Canto CCLXXXIII

There are two kinds of terror within us—
our biology and humanity
(I got this idea from Prometheus)—

without the human element to tie
our lives to some fictitious narrative
we are simply a huge community

of grasping cells, the blind, devouring drive
to mindlessly go forth and multiply.
Though these pale next to the alternative

the face that’s never skewed nor elderly,
far worse than sharp mouthed leeches in the the sod,
humanity minus biology,

not undead or unliving. Call it God.

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Canto CLXXXIX

Dandelions sprout on the doorway roof
of the sexual health clinic on Denmark hill.
Buddleia sceptres wave, spindly, aloof

to the Money Shop’s glass fronted hocks and shills.
The argie bargie of last summer’s truly
been swept away, but sometimes I still feel

that nature is rioting . . . really slowly . . .

Canto LXII

I don’t know why the drifting ladybird
landed on the fabric of my coat
and stayed there as I shuffled on towards

our nation’s second favourite supermarket.
I felt no inclination to brush it
away like crumbs from a digestive biscuit.

And so it was decided—we were mates
and I would take it to the promised land,
beyond the concrete hell of the estate

to where the weeds grow tall and thistles stand
to signify there’ll always be a place
where it can frolic with its scuttling friends.

I dropped him at the conservation place,
and felt like Herne Hill’s answer to the Buddha
and my mind attained momentary peace

before I realised this area
was packed with spiders, famished robins, hornets,
poison ivy, squirrels, disease carriers—

the damn place was a deathtrap, like this planet,
where young earth Christians say with every breath,
it’s engineered for life to bloom upon it,

when, in the end, it’s engineered for death.

Canto LX

It’s funny how a nineties cartoon craze
for mutant, martial arts amphibians
has populated Britain’s waterways

with thick shelled, sharp beaked, green skinned aliens,
supine in the sun before they plunge,
to gorge on eggs or crunch through duckling’s bones,

and yet these monstrous actions won’t expunge
the excitement I feel when I spot them
lined up along a log, neatly arranged.

Who knows if, in fifty years time,
pollution might have mutated these fuckers
to move from duckling death to petty crime

like mugging pizza vendors with nunchukas?

Canto XLVII

Those bloody foxes kept you up last night,
their mating cries that sound almost childlike,
though to you it sounded like a fight,

which gives me pause to wonder what it’s like
to wake at break of evening, live one’s life
within the dichromatic, silvered dark.

The scavengers live by the lingering whiff
of bin bags minus aromatic noise
from car exhausts, deodorants and spliffs.

We diurnals forget we’re the luddites
of the mainly nocturnal mammal clan,
we lend far too much credence to the eye.

But even when the foxy fox is done,
you’re startled by growling, deisel din,
dance music blasting from the parked up van,

unloading piles of tabloids two doors down,
the front page blurbs of love affairs and wars,
The Mail’s panic, the fury of the Sun,

the bawdy twinkle of the Daily Star.
Imagine if it went the other way,
and nocturnal ancestors never cared

to switch tactics and colonise the day.
Come sunset, we’d file into rush hour trains,
downing espressos as the blue sky fades

while reading from the front page of The Moon.

Canto XXXVIII

The parakeet’s a common sight these days,
so when it chirps out loud and flutters by
I hurriedly acknowledge its display,

its quick green ember flits through autumn sky.
Then another gangly form flaps into view,
as if a pile of tags has learned to fly

but as it perches on the chimney flue
of the renovated crackhouse that was sold
to unsuspecting hoity-toity dupes—

its form becomes apparent, standing bold:
the long legs and the rapier-like beak—
the coy carp rustler, scourge of urban ponds.

The day is young, though I have been awake
for hours, I rose early to watch the match—
the Welsh rampant, renewed Irish heartbreak—

and we’ll return hours later when we’ll watch
our friends just wedded on the national news,
background footage for the latest dispatch

about the wedding of Beatle number two.
And yet despite this boozy, happy day—
the hiccuping babies and the spoken vows—

the first thing that my memory relays
on closing my eyes when the day is done
is how our small homes looked from his high gaze,

the blameless, greedy vision of the heron.

Canto XXXII

A final burst of summer in October—
geese poke necks through rusting iron rails,
waiting for a chance at our leftovers.

We’re on the bench, watching the twitching tails
of squirrels as they double check their stash.
This unseasonal sunshine has curtailed

my melancholic urge that seeks to latch
my hang ups onto autumn’s imagery
within some sanctimonious dispatch.

Instead, I sit with you beneath a tree
and share two packets of Monster Munch.
Pickled onion flavour, naturally,

we only choose the best for Sunday Lunch.
The cooling lake still ripples with the blue
of this last summer day spent in a clinch.

Next day like this we shall be more than two.

Canto XIX

It is not natural to shed one’s kit
in some secluded field in Somerset—
let swing one’s shrivelled balls or sagging tits

amidst the cankered oaks and badger sets.
Just like the hermit crab displays its shell
in every illustrated wildlife text,

the true state of the human animal
is when we’re rocking slacks and clomping boots
across a painted stretch of black asphalt.

The trichromatic apes that foraged fruits
whose colours beamed out from the green expanse
are city bound in choo-choos, wearing suits.

Just as the communistic hordes of ants
make their own Babels in their skybound hills
and need no Plato to inspire their plans;

we move to ticking clocks and beeping tills,
though sometimes we retire behind headphones.
Despite the city’s many fears and ills—

this is our mother’s bosom. We are home.

Canto XV

The chip shop owner said he didn’t like them—
we shared the common trope on flying rats—
and yet we knew the probable outcome

for the wounded pigeon, now fodder for cats
or early rising foxes on the prowl.
I walked over to where the creature sat—

the urban sort, not regal woodland fowl—
the bright blood collected round its caved in chest,
the body broken up from wing to tail.

I wished I had the worldliness to twist
its neck until the small snap brought an end
to its convulsive, pavement bound distress.

I didn’t matter: suddenly it turned,
a full one-eighty as the spasm shook,
those few seconds were all it took to send

its birdy soul onwards. I almost took
a picture with my phone, but went instead
back to the shop to watch my burger cook

and tell the man the flying rat was dead.

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