September Poem A Day Week Four

EVERYDAY MIRACLES

It shouldn’t work, but it does.
You rev up the engines, then
Punch into the absolute,
Up, up above the weather,
Grey wings reflecting the sky and
Changing colour as
Cloud gives way to blue.

So much else, of course.
Roar and throb and movement,
The vehement sublimity,
Thereafter, of modern comforts,
As if in denial
Of the speed rush.

Lift, and areas of low pressure,
Aerodynamics and power!

This makes mavericks of us all,
Provides a little thunder for our hearts.
A fantastic for the tethered,
Pushing the bounds of natural behaviour
On science or else pride,
Expedience, frivolity, design,
Making monsters from tin
And gods of us all.

SEEING THE FULLER PICTURE

The past I see as a time
Barely black and white,
Sepia weather and bare wires,
Slapdash undertakings,

Things not yet properly
Thought out, considered,
Where all the dreams were
Of rocketships

And a certain sense of
Military bearing still predominated,
Upright non-existent, no
Grievance procedures.

What little neon there was
Smudged in the rain, possibly
Against all tenets of health and /
Or safety, things were bad

For you then, a pervasive
Throb beneath the surface, no
Deviance, the absolute, how
On earth did love ever flourish?

In forty years it’s quite
Conceivable that people will look
Back on this life now similarly.
I stand dark expose light here.

UNFORTUNATE GHOULS

Ghosts,
They only come out
In the rain.

Motorists see them
In the place
Where the mist
Settles over the thicket.

The scrub,
The wasteland,
The void between
Road and town.

The hanging wires.
The reservoirs.

The ghosts are too enamoured
With their own disappearance
To do any serious haunting.
They hang around as if
Looking for something.

On days of steady drizzle
The ghosts shelter
Under imaginary steel
Where the drip drip drips
From jutted metal.

The jutted metal itself
Is also a ghost.
Don’t tell them.
They don’t know yet.

Unfortunate ghouls,
They will disappear,
Just like they always
Wanted to,
When the rain intensifies.

Everybody has appointments,
Business to attend with,
Even ghosts.

GONE

Such ease in erasure.
A split second
Forgiveness
Of misdemeanours.
The past as
Unblemished
As the future.
The present,
Fragile and vacant.

KATIJAH

Beef and mustard crisps
And ill-advised attempts at
Teaching me chess.
Katijah.
That’s all we ever did.

I’d show you the countryside.
You’d never seen stinging nettles.
We kissed once
Katijah.
That’s all we ever did.

You were Californian,
Your brother was a surfer,
Suddenly washed up in the Surrey suburbs.
Katijah.
Think of all we never did.

Your beauty was obvious
And so exotic in our
Commuter-town nothing.
I felt lucky and perplexed.
Katijah.
That’s all I ever felt.

Your dad was a player in Hollywood.
Your aunt was married to a film star.
Your brother was a surfer.
I liked him.
Katijah.
I liked your brother a lot.

You phoned me one day
To talk about our ‘relationship’.
It all sounded so grown-up.
Katijah.
Talk.
That’s all we ever did.

History has excised you from me
And you’re back in CA, Silicon Valley.
I saw you on a website,
Businesswoman of the year.
Katijah.
One day I might send you an email.

ITS ONLY ANOTHER WASTER

You make it very hard
For me to feel euphoric.
You hide your poison
In the sweetest places.
You say I’m
Self-obsessed.

You’re right,
In so many ways.
The weight of living
Is merely the anticipation
Of nervousness.
We don’t see the gradual steps,
Mostly leading down.

You took me to a very
Dark place
And then held my hand
As if I’d always been there
And you were merely visiting.

IN DEFENCE

It always rained during football.
Typical, you might think, yet,
In thrall to a splurdge of various
Teenage chemicals, I didn’t care.

Because Darren was there
And Paul was there.
They always put me in defence.
They didn’t seem to care if I
Let in an opposing player.
They already knew.
They knew before I did.

I was so lucky, really!

The school field was near
Heathrow’s runway, so actually hearing
Simple commands from team captains
Was quite impossible at times.

There were one or two idiots.
Mostly ill-informed, quite possibly.
I’ve seen them lately on Facebook.
They seem almost human.
It’s a different world, now.

It was the whole
Shower ritual
I particularly enjoyed.

Richard would let me
Touch his legs.
I mean, I’d touch them
And he’d not moan or anything.
It’s nice that he was so
Generous with his legs.
He’s married with kids, now.

Once, all my team-mates pretended
That I was a superstar,
Let me take the ball and
They fell about, feigning
That I’d tackled them,
Leaving the goal open,
The goalie having long since dived
Out the way.
I kicked the ball with all my might.
It went about two foot.

