Canto CCCLXIV

Occasionally, my sleeping baby girl
wakes alone within the darkened room,
lets out the saddest little drawn out wail

then falls asleep again. The summer moon
glints icily through our uneven blinds,
a helicopter judders through the gloom,

a dog across the road barks and then grinds
his canines against his new favourite stick.
There’s never a moment when you cannot find

something that’s crying out, but if you pick
a random living room, you’ll find instead
a roaring soul within a nest of brick,

a trembling lip, a hairline bead of sweat,
a knot within the stomach, a slight tick,
a mental rerun of a great regret

that will not be alchemised into talk,
nor find throat in primal, mammalian cries,
the expression rises within, then balks,

returns to its cramped cell behind the eyes.

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Canto CCCLX

Most of my diurnal moves are planned
with the intent of avoiding rush hour.
Oh, I know that makes me a lucky man

compared to those poor schmucks that must endure
the suit and trainers, white collar stampede.
This evening finds me heading out the door

to join the homeward office worker creed.
I’ll make no smarmy talk on the rat race.
I’ll stand aside, stay quiet as the dead,

but if you tut me, I will bite your face.

Canto CCCLIII

I don’t know how Bacon could have worked
within his hoarder’s hell of old paint brushes
and tins of turpentine, perhaps the stark

monochrome backgrounds of his canvases
could only exist in his painted world
and bland, corporate penthouse offices

where no artistic reveries unfurl,
despite the spot paintings and skyline views
of London streets where Foxtons minis trawl

for where the artsy types are moving to.

Canto CCCLII

The most the Jazz bar patrons see of me
is when I slink outside with a bin bag,
loaded with plate scrapings and nappies.

Imagine if I ran in, lost my rag,
and freestyled beatnik poems to the squeal
of saxes high pitched as slaughterhouse pigs?

I doubt we’d recreate the birth of Howl,
it would only kick up a local stink.
Today’s jazz isn’t counter cultural

it’s just a pop commodity, like Punk…

Canto CCCL

A young Korean couple, tall and slender
practice the same balletic exchange.
She twirls,  catches his palm, attempts to wander

beyond the bubble of his arms’ wide span,
then stalls at the meridian of his grip.
They catch breath then repeat the move again

about a dozen times before they stop
and repose on the station platform bench.
Across from them, I squeeze the chubby chops

of baby daughter,  off with mum for lunch
in Peckham Rye, two measly stops away,
and yet I wish our goodbyes wouldn’t launch

them out of my patriarchal embrace,
I wish instead the gestures would repeat
as the world freezes on its spin through space,

and life’s a dance through which we never part.

Canto CCCXLVI

Pole vaulters, I do not effing get you.
Putting Freudian foibles to one side—
running a massive rod into a groove

to ride its twangy shock wave to the sky,
to arch one’s back over a trip wire arch
and effortlessly fall the other way,

does not strike me as natural or smart.
Although there was a time,  when fishing leaves
between two banks, about six feet apart,

I lost the sure grip of my size ten feet,
plunged towards the murky, freezing waters
and improvised a pole with my leaf net

to push to safer ground. My body hovered
above quivering lip, then plonked right in
to roaring waves of my co-worker’s laughter,

my wet pants stuck like lycra to my skin.

Canto CCCXLIII

That green outside the carriage,  whizzing by,
is England, out of reach and mythical,
reflected darkly in my daughter’s eye.

The lonely houses, facelike, quizzical,
lorded over by thick pylon wires,
where home’s a stopgap between the local

and work, where gardens cough up thick bonfires.
I don’t know if it’s fields or momentum
that keep my girl’s attention on the blur

before our city state welcomes us home.

Canto CCCXXXVIII

The two of us set out on shaky legs,
to walk the park’s circuit before they lock
the creaking gates on strollers and their dogs.

The hour hand saunters close to eight o’clock,
you glance up at the twilight tinted boughs,
expressing equal wonderment and shock

at everything the world tosses at you,
while I am plagued by constant inner visions—
a hyperactive, neural CPU.

Our dual mentalities are not a schism,
we are instead a dual core processor
running the same operating system.

The daddy chip eschews aesthetic pleasures
to weigh up matters of utility.
The daughter chip is exempt from the pressures

of economics and society
and wordlessly admires the evening show.
That is until the slowing frequencies

of light sustains the eerie,  gilded glow,
erasing memories of the daily grind
and I am lost for words you’re yet to know

and for this moment, we’re of the same mind.

Canto CCCXXXVII

I’m landlocked to my flat by fatherhood,
and so my window’s ever present scene,
the Forest Hill estates and Dulwich Wood,

wears thin. If this is where my feet remain
I’ll let my palate play the role of hobo.
I’ve never set foot in the Philippines

but I can cook a mean chicken adobo.

Canto CCCXXXIV

There is a beach I dream of now and then,
the run down sort, well past its glory days,
cream teas poured for aging denizens

still anchored to their Daily Express ways.
Only their dogs are dumb enough to splash
about in the silty, sub zero waves.

To tell the truth, I’m not fond of the place,
it’s more the fact I get there on the bus
to interchange within a field of maize

bisected by a road devoid of cars,
no pavements or buildings to be seen either,
no sightings of the local populace,

just me on my Todd at the bus shelter,
waiting for the empty double decker,
the obscured face and mumbles of the driver…

Sometimes I get the waking urge to make a
return to the beach that doesn’t exist.
I spare no wistful thought for shoreline breakers,

it is the no-man’s bus stop that I miss.

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