they have done all of their lives—

they ply their craft until it’s time to die.
You never make it. All you do is write.
To say it’s otherwise is just a lie.

Fuck the Eliots, Fuck the Forward Prize.
Fuck the magazines and the bookstores.
And if the call of fame widens your eyes

reality shows will always need new bores…

Canto XXIV

Despite the fact that I can’t understand
the Spanish girls that chatter one seat down,
it isn’t a challenge to comprehend

they’re spewing vacuous shite. Perhaps their tone
is similar to what you might pick up
within the confines of a hair salon.

They’ll waffle on until the final stop,
two hours of prattle in another tongue,
and in that time I’m sure to throw a strop—

harrumph out loud or cough up half a lung;
or drop a few f-bombs under my breath.
And if they cackle, I’ll have to stay strong

resist the urge to club them both to death
with the blunt end of their own severed arms,
then slump and take a deep, contented breath.

But who knows?  Maybe they speak of the charms
Of Boolean algebra, or hotly debate
the artistic merits of the Poetry Slam;

or whether Daniel Dennett truly deflates
Chalmers’ Hard Problem of Consciousness:
if human subjectivity frustrates

The power of third person practices
that syphon truth from countless spurious claims.
I doubt it, but it sates my seething malice,

and dampens my inner  intolerant flames,
To play subtitles on my mind’s display,
where two esteemed and veritable names

like Wittgenstein and Popper, strain to say
they’re right, but cannot find a ground to broker
a peace between divisive, brilliant ways,

before they must resort to swinging pokers.


My younger brother shows his three year old son
his first portrait— a tiny, sluggish blur,
within a fuzzy lake of ultrasound—

and little Flynn, he doesn’t even stir
when told that’s how he looked when aged five weeks.
He studies it, doesn’t take it as a slur,

reflects a while before choosing to speak,
“That was me when I used to be a fish!”
When asked if he remembers that far back,

he breaks into a smile and answers, “Yes!”
My own child is bigger than that now,
already forming webbed fingers and toes,

reflecting those that chose to boldly go
from sea to land to breathe Devonian air.
The phase of life that our cells come to know

and not the fragile drape of self they wear.

Canto XXII

The future of this burly East End town:
a clusterfuck of LCDs and glass
perched on top of businesses torn down

before their natural use by dates had passed.
Some endure in the postcode’s marginalia
among the run down boozers and long grass:

the traveller sites and street names still familiar,
all shadowed by its looming call to prayer,
consumerism’s Sagrada Familia.

Dear reader, I guess it’s hard for you to care
as I tap the screen of the smartphone I wield,
not haggling down the market, I’m right here,

failing to be leftfield in Westfield.

Canto XXI

I spot another poet round my manor
we swap glances then choose to drop the blank
like Peter Parker passing by Bruce Banner

except our secret powers are really wank.

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