“shutdown” / michael peverett

 

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“everyone’s asking”

 

Everyone’s asking - guitar guitar guitar

guitar - (what) they should be doing

 

Everything’s pulling

(you shift it) up (with) decorations

 

Everything’s (al)ready

parking with action

 

Made up my mind yeah

 

 

 

 

“a thing of the past”

 

 

Sodium lights, and the square

evening sky is olive, it’s such a deep blue.

 

*

 

was going around the garden

the twigs were airy with picked apples

the shrubs crackly with dust, old decorations,

yet tough, too. The clouds came over

like God, the gods, and fate.

I couldn’t do anything about.

 

*

 

The world of books is more infinite.

You can read across into other rooms, other families,

other perplexities.

But ours is walled.

 

 

Though I am free now I still carry

the four paving-slabs around with me.

I didn’t miss that summer, it pinned me.

 

 

*

 

In Dryden’s tinpot, tenfold chariot of leafy rhymes,

in his last political greatness,

that confident song to the patriarch son of James

jittered even as he wrote

and would never be a king at all

and the wearer him of fresh bays not after that

 

in it he talks about the true name of Rome,

(it emerges in a swell of analogies,

(TETRAGRAMMATON)

and this was or it was said to be or it may have been

 

the name of the new place

which kept its potency by staying hid

and made the new place thrive in tiles and vines, in fish

 

in noise in the history books and everywhere we name it now.

 

*

 

Curtains gathered at the knee.

 

Mrs Dryden walked upon a landing.

There was snuff, pot-pourri, orange peel, dust and yellow teeth.

The bonny script of the past was lying in criss-crossed sheets.

 

*

 

Drawing in my notebook. Cardamine pratensis

delineated in October when it’s a name.

My father’s delight when he crossed the fields,

the same the next day.... and so he would tell me on the phone.

His delight was still there.

The picture pins it down but

in the words it would float again

if the words could be a trembling web

where spring without words would hover

 

The spring songs.

About Love & Fate & Time,

the themes like apples.

 

*

 

In the dried-up riverbed

the shadow of Cassius.

A woman hurrying, holding her skirts.

 

*

 

fish swim through my books

 

the sunlight illuminates

deep into paragraphs

tiny gentlefolk are standing

in the square

 

it is a bigger city than my bedside.

 

I must have descended into the streets,

my boots squeaking. -- new leather.

 

Before I can even dip into my pocket for tobacco

I am accosted by someone I don’t know, someone of

no importance, a mere atom of the crowd

 

(though later she will turn out to be

my mother, lover & employer)

 

        The very old man in the transept

walks cupping the helichrysum to the

        white

                   day-in-the-arch.

        With the pad of his thumb

brushing the flame-coloured phyllaries.

           

 

 

 

“moons”

 

 

The Romantic poets play about in my room and their moons

are fingernails or moony beads that are shuffled around in a black velvet purse.

 

Or even like the smallest potatoes, even without eyes,

yet the real moon as it grows smaller and like a rocket

is eyed and wizened.

 

A hill looks worried with a line of traffic over its brow.

Green baskets well out of the hedges, but I see that

the night is long-promised.

 

The force of nature is cradled by the cold and

presentiments of frost. Patterns emerge in the trees,

the stayers, the youngest and biggest leaves on the penumbra of a poplar,

 

contrasted with the cherry whose russet froth is blown off

and speckles the pavements. Wolf, Lenten, Egg.

 

You can take a spade to any patch of ground

or read a brown book in a hotel to find

the infinities that have no bearing on your life.

 

Or this pine-cone in a bowl, a tower of lips that will never open

unless I bake it. But I think it’s prettier the way it is.

 

 

 

“freecell”

 

“Goodbye” stands at the door; “Sorrow” for the past

breaks with a sigh into a book’s bed.

 

Someone working so hard and someone else laughing so hard

that it’s letting them down, to

 

Frowst with drawings.

 

Money-waves in the offing, a stormy sunset,

puzzling over complex sums with the day nearly ended;

full of shit.

 

 

 

“basin”

 

 

Mushroom coloured basin with water drops

Turn from it hastily and grab the towel

in your hands - its stays in the ring, though -

 

The jeans are roughly crumpled on the floor,

the tee-shirt falls out more scrumpled,

you are wheeling around the room but don’t touch the walls.