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September Poem A Day Week Three

Split second

The clammy no-nonsense
Of the Sunday fall.
The moment it’s realised
That existence is merely a postponement
Of the fantastic.

How could it happen to me?
(And disbelief, of course.)

Surfaces are covered by panelling
In order to disguise the workings.

Axminster

The sallow flames
Of a late evening sun
Illumine as if in majesty
The cow shed
Crenulated in dip trough shadow
The corrugated roof
Of the barn
Caressing the chrome
Of a combine harvester
Parked slyly by the pig sty.
Fiendish yokels whisper
From the shrubbery.
There’s a plaintive mooing.
The air smells of pollen and
Jasmine, cowpats and dairy milk.
The cobbled yard plays havoc
With my high heels and I get mud
On the hem of my dress
As I sashay towards the chicken coop
With a porn mag.

Monochrome Glitterball

You let me in to your grey world
And asked me to stay forever.
That’s nice, I said, ignoring the greyness.
Because you were there, of course!
But then there was a glitch,
A malfunction of things,
And you just kind of wandered off.
Well, thanks for that!

I now try to have my own fun
In a black and white existence,
Like a party every now and then
With a monochrome glitterball
And a CD of static.
You’d laugh, honestly, you would.

I get on well in my polar landscape.
Last night I categorised the world and found
Ever so many shades of grey,
And just for one moment,
A hint of beige.
The last time I saw you
You told me that there were many other colours.
Too many to choose from
In this big wide world.

I shall try and pull myself together.
I’ve got a bus to catch.

There are no vampires .
There are no pterodactyls.
You can’t fly a kite
Because there’s no wind
And the fog sets in.
There aren’t any crows
Because even crows are too colourful
And slugs are too majestic.

I shall try and pull myself together,
I’ve got a taxi waiting downstairs.

I saw you in the sepia.
I saw you in the murk.
I saw you in the absolute
Wrapped up against the snow.
I saw you in the perpetual.
I saw you in the gloom.
I saw you in the confluence
Looming and insistent.
But when I looked again
There were cardboard cut-outs everywhere,
Meaningless shapes
Deceiving
Optical illusions
Memories of the time we bought hats together
Memories of the time we built a shed
Memories of the times we spent at stations waiting for non-existent trains
Memories of the time we learned Japanese by accident.
Dance with me one more time.
Dance with me in the gloom.
A lame comedy tango
In the black and white disco
Under the monochrome glitterball
Dance with me one more time
Feel the coldness in the rhythm
Grin and smile and stay a while
Dance with me one more time!

And so you’re off now, you say,
To get some colour in your cheeks.

Re-drafted

At the last moment
There were unexpected guests.

It’s always pleasant to accommodate
One of your peers.

Their sudden appearance meant
Re-calculations, but procedures

Were maintained, and perhaps it
Helped to neutralise the bias

Towards youth, you know,
Experience over impetuosity.

Further back, an empty seat was
Occupied, a last minute inconvenience,

Baby held in arms to free up space.
A comfort for both, quite possibly.

The deadheader where the observer would have been,
Might conceivably have had some input

More likely too busy with his own concerns,
Tinny rain on metal roof.

A Path across the Island

There’s a path across the island.
It stops at a lake
Of dreams and sunbeams.
I was so vain here.
Proffering what little prowess I had,
In my youthfulness, acrobatic
Tricks for the camera capturing
Nonsense and moments
And a me who never was.

There’s a path across the island.
It forms amid the rhododendrons.
A thicket so endless
And so convoluted and so fierce
With its accidental areas of dreaming,
Purposefully suffocating,
Vehemently intense.
This is fun, you said to me,
Let’s not get dehydrated.

There’s a path across the island.
At night, you might see ghosts,
Spectres of shadows,
Howling at hands quivering
In a place beyond all comprehension,
Fusing and melting with
Those who were less fortunate.

There’s a path across the island.
It’s someone else’s infrastructure,
With all its secret places,
Lying down and listening to the princes.
For some the summer
Will never be repeated.
For some it will never happen.

Home

Where I grew up
There were dark places,
Urban and haggard.
The whole world felt
Tired.
Everybody seemed to have
A secret.

I can’t quite put my
Finger on what
Seemed an ache
But only later became
A burn.

Everything was mechanic
Or else polluted
And the sharp winter mornings
Were split with jet roar
As if we
Didn’t exist.

Now I am older
And far away
And I long for the city,
Forgetting
That it probably

Unserviceability

We override
That which we don’t trust.
How can I take you
Seriously
If all of your indications
Might be wrong?

You lied to me once
And whatever follows,
Whether the truth or not,
Can be justifiably discounted.

You were the cause
Of my delay.
You were my only
Malfunction.

