Gravity Boots

Your voice was
Motown
frozen in acid,
thawing out at dawn
in the Nevada desert.

Your embrace was
a pair of gravity boots within
an exercise in weightlessness.

Your walk was
like a time machine slowing
detail, casting a magnifying lens
over surface.

Your wit was
like one magpie being joined
by another;
broken shells hanging
from beak as the sun sets.

Your words rest
within this vacant mansion
of my heart;
marionettes with their strings
laid to rest.
Inanimate but present.

 

 

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I found God in Vermillion House
a glittering brutalist council tower
totemic on the horizon

He was loitering in the stairwell
and stank of piss and PineFresh
glittering with tin

the tinkling sound of empties
strung out in the morning breeze
forewarned of his divine and glittering presence

and decorated these concrete angles
with infinite glittering space-time
and celebration cake on lace

the glittering tinkling filling my head
with clear water and ice;
my thirst was quenched.

Today is a new day and the longest
of the year
standing on the balcony fifty-two floors up
humming the glittering sun in

hands empty, the photographs of home dropped in dry Libyan cells

just the glittering of fire sparks
everywhere I look

igniting paper in old books
which tell of milk and glittering honey for those chosen again and again

extolling what makes one life grievable and another’s not-
when the glittering truth unravels beyond sea-burial

and in the surviving speeches
of primary school teachers
hanging in mildewed classrooms
like small glittering triumphs

and in the making of tea in battered
glittering pots from Baghdad
to warm the elderly neighbour from Broadstairs

and in the pile of glittering cellophane -wrapped flowers seen from this window

not in those subterranean glittering gold dens
of numbers and rank and numbness

not in my glittering name…
Come here, God, take a look
at this view

 

 

 

The Theatre of Sudden Death

It was a middle class delight
a five quid Easter workshop crafting
a miniature stage with backdrops
and tiny props of clay and card
for kids.
Everything under control.
At the end we all promenaded
past each other’s simulacra.

There was a stone henge forced
by a Druidic parent,
a wizard’s incantations realised
in grotesque pipe cleaners and Macbeth’s three hags around a pot.
In one scene a Victorian nanny
was decapitating a child with her
moving arm, a brutal Mary Poppins.

Perhaps they were all channelling
the Easter message, the perfect
puppetry of animation over death,
the confronting of things in neat boxes.
Contained and of interest.

Painting in circles, loving in triangles

I was born on the floor of a gallery;
my mother’s blood pooling
in front of a Bacon triptych.
The audience sketched me
and derided her
as she lit a cigarette
and hauled us both to
the leather couch.

Childhood was bucolic
and mostly feral in the mansion
where God was dissected,
splayed with pins on a board
and painted around in
mint and lavender gouache
against gold.

We were encouraged to
personalise all things with art;
reimagining purpose and design-
turning bath tubs into feather beds
and eating under the tables;
it was a place of libertines
and lovers,
re-wilded by vision.

The day my quiet sister fell into
the pond after eating codeine
she was celebrated whilst we picked out
lily stems tangled in her dark hair
and an Epic Poem was recited
although she had convulsed, refused dinner
and pissed into a palm pot;
forever altered, a changeling.

Now I slash canvas and write omens
on napkins,
always on the road and looking
for bread, coffee, the back seat of
a car for one night
I am free but as lonely as a cloud,
bitter sweet.
To the manor born but I’ll
choose to die in a vacant lot
with birds nesting upon me.

 

 

Notes:

Is cruelty morally better if by omission rather than commission and also if aesthetically pleasing?

Does ritual enable healing?

Are personal freedom and depth of relationships on two opposing scales?

image

Where are the borders?

A border is defined as “The line which divides one country from the other” or “The edge or boundary of something, or the part near it.”-Cambridge English dictionary, 2016.
If you look at a pencil line under a microscope you will see that there is a grading of the line, a soft blurring of graphite particles on either side of the dark centre with no actual line apparent.

300 million years ago Gondwanaland merged with Laurasia to create the supercontinent Pangaea . We were not even in existence.

Where are the borders?
These are both invisible and born of tectonic furnace all at once. Does it matter in some urgent way to know where a line lies after such baptism of fire?