 

7:46 is good time. You are lecturing

to a vague friend who is interested in your thoughts. You re-run

a phrase until it’s honed. 7:48 is getting late.

 

 

 

“three broken forms”

I

ode to when everything is possible

The walls crumbles along the base
of sitting in the sun
Oh the hair falls crinkled and stays
The tablecloth has a pattern of curls and fruit
___________sea-inch plates
We were alive then, too, but had forgotten.
The wind had free boxes - here cries could be heard,
________they weren’t torn away.
Terrible painting of the Last Supper,
____with a model yacht on the wall behind Jesus,
_____and two landscapes.

II

sonnet by brown and glowing waves
____that lap irregularly more and more up
the jetty, seventh-wavy,
in a cooling breeze, making Maria
________shriek with fear.
______Seaweed bank, seaweed bed
gratefully browsing the sea - who combs whom?
Brean Down is like a green glacé cherry
______________________on the brown sea.
All the clouds have combed away to the horizon
_______- they purl there
___to the selves of other countries
___ruffled into petals of grey and white -
___________But here it’s at last a clear
___________dome of blue at 17:30
__the ice-cream day came late
____________Blue dome reflected in thin line
_____________on the waves.
Tide is in and out of the sandsunk fleet
____a jet-ski whoops
throwing the water high

III

The drummer is knocking out
a mechanical 4/4.
The dust settles, live in silence.
Everything continues, chewing gum...
A beautiful island
_________filters out of the slow tides.
On the faint beachslope
_____________eventual flowers and crabs.

 

 

 

“spoon”

 

 

All the tools laced together to make a Gatling gun

 

I wondered and I ran

 

All the birds making a rooking noise in a yew,

it quieted me.

 

Inside, a slung handtowel looked restful. It was evening again, 

there were many evenings,

but I remembered the half-pace of the morning.

 

 

 

 

“shut down #3”

 

 

Crowned with the living engine:

         a straightlimbed ash.

 

“shut down.”

 

Extinct.
Media soaring, restored.
Not one grain of the thing that lived.
Will they sub for ever?

 

“wearing the leaf”

 

You place a shadow on the

happy tradition of crafts.

No, it wasn't OK after all.

 

“earn”

 

Earn your waste
by wasting for another.
Earn your dark bottles
by spraying for another.

 

(spring was always the rolling clouds
summer the grains of soil in darkness
a warm windless night that
finally expires into a newspaper
& october's pavements...
it's winter, a man shaves in a
gleaming bathroom before dawn)

 

“shut down #1”

 

Stained glass, the text
all bones. but it is melting!

 

“off the map”

 

The naturalist - any who looks, who touches.
Anyone who is.
What the roads say, is not the way.
Cars are for jumping on.

 

(rakes are for bouncing up and striking John on the nose)

 

“schooling”

 

only learn
not to be schooled

 

(which would you rather eat.

 

1: contents of kitchen sink u-bend
2: Two slugs
3: contents of ashtray swilled around with vinegar

 

- I chose 3)

 

“india rubber”

 

"Never rub anything out?"

 

      Oh no?

 

(stifled in botched communication in victorian biographies) I want to breathe!

 

(The Jim Russell racing school:
Formula Renault: yeh, it's good,
we're back. And you get pole. enabled
me to get pole position today.
tight at the front of the grid:
just let him slide past us & he's
only banged it on pole. didn't
get a time because of his qualifying
problems. Green off they go
Muller on the right great start
for Muller. At the end of this
straight you turn into Duffers. trying
to find a way through)

 

D. Greece

 

“civic duty”

 

I halfrespect the generous labours,
the pains they take.

 

Yet it was cushioned.

 

They say: it is only in compromise you have
all the sweet values!

 

Wrong.

 

“singing”

 

does not need to be underwritten
Even a commercial song
freshens the commercial existence
of vague crowds
it makes morning
saves dolphins
towel your hair - her arched eyebrows - ardent -
there's a song on the radio

 

“shut down #2”

 

I'm logged in & writing straight into a library:

Western civilization,

by everybody.


