Downfall

Downfall. pic

 

yesterday the drive was a dustbowl

throwing up swirls of fine dirt in skittish air

then overnight I woke to the sounds

of wet soldiers feet marching a tattoo

on glass and brick and stamping on the very earth

that had so recently been raised in mutiny

hot light shrieked and tore at the curtains

followed by the portentous roll of the wall of sound

clouds make as they collide, a herald for

the teeming mass of tears unleashed in war

as I lay in dry, warm peace, a double glazed

window pane away from the fray

harboured in sheets that would comfort me

until the dawn could rise and reveal

what happened without and beyond  my complacency

Yes, the soil turned by dervishes will now be tame

and the once arid landscape is now lush

in honour of the gods of the night just gone

so I look out now on a grateful scene with leaves and shoots

roots and greening grass replete

all sated by conflicts the elements dictated

now gone, moved on by angels and their laments

for casualties and needless deaths

forgetful,

 the weather marches on precipitating yet more dreams

If only war were so benign.

Gate House

Gate House. pic

 

some people mind

take the opportunity to sneer

to feel superior

at the man in his hut with the power

to raise or lower a barrier

that demarcates the space between

those that have

a very great deal

and those that are consigned to less

As I pass through as an invitee to a ‘do’

into the world of more

I feel unsteady, as if I am being asked

to join a club and become complicit

in a robbery

wherein the rich steal a little more

from their compatriots. The poor.

pond skaters waltz on the surface of water

ruffled by a fountain centred in an ornamental lake

as swans glide-by and fish do their mystery below

A midday sun renders warmth to shade and etches at

the silhouettes of anything that moves. Languid strokes.

All of it quite nonchalant.  Removed from caring

for the man in the hut with the power to raise a barrier

watching them all come and go from his common place

his vigilance, their shield

Some people mind

Sin Street. Sitges. 2017.

Sin Street. Sitges. 2017.

 

Narrow streets criss-cross

in a town that once was

heavy with the swaying legs

of mariners and anglers home from the sea.

 

Now it is swollen by the lustful stares

of men who harbour thoughts of other men

and women too who have a passion

for one another’s views.

 

Rows of seats line up facing each other

far from ambivalent

readied as if to joust

with anyone in a queue.

 

The pedestrian is fair game,

not so much for molestation

but the hungry appraisal of passing trade

discussing weights and measures.

 

Sin Street seethes in any light

at any time of day

but comes into its own at night

when darkness swells the fever.

Waste Away

waste-away

The bin men parade down our street

all purpose and speed.

Rolling before them a thunder of work.

Of bins and trays and discarded things

their noise punctuating this slow morning.

And every week the clock-work of waste,

of renewal through removal

by these early day storm troopers

advances and moves to another front.

Still fast and hot. Dull-eyed but

eager to finish an infinite job

and park their oozing lorries

out of sight

lest the war be lost.

And when they’ve gone the gimlet eyed residents

let in the clean and calm,

scuttling out to retrieve their empties

and return to an order

only they can comprehend

as they claim peace

in the recently returned

status quo.

Get over it

Get over it

Get over it

 

I am the hole in my entirety

A doubt in the mass of humanity

 

Each breath I take, a rehearsal

For another crack at dismal

 

I am tension in taught wires

A cough in the orchestra pit

 

All of me spot-lit and disappearing

In simpering pools of shame

 

On some well trodden stage

Flecked with dust and grease paint

 

The motes of haunted fabric

Gauzy in the lights

 

And I wait

For somebody to find me out

 

A specialist of the shadows

A spectre of the show

 

To heckle

And shout my name.

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

Crossing a line

 

Short skirts on the terminus floor

At a quarter to midnight

On a cold night in Glasgow

The young marionettes tick tock

In false excitement

Cheap perfume and ritual movements

Teetering on heels. To and fro

The public toilets at 40p a throw

 

This is my welcome tableau

To friends across our northern border

And as I wait in line at a taxi rank

I feel foreign but glad

That we live in peace

And the excited tongues of people in transit

Ignore me yet accommodate my presence

As they step purposefully about

 

I will look back on that night

Reminiscing of how they swooned

Made a profit on their exuberance

Or not, as the case may be

And I know that their confusions

Were mirrored shards of experience

Across the globe in different garbs

And all their tongues fell silent eventually