Sometimes,
That which we rely on
Has always been
Working against us.

Pulse

Okay.
Draw an imaginary line.
(I forgot to mention
That this will only work
In winter
When there are no
Leaves on the trees).
Draw an imaginary line,
From the top of Knowle Hill
(On private land now,
Belonging to Wentworth Golf Course,
On which I’d wander
As a child),
Draw an imaginary line
From the top of the hill
To the blinking light on top
Of Canary Wharf.

The line does not move
And if pulled tight enough,
Nor will it bounce in
The still air.

Let me tightrope walk now
From one end of the city
To the other,
Right over all of it,
Including the airport,
Waving at tourists.
Like I said,
This can only be done in winter
When there are no
Leaves on the trees.

On breakneck hill I fog breath,
The sharp wharf beacon pulse
Visible even here.

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September Poem A Day Week Two

Omnibus edition of the poems I’ve been writing this month!

Strident

Strident bright white,
You seemed to frown across the sky
With shadows cast flank, down,
The glasses jingling together in my
Uncle’s drinks cabinet.

On frosty mornings,
My teeth would ache
And you’d howl and scratch at the too-bright,
And the sun would hurt my eyes.

You’d sometimes leave black trails
And I thought there would never be any progress
Beyond the immediate.

Did I ever tell you what it was like
To live in an abatement zone?
Things suddenly become very quiet.

And that can be off-putting, when
The forthright and the obvious
Become even more so.

Keys

Propelled, some say,
By anger as much as fuel.

Adherence to principles,
As much as weather patterns.

A blazing row followed
By the rhino kick.

Ear split whine,
Juddering graffiti.

Easily the pantomime villain,
Easily angered, so they say.

The bypass you found was
Not the one you needed.

Deep Stall

And then there’s the tendency
To deep stall.

At the aviation museum
In a hollowed-out fuselage,
An old man showed me a parachute.
We lost a prototype, he says.

It’s all to do with turbulence
And the design of the T-tail.
The angle of attack.
The aspect of its nose.

And the parachute?, I asked.

We never needed to deploy it
On the second prototype.
We didn’t push her
Like we did with the first.

And then I understood that the parachute
Was not for the pilot,
But for the whole craft itself!

It would have given them a fighting chance
To improve the attitude of the vehicle, he said,
And I was left with preposterous images
And the thought that the parachute
Must have been very big indeed.

The old plane smelled of oil and damp
The old man smelled of lunch time wines.
He was an enthusiast.

There’s corrosion everywhere, I thought,
And technology becomes obsolete.

You wont be lonely

Dark places are everywhere.
They crawl right in on every soul.
You can stumble all your life
But you wont be lonely.

You held up your hand in front of your face.
You tried to stop the moment before it happened.
It’s hard to think that light exists.
You held up your hand in front of your face.

Dark places in between the light.
The black ever so invisible around the sun.
On the hottest day you can still be haunted
But you wont be lonely.

What’s torn from life is physical
And love is its own memorial.
What you fear most are just elongated shadows
Of the people who stop you from stumbling.

When you are in the darkest place
You are much better off
Being able to look out and see the light
If only you turn around.

Void

Those who waited
For their businessmen
Their lovers
Their Belgians
Are probably still waiting now.

A void opened up
In a suburban town.
A void opened up.

It cannot be comprehended.
See you later. Don’t forget
Your umbrella. You’ll need it.
It’s raining.

Mundane artifice
And nonchalant procedures.
An act of secular communal prayer,
Faith in science.

It cannot be comprehended,
And those who waited then
Are still waiting now.

The world

It helps to talk.
I will always listen.
The world is too big and too good
For the bad things to linger for long.

Tell me what is on your mind.
Tell me what pains your soul.
Tell me with honesty, spill it all out,
Learn to let go.

Things go well and things go bad.
And people are happy or sad.
Tell me what is on your mind.
I’ve seen more of life than you think.

What insulates a generation
Empowers the next.
I’ve seen some crazy things in my life
But I never let go of the truth.

I like it when you share with me.
I hate it when you keep it all in.
The world is too big and too good
To ever let go of the truth.
Split second

The clammy no-nonsense
Of the Sunday fall.
The moment it’s realised
That existence is merely a postponement
Of the fantastic.

How could it happen to me?
(And disbelief, of course.)

Surfaces are covered by panelling
In order to disguise the workings.

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September Poem A Day Week One

Ms. Lucy Wellington

Crikey!
I’m a hefty queen.
I’m seldom obscene.
You wouldn’t believe
The things that I’ve seen.

As I shuffle and prance
In a kind of slow dance
The movement of my fat ripples,
Puts people in a trance.

My hand gestures are floppy.
The way I eat is quite sloppy.
I entered a drag contest and
Renamed myself ‘Poppy’.