But I keep thinking of the
swish of a pencil, too.
& snubnosed
India Rubber.

 

“extinct”

 

Flowing fur is busy beneath
the planes and facings of the earth.
Once it was called servants to God.
Wiping the stubborn mildew from the wall,
which loses out so slowly & so corrupted
that it's nothing but a pattern.
I'm throwing down the cloth that I use
to force water to behave.
Strong cellars, strong offices.

 

“spoon”

 

Though it might just be a gesture:
the DOING is all in the handle
which is a column of figures

 

THE WORK TO DATE/ TOTAL: 0


and a lever, too...

 

(whose zero scoops the world

& leaves its emptiness in the bowl.)

 

[...then dog-headed Brett
& barbarous Joan
took the spoon & worked it,
blunted the blade on blackthorn
& gave it a shine.
after this marathon
it rested & shone.]

 

“fishcakes”

 

- cuts a chord


- bends at the breadcrumbs & severs <
into the wedge I'll eat
& some way beyond it, the maimed remnant


- morsels of mash

break up under the fork
A promise was not given, or kept.

 

Loss -


& then the oblivion of water.
But I've eaten.

 

“driving at night”

 

reflecting me, studs on studs
the lines of congealed cars along the road.
only WE are alive (embracing the wheel)
HEATER - and the traffic lights, who
do a cold ritual with us
& flash us past

 

“shower”

 

she had the moon & clouds plugged to the taps
& the nape of her neck shone like a path.
it was a blurred photograph
that slipped from a curved deck of similar snaps.

 

The water snaggling her hair which rubbed so
the shampoo after was slicking it foamy
like the joke about cracking an egg
& her eyes tight shut as mine have been
drumming the fierce showers onto the tiles the tracks of a bare hill


& her ears shiny like buttercup petals
as she winds her hair in a towel
& rises pinkly to stare at the mirror
at her clean face in the mist

 

 

“i don’t feel gorgeous”

 

“five night pieces”

 

The ash crown

knobby twigs, thicker than pencils

& curved & branched

a pattern that comes down to the ground

 

the tree is its own home

the tree is its own trace

Are you at home. You aren’t

really a “you”, you’re too deaf.

The tree is not really a noun

Cloud behind - a slaty day

Niche-wind

 

 

“glint”

 

up early     the monochrome children

                  are kicking the ball again

 

in the place I cross twice.

 

the young palm glints

it does not have to go /

 

 

/  the beginnings of a split

   the leaf splits into leaflets

   it is slit back to its truer structure

   fronds emerge, the knitted caudex,

   the beginnings of a tree.

 

I work in the mornings, I forget in the evenings.

 

Finished weeing or

waking up & getting out of bed.

 

        or you slop down Ibuprofen

 

So strong the desire to live the right way up,

to roll your shoulders along the path.

 

A cat wallowed on pavement

  showing its underfur

Silver painted rust flaked

Bramble grew behind a downpipe

The walls changed, the crevices hollower,

a line of them filled with grey tack.

 

in the blustery rain they are windskating with an umbrella

 

 

“person”

 

rounded boots & garters

& the swelling socks

the shadow blooming across

the jagged skitter of rocks

the broken blocks

    Richard

    Richard’s body

loaf - animal

boots. between the cleats the grains

 

sceptical

 

slates, books,

trees drop thin slates

(like the rooftiles slung in the lawn Oct 87)

 

like playing splits with a penknife.

 

 

“holier than you”

 

Cold, rain & dark

The green in cases, cold dazed rabbits...

The gramophone spreads pools of pale days

                  across my evenings.

 

Today I woke. The sunrise - radiant pink bars

& the radiator was ticking. Quiet books.

 

 

“los”

 

water bubbling in the toilet bowl

crisp around the edges

 

Aero Walker’s Descartes

surface language

 

playing cards spread on your sofa

furious geology & aeroplanes

oh-are-you-dead ribbon

 

two languages in one bed

 

A bib and a plastic mug

that falls with a thump on tabledrum

 

 

“heaven of the ‘camelot’ jumbo bag”

 

A child plays in it,

her soft toys get flung around softly:

Then you chop logs and stack

  them in the Jumbo Bag.

Perhaps it’s for folded laundry,

  white & sky-blue.

