Canto CCCXXVI

The rain takes a day off, it’s well deserved,
hopefully he’s getting a rest in
before the product placement overload

with optional dressage and wrestling.
I head out twice, once with my daughter strapped
to girth from getting one too many beers in,

and once more for a slow, penitent lap
in an attempt to burn it all away
before my next high calory relapse.

It’s three years ’til my fortieth birthday.

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Canto CCCXI

I slog a piddly lap of Brockwell Park
and Jabber-jog my way back up the hill
resolve to run again within a week.

Later on I watch a Bourne film
on the telly and humbly assume
that I’m just like the first one to be killed,

the one who’s first to burst into the room
all hup-hup-hup, rookie adrenalin,
my trigger finger going CRACK, not BOOM,

before the same thing happens to my spine.
But hey, when they make films about poets
they make them about lives other than mine—

some mental illness, boozy sex and shit,
rather than bottle feeding and wasting
my few spare minutes on the internet,

before the clock’s eleventh hour goes ding
and I realise that I’ve written nothing yet.
Perhaps, if like the bards, I had to sing

for my dinner, I wouldn’t be this fat.

Canto CCLXV

I’m out on my first run in bloody months
fueled by a mental engine full of spite,
rehearsing the daily arguments

I have with strangers on the internet,
and no it wasn’t blooming foliage
that softened my temper, it was the sight

of an Alsatian, padding slowly, pitched
on two back wheels while his lifeless hind legs
dangled in slings. No rage can persist

on sight of happy, wheel assisted dogs
that may as well be shot behind the shed.
Despite our conflicts over land and flags,

we humans can not be totally bad,
and we can change the world, oh, yes we can!
The happy thought bumbles about my head

til I remember Hitler was a vegan.

Canto CCXII

Outlast the cans of Tennants in the paws
of the alkies perched on the memorial bench.
Outlast the greyhound, outlast the police horse,

outlast the other runners, never launch
into a sprint when you get overtaken.
Outlast the the stomached remnants of your lunch,

outlast your overpriced and worn out trainers.
Outlast the three skin reefers set alight
by overeager middle class teenagers.

Outlast this magic hour’s-worth of twilight,
outlast the keepers’ padlocks and the guns
that dealers stash in bushes, out of sight.

Outlast Herne Hill’s gentrification.
Outlast the techno singularity.
Outlast your urge for home. Outlast the sun.

Outlast the fad of Post-Modernity.
Outlast the cults of Jesus and Steve Jobs.
Outlast the fucking Duracel Bunny,

Outlast the silicon in Jordan’s boobs,
Outlast the half life of Plutonium,
Outlast dichotomies of Prole and Nob.

Outlast the endless death of Capitalism
Outlast the inbred farce of monarchy.
Outlast the zombie holocausts to come.

Outlast the heat death hum of entropy,
Outlast our destiny of perfect zero.
Outlast the doggerel of pish like me.

Outlast the bandaged wangers of the Pharoahs.

Canto CLXII

The rasta man waves his finger at me
and bellows in full voice as I jog by
“I ain’t got time for your mentality!”

He might be nuts but in a sense he’s right,
that’s why I’m out here now, trying to lose
the useless weight that builds within my mind.

Fear not reader, this is not one of those
poems where the poet concurs with
the random bawlings of a basket case

I could’ve told him that I couldn’t give
a rat’s arse for his random monologues
and paranoiac, solipsistic jive

but held back out of respect for his dog.

Canto CXXXVI

Hello knee pain, my old trusty friend,
singing your best falsetto as I sprint,
I always knew that you’d be back again,

like memories from misspent adolescence,
a little memento of feigned prowess,
that extra lap, I’ve still not learnt the lesson

that all this brain power came at the price
of flimsy joints and narrow, puny hips
to those that rarely lived past thirty five,

the heavy, sharpened handaxes they gripped,
the constant threat of starvation and violence,
no verbose platitudes upon their lips,

no time to heed the luxury of silence.

Canto CXXV

I confess to goddess Atalanta
that it has been two weeks since my last run.
Accept this meagre, lightweight lap I offer

but mark that among all the erring ones,
I’ve not left it as long as many others
who made their New Year’s resolutions

to lace up last year’s running boots to venture
onto the outer pathway of the park,
clutching their precious bottles of water

as if a January, half mile trek
equalled a marathon in the Sahara.
I’ll give nearly all of them a week

and half of them will not be back tomorrow.
Then things will go back to the way they were,
the pitbulls pant, the alkies drown their sorrows,

the faithful seek to give you one lap more.

Canto LXXXIV

I run two laps during the magic hour
and from a certain point I shoot a glance
toward the city’s growing clutch of towers

then back towards the sloping hills that once
were used for grazing sheep in the Great War.
Below, the workers in their council vans

have knocked off from their current daily chore,
installing drainage to tackle the lakes
that form downhill after every downpour,

though it seems every penny that we make
flows upwards, zooming through the city’s veins
to reach the ground floor as the street lights wake

to rise storey by storey til they gain
the penthouse vantage point from which they fly
to offshore spawning grounds where they remain

oblivious to our receding lives.

Canto LXXV

Oh Marnie Stern, you frantic fingered femme,
guitar goddess, don of the tapping style,
New York art rocker, not hipster scum—

like Vera Lynn sent men in double file
to die a gruesome death in Normandy
you spur me on to run that extra mile

of Brockwell Park, that is until some Rottie
mistakes my left leg for a turkey drumstick.
His owner’s on the phone so she’s not worried.

I have no plans to become doggie steak,
a karmic pay off for Korean cuisine,
I dodge the slobbering jaws and make a break

for the park gates, while Zach Hill’s drums careen
and clatter like some motorway pile up
as your voice adds a layer of the serene.

I ‘scape the hell hound’s jaws and start my hike up
the same hill where my pregnant wife has leaned
against a London Plane so she could puke up.

That’s what you get for liking R&B.

Canto LXIX

I will run today, through the thin sheets
of drizzle Irish champions wear with pride.
After that I’ll go on to complete

those applications I pushed to one side.
I won’t write an O’Hara parody
entitled “The Day Smokin’ Joe Died”

because we did it for Michael and Amy.
Today my business is with the living,
though still, the dead assemble in their armies

on bookshelves, radio playlists, sometimes waving
from photographs, the grainy afterlife,
the light they gave to silver gelatin.

We cannot beat them, we are but the waifs
that scurry in their shadows, though we wield
another weapon to absolve the grief

and guilt of our surviving, for we hold
the prospects of the lives we can deliver,
to double up our wide, ancestral worlds—

the rain of Cork and, sorry Joe, Manila.

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