It’s so good to be free.
But this isn’t about me.
There is a certain barrier
Which only I can see,

Erected, I believe, somewhat erroneously
Across the divide between generations
That even in the glitter and the
Lasers and the dry ice there are

Frozen moments and a real hint
Of the inertia which dwelt
In the places where I lived a happy
Childhood, ostensibly.

Some stains wont wash out.
Layers of artifice become permanent.
In the summer heat it’s history groans
And the river kicks up a hell of a stink.

I’d sashay down the High Street
If I could, but there are market stalls,
It’s such a drag, high heels
On cobblestones, heat wave.

It’s a drab little town
Where everything’s brown
Living by the motto
‘What goes up must come down’.

Gravity

He’d seen the outback, the jungle,
The cold northern tundra.
She stayed at home,
And once she’d seen ball lightning.

When he came home from abroad
She waited with his twin brother
At Brize Norton, with binoculars,
And she was almost arrested for spying.

(During the war his mother
Had let a fire’s embers burn
After dark, and she too was
Almost arrested for spying).

They visited his brother
A rainy Sunday, taking the bypass,
Spent the afternoon eating sandwiches,
It all seemed so very urban and
Suburban and faintly old fashioned.
It all seemed right.
It all seemed normal.

Pouring rain on the drive home.
Inexplicable traffic, perhaps
There might have been an accident,
More likely roadworks.
Where are the emergency vehicles?

The ghost of a place
Or else its spirit,
The endless and the ending,
The moments beyond.

He’d seen the world, she’d seen
Ball lightning,
And in the driving rain
They both witnessed,
Inches apart in their seats
The miles between them become
Meaningless, gravity.

Procedures

A man with a quick temper
A man with righteous anger
Never served anyone well.

You draw in the darkness,
It feeds on the obvious.
There are extenuating circumstances.
You might hurt someone.

If the procedures a re
Ever so slightly out of sync,
It’s rumoured that you always
Blame others.

And this makes your counterparts
Too afraid to question your judgement.
That’s the rumour, any how.

Yet I feel for you and I
Believe that there has been an injustice.
It’s all so simple to blame
The man who appears as if he can take it.

Poem of demons

There are many demons.
Not all of them are bad.
Some of them are fluffy
And they tickle.
Some of them dance and
Sing little tunes.
Some are mere capers,
Foibles, shenanigans.
Some of them blink because
The sun is too bright.
Some of them just whisper
One word over and over,
Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.
Some of them patter you on the chest
And make you feel ever so good
And fill you with butterflies and love.
But they are demons
Nonetheless.

Memorial

For the memorial.
For the deprived.

For peace in a world of noise.

For the actual.
For the inexplicable.
For what some would call the inevitable.

For the sheer bad luck of it.
For the sublime.
For the storms that blow in occasionally
From the south west.

For the stark
For the strange
For the sightseers and
The morbid and
The curious and
The lame.

For the sense of it.
For the consequences.
For the wounds which heal but never do.

Indian Father

You recovered well from your meeting with the Ambassador.
It must have been a shock
But the fellow was awfully rude!
Whenever you stumble
You get patched up in no time.

It’s nice that these little things
Can be so easily forgotten!

There will always be unfortunate ghouls.

You were as handsome and as worthy as your brothers and sisters.
Many of them suffered minor spills
Yet managed to fulfil their lucrative careers.
On the most part you always found someone
To keep you level.
You looked like a bandit, wearing a mask.

I see you in old photographs.
In some of them you look distinguished.
In most of them you are waving your flag,
British born and bred!
It’s hard not to think of what happened next.
You responded to the
Lightest touch.

And ghouls emerged from the rain.

West London Rain

When I was a kid I loved it when it rained
Because it meant I didn’t have to go out
And run around the playground.
When I got older the feeling remained
That a wet day was a special day.

We lived in a house on a hill overlooking
The whole of west London.
The motorway sodium lights would kind of
Smear through the rain
And I’d feel ever so safe and cosy with
My writing pad and the radio tuned to distant city jazz.

My parents were not keen on extreme weather.
They were outdoor people,
Dad with motorbikes,
And Mum with her incessant gardening.
Everything was happy, though once
They saw something in the murk.
I reiterate, everything was happy.

When it rained it rained, and when it thundered,
Mum said that the storm was following the river
And wouldn’t harm us
And Grandad spent most of the time in his corrugated shed,
Inventing,
With the rain pummelling tinny on the rusting rusting roof,
And later on I’d invent with words in much the same manner,
Mostly when it was raining, finding my own rhythms.

Only now I’m old enough to understand
That when storm fronts move in,
And the clouds lower,
Bad things can sometimes happen.

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