The garden waste is peeping out,

  the russian vine flowering.

It never rains, no-one has a sore throat...

 

 

“gull-noise”

 

The skin of the earth is audible here

They are half a resonance themselves

floating above the boats and bins

where their crowded souls are gorging:

and they are a light crowd who never shop

but voice their lives.

 

 

“i want to eat processed”

 

Husks and bones, crust and rind

warts and stones

scales and skin

cores and pips

gigantic cheese-scabbed scones

and broken bottle ice-cream cones

 

Oh lord, give me a softer soup

 

Pipes in liver, prickly pear

 

fish from the river, crumbs in your hair

 

 

“tapioca”

 

Below where plants fringe

is a ground where you can stir

your dabbling is nasty-sweet

but corralled in a bowl.

Panel.

Corner of a bed.

My week is a checkerboard.

Believe that tapioca stodge was back

It seemed like hell but was heaven.

Imagine that roads didn’t slice across your pupils.

[The hornbeam branch fell and tractors

came to break it up so we could

smell the sawdust]

 

 

“wet neck”

 

As if one person came & took in the rainfall

  the rain...

& took a key or a swipecard from a pocket

& without pausing went inside. Someone called

& a new impulse of business began.

The collar was slowly drying as they talked.

The taken thing became fainter but would always be rainy.

 

 

“foto of biss meadow fringe”

 

the frog had two heads under the alder

& the cowslip an unfolding dozen

- peering here & there -

a bird chipped at reedmace fluff

You forded the marsh, slippery tussocks

On a dryish fringe I unscrewed the cup with a

clatter and we heard the spring-sound:

- stillness.

 

 

“on aother panet”

 

The mountains are mushroom-shaped in the distance,

so climbing them would be cloudclimbing

but the bases are popular for their shadow,

and their exciting winds.

 

And did I even have a mission?

 

 

“shut down #5”

 

Hard hazel eyes, soft wrinkled lips

Toasted teacake, soft babble of ear-rings

Power & impatience. I always hid in a hedge.

 

Where is my homeland? Not here, for sure.

Across the sea? Of course not.

My homeland is almost destroyed, but come with me

over these strands of barbed wire & through the

                              sooty leaves of cherry laurel

to a place between plots, of dirt mould & litter.

We will wait for the rain, & I will sing.

 

My soul is dark as jelly in a larder

         & coolly sparkling

         mica of darkness

 

and one looked across a mown field

& a cut harebell lay on a bed of rough stems.

 

 

“radio performance”

 

The Cardinal’s words ran around the petunia

in cursive script, I imagined -

 

Or rather, a cloud. Square plates of cracked mud

but liquid, as if seated in forms.

 

But dark, as if flecks of oil, yolk and blood.

There was more ornamentation to be managed,

for instance the winy veins on the petunia trumpet

could be overtraced, doodling on a pad.

The Cardinal’s Oxford vigour dwindled to a shrill exclamation.

His death-scene - he is not heard any more.

 

       The leaf-split

       slow-standing

       storm of flimsy trumpets

       tissue-pink

       and stained with a winter scene

 

       Your feet on the concrete path

      are slowly walking out some steps of a dance.

      Your feet, too, hang out the washing.

 

 

 

“by the sea”                          UNDER A MOUNTAIN

 

It’s raining.                              It’s pissing down

Onion chips.                           carrots & custard

Arid September                     Boiling December

 

I’m racing to say                    I’m charging along

this. The waves                      to eat this. The grass

move everything,                   tips everything,

reflections, a                          mirrors, a

scuba balloon.                       tea trolley

 

This is a                                  Here are some

pull-out café.                           walk-in wardrobes

The sun goes down.              The moon is shining

 

 

“no going”

 

Here, on the wave of no going

these poems are almost going...

increasingly, they wash like small

                             boats

towards a swell in the sea that may

surge, resolve, collapse into drawstrings,

breakers, lanes of

               luminous pulverised weed

into the black of unknown

            horns land.

 

 

“tomato age”

 

Come to the clear city

& walk by the city shore

 

go to the hooded places

& poke in the wedgy nooks of the city shore.

 

In the brown air

the soft glare of the horns.

 

The crane stands a long time

for a few hours’ use.