In the cave I see the handprint outline  of iron oxides scraped from the cold earth and spray-blown through a bone.
The same hand as my own.
Where are the borders? Between them and us, then and now?

From the Baltic shores of Schleswig Holstein people migrated scraping frost from bulwarks for drinking water..
Landing on the British Isles they ate apples and rosehips spitting out
bitter and irritant seeds.

Where are the borders? Send them all back.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds was on the radio when the first huddle of proto-hominid bones was revealed.
A riveting together of hazy ancestors to the self by evolutionary nails-hammered through brittle sternum
splintering monkey from super-fool further still….

Where are the borders? Are we still animals? Are we beyond natural redemption? What happens after we prioritise ourselves?

In the ’80s my friend had shit posted
through her front door in honour
of her Pakistani heritage.
If you had asked her, she was culturally closer to Kate Bush
than Benazir Bhutto
and always sun bathed.
Later that night her abusers ordered Chicken Jalfrezi.
Where are the borders? When did mustard seeds first arrive in England?
Can you have roast beef without
the neon smear of Colman’s?

Mahatma Ghandi championed swadeshi or home economy
and urged national production by local means,
as well as peaceful protest.
He celebrated a diverse and unified India regardless of languages, cultures, colour.

UKIP also supports national production by local means.
UKIP feel that immigrants are
draining the NHS of its life blood.
Sir Magdi Yacoub is the world’s leading transplant pioneer; a British surgeon of Egyptian descent..
If you like Benson & Hedges
he’s for you.
Best survival outcomes.

Pre-migration predictions of an aging indigenous population

stressing the NHS with systematic decommissioning and dismantling are not a back story.

Where are the borders? Was your baby saved by the care of a Rwandan I.T.U. nurse?? Did her warmth make a difference? Does it matter who saves your baby? Which babies should be saved?

When I was young you could sleep in empty buildings with birds nesting inside and dance at rig parties after
daylight had burned out,
resting on still useful sofas, encountering different people and their voices in a human loom with sweat dripping off the walls.
Now public space is privately patrolled with coffee sold to you in
the same disposable cups tasting of Colombian children’s hands and pesticide.
Where are the borders? Does globalisation work? Who gives anyone the right to determine what works and what does not?

I am selling your kid an A.K.A. because I can. What happens in your garden is your problem. You are in charge of the rules of play but I can sell your kid anything I like and this erodes any sense of rules of play.
When your kid accidentally kills you and comes looking for a new mother  and a good new life do not expect me to house him. It is nothing to do with me.

Where are the borders? Soldiers are soldiers, even aged 9yrs. They would rather play Mario than Call of Duty- that’s an 18 rating FFS.

In this intimacy of breathe
and sweat, neural voltage on high,
a sighing of mountain ridge views
and sparkling river valleys in bed
I become you and you become me.
Where are the borders?
Who is it I really desire? You? Me?
The truth? The body? Does it matter?

I can’t recall who you are
although there is a striking sense of
familiarity like I know I should do…
I won’t be anxious though; this happens a lot- it’s a new reality.
Being a writer, I would say it feels dystopian.
Were you the neighbour who called
round with a bag of apples?
Were you the nurse from that other place?
I can’t help but like you…
but how can you say you are my daughter?
Where are the borders to where
my memory can take me?
I hear that reading stories can
open up such borders
and are being used to help
people like me.

I believe it could help- stories that is.
It could help people like you and me,
to push at the borders, boundaries, limits, what is known, what is safe, what is accepted, what is contained on our behalf by others.
Do you wish to be contained?
How free are you? How do you exercise your freedoms?

The Incantation

The incantation is one which evokes flying to your lover where ever they are

The incantation

is one which evokes flying

to your lover

where ever they are.

 

It identifies

the properties of true love

like a litmus test-

unequivocal.

 

The incantation is from

dusty households where

statues cry milk

& girls bleed into women.

 

The incantation has been

animated by drought,

sighed in petit morte

& drawn by revolutionaries

in sunlit rooms.

 

The incantation is

studied by librarians,

dreamed of by prisoners

and lines forest hammocks.

 

It is a meme celebrating

the occult amongst city artists

but watch how it diminishes

with every writing

for it is a thing of the air,

not the pen…

 

The incantation is one

which evokes

flying with eyes shut

to your lover

where ever they are..