70

By the time the fires reached the outskirts of the city
the rats had all fled the center
diving out of the streets
and into the rivers where they
drowned
in their best efforts to survive.

 

The people, on the other hand,
they understood water better,
knew that flame and wave were just as dangerous as each other
when engaged with recklessly
and so they funnelled themselves beneath each other's feet
thinking their neighbours were closer to sanctuary
that the elements.

 

They had forgotten

as people often do in times of panic
and progress
that people are a force of nature also.

Sixty Nine

Nobody can possibly live like this,

plugged into the nerves of the city directly

feeling every car-crash and mugging,

tasting every drunken stumble home
and every regrettable midnight alleyway kiss
and yet
here she is, locked into the chair
suspended a hundred stories above the ground
like a seer-godess manifest in digital technology
neon lights and cable-tie jewelery

to keep the streets flowing with power
and feet rolling smoothy along the pavement

playing her people like panpipes.

Sixty Six

Yesterday the trees taste like smoke and ritual scarring.

Yesterday the earth is freshly tilled and foxes have never been called 'urban'.

Yesterday the hunters climb hills that today have been leveled flat
burned into concrete portraits
and built into temples to careless gods
but the earth, I promise you, remembers what it has always been.

Sixty-Seven (The Door Closes) (Title Offered by Owen)

 

The frame shakes and clatters as you slam closed
the door that we spent so long cutting
into the brick walls we built when we were obsessed with being doctors
do you remember?

We'd seen so many of us drown in the creeks
where we had burned all our bridges
that we could no longer stand this prolonged siege warfare
so we took up mallets and chisels
and built a portcullis into the silence between us.
I had hopes higher than your rampart battlements in those early days
that we could one day figure out how to be at peace again
put away our weapons and drink toasts together
but now that hope seems foolishly idealistic.

We are only people after all,

and a door can always be closed and barred
and need never be opened.

65

He is waiting for someone to come along
and sweep him off his feet
into the dustbin where he belongs.
He knows that his skin is his
but it's always felt like it was cut for someone else
so he shifts in it,
surprised that he managed to find a shirt that got anywhere close to fitting.

 

He is keeping his eyes open for a revolution
but he doesn't know which direction it might be coming from
or if it'll even bother to show this side of his lifetime.

 

He saw 'Waiting for Godot' once and felt like,

for the first time,

that someone knew him
but that was a long time ago now
and none of his friends seem to get it
in quite the way he does.

 

He is not expecting anyone to turn up with the answers
to his psychic crises

but he has never been able to shake the feeling that salvation
is just around the corner
wearing a florescent jacket
and carrying a bundle of bin-bags
full of all the secrets of the universe

and even though he knows that he is probably wrong
he is more than willing to wait.

Circles (For Charley Barnes)

Mars loops wildly around the Sun,
cutting it's wake as though it knows

that is named for a war god.
 

Mercury spins fierce, bobbing and dashing
like a hurricane rocket so close to it's
radiant father that I cannot help but keep it's driving foot
held firmly to the peddle.

 

Pluto, Icy orphan underworld god
lopes it's circles lazily.

It does not care that we do not believe in it's planethood
it knows that Time has always been on it's side.


And Earth, center of the universe,

first place in arrogance
where the gods have only visited

swings like a metronome
keeping mortal time
and noticing nothing
of the circles that make up it's universe.

Sixty Three

The billboard flashes in bright neon
like it is auditioning for a place at a rave
right behind the DJ where everyone can see it
and no-one will pay it any mind.

 

It flickers wild and hopeful,
screaming it's inherent beauty
In a language that it has no control over.

 

It is hoping that one day it will take back it's tongue
tell a story that it has even the smallest shred of investment in
so that at last all the eyes that pass over it
will see it for what it truly is
and not what it has been made to be.

The Ocean- (For Daisy Edwards)


If you needed any more evidence
that humanity was made for this planet

then look no further than the sheer quantity of water
that makes us both up,

the way we slosh and swirl
as we stride across the aquatic skin
of this tiny blue marble.

Think of how little of our deepest depths we know,
the way our minds keep secrets
like the Mariana Trench
leagues deeper than we have ever managed to take a lamplight
Imagine what we might be able to do
if we could dredge everything there is to learn
from either of those depths.

Garden Bonfires: The Rules

1)   Make it as big as possible

2)   Get everyone involved

3)   Check for hedgehogs

4)   Leaves leaves leaves!

5)   Only dry leaves

6)   Don’t use mum’s nice roses

7)   Don’t use the neighbor’s nice roses ether!

8)   Only dad gets to play with fire

9)   Don’t touch the fire

10) NO REALLY, IT WILL HURT.

11) Everyone gets marshmallows

12) Everyone gets sparklers

13) Everyone gets to be together

14) Now we really know what warmth means.

A Brass Bell (Forty-Eight) (Title by Ben Scotson)

             Brass,
                                                              old and crac
                                                          ked in places still
                                                       knows how to chime
                                                      and boom with the be
                                                     st of them, a Bright so
                                                                      N

                 D

Forty Six

Beginning

   The winning

        While whining

            And pining

                 For chimed things

                        Like crime stings

                                      For new bling

                                           ‘Aint got no thing

                                                    on shown rings

                                                            that got blown out

                                                                  and thrown ‘round

   the dirty ground
            it hurts me now
                and we can’t get out

Forty 4

One

            Sound

                         Dripping

                                            Like

Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain

 

Onto                                 everything                                          we                                               were

36

Jack approaches the Queen,
Tells her that he thinks the
Aces are plotting to overthrow the king.
She tells him not to worry:
the deck is stacked.

My Prayers Have Become Ghosts (Thirty-Eight) (Title from a song by Varien)

My prayers used to be solid,
Sanctuarious friends
whirling happenstance
around the insides of my temples
old, sanctimonious dervishes
who breath comfort in like
respirator resurrections.

Now, they’re all withered,
lain down their tornado dances
to sleep in desert tombs
where they have manifested
as ghosts that hover by my bedside
begging to be projected at nothing.