 

The gleaming made him reflect:

he grew up in a Tomato Age:

 

a noise composed of laughter & pasta:

transparent onions & a child running downstairs.

 

It’s raining chips of onion

 

Sometimes there were many cars crowded bumpers

against birches into the carport swaying with a bag.

He was lighting a candle & there was rumbling on the hob.

 

And a sliding door – can that be “ajar”?

And a broken tile – is that “shards”?

 

 

 

“few humans”

 

we humans wait

in crowds for someone to pick us out

to recognize

how padding about our lives

& shifting property slitting envelopes

bowls under the tap

we were always waiting

 

 

“against the work”

 

You write about anything, you tell lies about it

You use the writer’s language to betray a stone

You tell stories about “children”

                    who are all little writers

whose tap-water seems to them “like crowds”

Their TV screen & the adverts on it

    are just pastel-coloured oblongs

(very restful too - lemon mousse)

The businesses you write about

          are fronts etc

 

 

“spanish resort”

 

not to describe but to name

the clouds wafting into shelves

the “Gofle Choco” dripping on my hands...

The Copper legacy: a dusty parked car.

 

Shouldn’t I gather up the people on

                  the Playa Poniente

& wrap each figure in green cloth?

 

Universe of alcohol, stacks of plates

                     hot from the machine

Ribbons of silence, a puffy face like a saffron bun.

 

With all the films, tears, packets of Embassy,

cotton-buds, drinks, coins & keys

 

Stoned & red wine too:

yellow books, green birds

sunlight glossing the leaves

the harsh clatter of holly.

 

*

 

Promenading.

 

Xococrep, S.L.

why is my thought

 

they drop to crumbs,

  those blurring flutters

 

a big boat is

  motionless

 

by the shore their

  walking is beautiful,

 

all the long legs

  moving like a sea

     anemone

 

they have forgotten

 

 

 

“glossy granite”

 

Glossy granite

   why shouldn’t I play

   a bagpipe dance in my heart?

It’s smoky and dimlit

   long paths lead away

 

 

 

“in trees”

 

The larches are bunched here

Touch big blocks

& slender, dwindling into the haze

 

They put out the colours of my pencil box.

The larch twigs in my socks

The holly leaves in my arse

The dead bracken the colour of pencils on the

    gladefloor, on the path that isn’t

               really a path...

 

The bracken in my face, a stem

with no lead in it, crackles

 

 

“soft bourgeois poem”

 

In the long field the plough

cuts slivers of long brown earth

rich with the scent of dung

& flecked with ancient

terracotta crumbs.

 

Steam rises from the horses’ backs

& the steady stream of piss.

They are working up the gull-shouldered picture

in the magazine. Rhubarb & coconut crumble;

yellow melt floating

on the warm surface of the cream.

 

 

“the world is lovely”

 

The world is lovely, and especially its green rind,

and the animals tunnelling through it

from one glimpse of sky to another;

hammerblow to hammerblow,

pig eating grain.

 

 

“thousand island dressing”

slop it over nothing

 

the thin water in the pond slops with piranha-swirl;

 

the frogs come singly through the night, pausing

 

after every stroke, to enjoy what their fixed eyes show.

 

Their plastic bodies have become saturated with desire

 

- Arboreal bodies, plumper with history -

 

and their anxious ears are impELLed by

 

deep, lingering rottles. Celandines swell from the turf,

 

the cloudcover humps up into a cloudbank,

 

the layers of cloud spread curdled

 

releasing inlets of light into the warm under-air.

 

I’m blinking on the tarmac, I brushed winter dirt

 

from the red bonnet of my car. If I’d been out here

 

already I would understand this more buoyant word

 

but the car-keys are already in my hand. Two of them,

one for each eye. So

 

I drove somewhere, as if I’d gone down into the

engine-room of my own muscles and pulled a few levers.

It’s the only way, driving, of staying on the map.

 

The place I drove to was a garden sprouting with grass,

and the pots were water-logged.

 

The thin water bobbles into mounds of frogspawn;

the frogs bask in their reproduction, paddling

in the small, important hemisphere of the pond.

