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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