Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Which Side Are You On? [3.]

There's me and Sam and Cliff and Jen
on this thinning line again.

Thinner consciences crawl in,
congealing under softened skin.

The politest picket ever seen
could not keep them from their routine.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bus notes 16

In the third year of the course,
Geoff had done the words
        and I was the noise,
        the music, the drapery
        to show up against.
After a term or so, the thing
took up too much time,
        his energy all out,
        an always pouring wound
        to be tended and wondered at.
There was too much Patti Smith,
too much Rimbaud, too many crystals
cut up fine and that John Giorno track on loop.
        Geoff was too overbearing, too hurt;
        the ragged fucker talking at a volume
        while all the quarter-witted others' 
        dead glossy PoMo non-jokes 
        spun about his vast head like flies.
For all the good odd flakes
of worded magic he’d thrown up
        I couldn’t help in time but wander off
        and paint till it got quiet.
Somebody told me later that the speed
and the work of living finally had him burnt.
He was sectioned and then sent out:
a series of single rooms endlessly.
        And so, years after, the 126: that voice
        out from the Three Estates
        and polished up, enunciated,
        seeped through the memoried self’s thin skin.
The hair had gone, along with
that good dress sense done on the cheap.
        We said hello, both wary and still fond.
He told me his address and on leaving him
I unthought it from my head; it took a while.
        A quiet bit of work; quarantining
        the past; a betrayal.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Which Side Are You On? [2.]

The long time
      growing lawn
    brute flowers  
Garden thick with
          bindweed couchgrass
       thistleheads (swollen
                  comedy thumbs)
          creeping buttercups
The future: bolted
            gone to seed
          and spreading
Uncommonly common
   flowers are all over
No place for getting
                the purchase
  on one anything
Just the red tatters
    blown down
               an uncleaned street
To catch a glimpse
What a green itch
         for other than just so

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bus notes 15

Checked shirt, checked shorts
and a moustache trimmed to the regs,
the worn half of him rests on a stick
shielded with every Irish county.
        He ushers us all on
        for the Outer Circle
        using the magic of
        a gentleman.
The last shall be first
are the words burning.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Which Side Are You On? [1.]

This is the way we shake our hands.

Fucking comrades forever or for history,
we are. As sure as

the Thing is, you’ll be swallowing 

the bitter down
like there was no tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Bus notes 14

The baghead, he moves through
the lower deck, thinner
than the boys in magazines,
with hungering gentilitie,
spaniel eyed.
        (We're going from the foot
        of the Sandon
        to the City Road).
Between stops, he makes up
quietness, a maybe grace.
His bit of a reprieve is nearly nothing
        but it's here.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Tipped Up Ziggurat

      Chamberlain Square, B3
                               a greyed shell
           and the music is regretting, mostly

                         It's kept time.
                             shivering in bad nakedness
                       the wet facade

                  little ghost boys and girls
                all fingering the rotting pages

                             roses discarded
                        dead petal signals
                                   lettered leaves

                             What is all this writing?
                       places where hands
                                            were moving
                                        once they were
                                    like non-work

                               dying brightness

                                     The worms
                                                hunker down
                                           in the stacks;
                              they're the colour of numbers.

                              a schedule eating in

                          a catalogue of nearly happening
                               of going and of going
                                                      and of gone

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bus notes 13

The young white man with the Yankees cap, 
bladdered, crawled on close to Tipton.
Now he slumps and drunk sleeps
near Galton Bridge.
        Off from his shift, a new face
        clocks the space no one would claim,
        shakes a shoulder and berates him
        between English
        and Punjabi (for the punters)
but he stays dead to everything
as the laughter catches almost all of us
with such ready collusion.
        Just by the temple the Sikh driver stops,
        walks up to them and pushes the lad
        toward the window.
Then he takes his short haired brother
(the Kara’s the main give away)
and with elegant force presses him down
to the seat beside him.
        For however long the pissed kid will not fall.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sweets for my sweet

                   St. Columba’s:
                                    you remember
                        the wall of drunks familiar all
                                                        red and brightened
                                                      with the cider
                                               with everything outside

                           “What kind of life?” some woman said.
                                      alky forces
                                                 are drawing lines here

                                                      great bruised
                                                      bargain basement gods

                                   painting memos with sepia schmaltz
                               talking up their easy dissidence
                                                They’ve got those swollen rhetor lips.

                                           laughter slung out

                                                      displaced since I can’t remember

                                        All of us are unoriginal.
                                 Any steady take is
                                                       all shook up
                                                    (somebody’s favourite song)
                                      The pictures they’ve still got
                                   are sliding
                  This is a crew passing time, locally.

                     old woman
                                 her yellower hair
                                         loose skinned
                                   mouthful of most teeth missing

                                        She calls me over and offers me a sweet.
                                        the little boy hand dips in
                                               white papered mystery
                                        touches the soft strings
                                        soft from something wrong
                                                                a handful of cheap beef mince
                                                    gone green as I was
                           How those bastards laughed.

                                        I’m running up the street          
                                                  to catch the dry hand
                                     of where my dad is
                                     No tears come.
                                                  Just something like a question
                                               that must wait till whenever
                                                                   to be asked