With the home-feeling reassuring them, they sit

with their heads out breathing. Their fixed eyes enjoy it,

and their powerful ears scan the big hemisphere

from the smaller importance which is a mush

and a mild bivouac into which they can dive

more snugly and still bigger than before.

Their fixed eyes are slowly absorbing restlessness -

there is no home.

 

 

“home”

 

You read a newspaper to avoid finding anything out.

You jump into a car to avoid going anywhere.

You worm your way around the magnified grey

        wrinkles of a pollengrain: Home.

 

 

“zenith 2”

 

my heart is a flame

when it is evening,

coming in to shore.

 

The clouds for the moment are a

  floriferous ceiling

  veined like mallows

 

there are no horiz

on-hymns impor

ting their hints

 

only the sombre shadow

of an imperfect engine

right here.

 

They thin away leaving

  a racetrack for swifts

  strimming invisible manna

  from a box of light, yeah.

 

in one diamond

are all Steve Howe’s guitars

radiating, as in the photo.

We went on a long, hot

walk and found an offy

drank barley-wine in a ditch

 

The black swift gobs gold,

  adjusting.

 

I might have seen too much

to see the sparkling mallow flower.

But not the drooping leaves

of a lime tree, streaked with

yellow bracts. Old men are

working at old jobs,

preparing idle reports. Perhaps

they haven’t the go to meet

a deadline.

 

our black trousers – mine

had a filthy hanky in the pocket,

stiff with a summer cold.

 

now I’ll tilt a Bonaqua bottle

to the sky – it is pierced with

sunshine. It’s impossible

for me to do more

than libate the drooping lime.

 

Blue aspiration, baffled journey.

  Aching I lay down, my mind

  etched, willow with slim leaves

  waved aerial grass,

  mottled maple crested

  its branched history

 

our long school ties & our

long hair. I wish it had been

a real friendship john this roaming

from the school I hated into

hendrix yes faust into

long dusty roads guitar guitar

with mallow flowers.

 

The phone rings. They make

some arrangements, perhaps

to be faxed, and while this is happening

someone bring an A4-size lid

with plastic cups of icy water.

And the desk-fans move about.

 

I have completed the story:

now for the judging.

 

the sun is not so high,

it pierces through the green grass

making it luminescent

in its own shadows

 

(I wish I was that stick-insect

who re-evolved wings...)

 

I had no sorrow, only pain.

Tomorrow would be as blue,

glistening like an insect’s eyes.

 

The swifts sheared over the guttering,

   a dog’s distance made a continuity

  which was a pulse. I heard the

  summer, the sun dipping.

 

 

 

 

“of the town”

 

They should sell booze in the charity shops
- if anyone would donate it. <

You can still read for a long time
- lonely people do -
but you can't think to any purpose;
it's the walls.

In half-internal streets you can
make transactions. It's a world
of illusions. The empire of booze flourishes here.
A Hollywood horror is as credible

as a weed. Much more so than -
Well, the smooth snake of the Dorset heaths?

You come to know a string of the town.
Most of the insides are secrets;
is it true that they smell
overwhelmingly the same?

2

I only have one subject, leaves.

It was another warm day, they

wiped the tables and shut up shop.

We had watched sooty coots, a

family paddling near the open nest.

We wanted our kind of coppery drink

& the rooms had all closed with

one tick of the clock; we were

quartering the riverside park, a stroll

with eyes, ideas, extending veins, hot

auburn lungs, scales, tendons. Gravel

uphill to a weird building: smokeglass entrance,

chlorinated air, steps, swing-doors, polystyrene

cups & scalding water, steamed lips.

 

            3

Town-fond. It's a place of skipping jumps and water.
God made the town
and Darwin made the country.
Look at all the churches! He made the walls,
working his ends through the builders who love camping in open mess;
who alter. alter. but stop if they don't get paid.
Their openness making our cells.
In the country, clean kills.
In the town, neglect and dirt and law - signs of a moral arrangement.

4

It's more than sexual,
the curve that you touch
or jump across.

We jumped across a
circling stream -
is that an impossible thing,
though you accept it in the day-time?

The curve of the road and the walls
originating from brooks and ribbon-margins
made from straight walls and
the right-angles of bricks.

