Michaelmas – Trinity – Lent

Michaelmas term
The boys press cracked lips
Cloaks
Some trimmed with purple, brown and fur
Plush red like velvet
Stick and stop
Words they lose
Called back
Like vapour rising over the playing fields
Leave jagged cutout frost footprints
Erase and rewind each day
You are now growing up

Far in the distance
The vanishing point of
Railway tracks
Converging
The snap of jaws
You will not see this again
Whole world ruled by
A single adjective – school
Prefixed like a frown
Rules, uniform, scarf, song
All lined up like toy soldiers

Lent term
The air no longer full of needles
New year bright light
Shows furrows on the face
Scored lines like concrete shadows
We fold youth over on itself
And push hard
Feet idly kick
Chairs, desks
Footballs
Idly kick
Fingers, ribs, kneecaps
Idly kick
Retreat to the stones
Of personal space
Tiny insect
Chirping fountain pen
Tap tap six-legged keys
There is nothing to pull you out
But a quick
Stolen breath
Allows something meagre to slip in
The space of a gasp
We cannot sleep
The surface of summer
Still so far away
Scratch out words like
Seeds from the soil
Paradise Lost preferred
To the rise of a new spring
Tightening the panorama
From the high window.

Trinity
The slivered shadows fatten
Now there is nowhere to hide
We scuttle from doorway to doorway
Watch the scented cuttings of spring
Pass – fleeing creatures
Freedom is across the horizon
Stippled with workshops and bars
In formal shoes we haunt
Collide like billiard balls
Wind down the taut muscles
Forget the horrors of bruises
Unforgiving leather
The sun focused through the high window
Like a lens
Burns away
Pine forests
The small insects
Things are growing on the cellular end
Lips smooth out and soften
Unfold in water
White shirts gleam
And hollow out the eyes
The space behind
We are blank and vacant
Ready for the recoil of summer
And another year like an eyeliner streak

 

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Erase

20080519_0001

as the crowd rises
in congregation
black celebration
paper streamer
credits fly out
in the wind
libidinous
crepe paper
see how they stand up so tall
solemn reverse
they are slow procession
sedate metronome accompanied by cadillac
burst white flowers
fleck the ground
this song is on repeat

in the shaking chord
databanks
wiped clean
ruthless hum of the electromagnet
everything will be erased
at the end of this videotape
fast rewind
we will begin again

when you watch that film
of us playing in the snow
as children
my boot seemingly inching
away from outreach fingers
there will be a flicker
the frames shift down
I am trying to peer into
the fastness
into a memory
taped over

Editing poetry: The Occasional Child

I am pretty sure this is the only piece that is from before 2000 that I have considered putting here. I took it up and rewrote it in 2011. The ‘refrigerator buzz’ line I suppose comes from Radiohead’s Karma Police, although it really owes more to ‘Meeting People is Easy’

Sometimes
I regress
Back to my childhood
My bygone days
Crazy paving
Keep pace with the dreary pedestrian traffic
The refrigerator buzz chatter
Static
Background noise
To my dream of what was then.

The dream of summers
Precarious tilt and drip of ice creams in the garden
Barefoot running – chlorophyll prickle
Sweet smell of freshly mown grass
Water fights in the romantic’s pastoral arena
Noisy laughter inflates and drifts like a
Beach football
Never a cloud in the sky

Autumn,
The life cycle pivots around this point
Cascade of orange from the lonely French oak
We wrapped up warm, danced in the rain
Such pleasure in simple beauty

Winter,
We brace against it
Shiver as it probes the folds
Fur coats and wellies,
Crunch of fresh snow
We raced in so early
The neighbourhood held its frozen breath
it snowed every year back then
We would never catch colds
Crazy paving.

Then I drop back to reality
Some sullen pedestrian jostles me
The square paving slabs tilt and crash
Dripping grey concrete daubed across the city
Slums and cardboard houses
Rusting metal locked in
Frustrated traffic
iPhones and Blackberries trill their mating calls

Now barefoot the stones will hurt my feet
We must wrap ourselves up against the rain
The cold, the warm, the city
Scarves for the heart
Every year catch a cold
All the cracks in these square paving slabs
In summer we build nets to recapture those days
Knit together photographed memories
And silver braid
Worry and burn
Drive and yearn
Crazy paving
Our occasional childhood

Editing poetry: erase

I don’t really have any memories of my childhood except what I’ve seen in videos. Having that as the only memory makes me realise how precarious our false memories stored on media are. It seems sort of pointless taking thousands of digital pictures when a simple magnet can destroy them all.

as the crowd rises
like a congregation
or black celebration
paper streamer
credits fly out
in the wind
libidinous
crepe paper
see how they stand up so tall
in solemn reverse
they are slow procession
sedate metronome accompanied by cadillac
burst white flowers
fleck the ground
this song is on repeat

in the shaking chord
databanks
wiped clean
ruthless hum of the electromagnet
everything will be erased
at the end of this videotape
fast rewind
we will begin again

when you watch that film
of us playing in the snow
as children
my boot seemingly inching
away from outreach fingers
there will be a flicker
the frames shift down
I am trying to peer into
the fastness
into a memory
taped over

via Editing poetry: erase.

Editing poetry: blue dragons on a pattern of gold

I did have a slight obsession with mocking photographs of perspective, especially of railway lines, for a while. I apologise to those who are affected by OPS (Obsessive perspective syndrome) and who are incapable of taking pictures of anything else. I truly hope that one day, society will find a cure.

cool fog over the perspective
railway lines
he scrabbles in his pocket
dredges up
a cinder shred of paper
blue dragon curled around
squat, soft letters
they carve out the weight of things
aware of how they press down
in crush of dark gravity
dextrous flick they imbue
a simple geissler tube with
cold colour light
shape them into words
with weight
bear down cause the thin glass
to craze in lines like the
meeting of black eyelids
expand spread of fingers
grasp at the edges
and shatter
a
breath held in too long
the powder of crystal fragments
cool fog
over the perspective
of these endless railway lines

via Editing poetry: blue dragons on a pattern of gold.