The duck's trajectory - straight
from water to water
landing in a soft water.
Chevrons...
The tips of the duck's wings
swinging up and down as she funnels through the air,
embroidering her directness
with sine-waves.

 5

pay out another elbow of the commercial chain.

I am fat like the town; helplessly, not discontentedly,
fat like a brick; but why do I have this sick feeling
when the evening sun goes down?
(as if I was too much wall, and the grilles all shabby?)

A plastic bin clouded with grime.

Like when you see a yellow sign for Diverted Traffic,
pointing to the right,
and you think "Is that meant for me?"
"Have I been diverted?"

6

Trev stripped out the dash
and went to work with the sealant gun
forcing his shoulders under the steering wheel.

In the car, dusk gathered.

He rose from sleep before sunrise,
whipped by the alarm into the illuminated bathroom
where the noise of the fan was a motor
and he stood wiping in steam.
He was ejected alive,
the boy was clumping around in his room,
Sandra in her dressing-gown was at the sink
with the radio and her back to him.
Hello.

7

The town is coursing, I want to zip its mouth shut.
We're living on a plate. Beneath us, gravy stains (ie on the tablecloth).
We're living on a clean plate that's been set down on a dirty tablecloth.


 

 

 

“lucky luke”

 

 

Gunmetal bodywork implied otherwise, he knew

as he wandered up roads that seemed (they weren't) sandy

 

so close to the level diminution of the hills, the

creatures rushed to dots, exposures of Sunday.

 

He jogged, spitting away the drink; a long dry valley

between grey cliffs, high ledges crowned

 

with spider plants. He knew these were bookshelves,

and the valley was his life. He was

 

going to be ambushed. He ran effortlessly,

thrilled by the distant hum, the bedroom

 

they might quarter, the clothes they might plunder

from each other. It was already a

 

golden abscess in his shadows. At dusk the elders

were watching again, like the mild sea-clouds

 

when he named Christiane, and grandmother rejoiced.

   

 

“description”

 

    Cups of flowers, cups of cloud

    the reaching willow     each branch

    taken up its segment

 

                air passes itself through

                        leaves

 

So heavy laden waves

      why do I lose a sense of

                 your wetness,

                         blindly immersed?

Only one’s arms drip, only air

                          is wet.....

only a squidged towel is damp,

    easy to pick up, weighty

and showing dark stain on the rock.

 

only wet hair sluices, slicks down

     your back, comes to an

   end in pushy prongs, squeezes

               through the elastic, barrel-bowed

 

crochet loop is wet now

 

water rains around ankles

    pattering from rinsing under arms to rugs

 

a pansy frenzy

 

 

“the toilet in its foulness”

 

The toilet in its foulness

leaks down the knotted cloths.

He don’t obey no “ordures”

unless they is his own.

The toilet in its silence

appeared outside, in the street.

 

Filthbucket reporting for duty

 

 

 

“impotent scribble”

 

 

will you hear

if I call from a washstand?

if I sang

from the dun hemisphere

of a thousand trooping battalions

shouldering arms?

 

pleasure-seeking I never sought pleasure

but freshening skies

and enlargements of letters you wrote

 

if I sleep

if I wake unprepared

will you hear

when I don’t want you near

& am breathlessly calling

only from a washstand?

 

militarily underdone beef

has crumpled & fallen

alongside the eddying leaves

it was here in the forest

the processes sank into

hummocks of leaves.

 

*

 

      .....But, for the

wheels, plunged in leaves,

in the persistence of

our sombre ground –

 

 

“years”

 

The sweetness of a leaf

the crimped, rough folding of the twig

Your frayed jean-shorts

A complex, muscular stepping

on sand, on bikes

The sweet leaves flying yellow

and a punch of light thrusts upward

through the seasons

until it bathes, in speech.

 

 

 

“thicko’s second poem”

 

 

Buildings laid out, a rough sight; so far hardened and still wit

h cranes, co-operating with more stacks.

 

Rude words die at the coast, a hat rolling in a washing-mach

ine. It’s best to be tired in a different way, to swim and the sk

y be lidded, shard meeting shard

 

as first and last with lights;             he has worn all and felt

so assaulting the palms, which     even what he made us feel

  do not seem innocent,                     and couldn’t finish.  

 

 

 

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