Your Boy

 

To see the contours of your face, each morning,

Is as watching the sun break like a wave

Over the world. I awake to find I am lost:

I am a child, never seen the sea before,

Adoringly taking in the first fresh sight of it,

Its majesty, its ever-changing sameness,

Its uncrafted and uncraftable wonder.

Stray boy, falls across a curious formation

Of facial angles, perfect, maritime.

All this, in silence; barely a sigh is seen

To raise the smooth exposure of your chest,

The proneness of your inward-curving waist

As you lay like a valley’s horizon on your side.

A child, who’d never heard the sea

Trapped in a shell, can barely hear you sleeping.

A poor fool, lost in wonder that such grace

And poise should flow from an unconscious form:

I awake in dreaming, and in waking, lose

All memory of being anything but your boy.

 

Most Honest Curriculum Vitae

 

I think there have been times when, applying for a stop-gap job or something just to pay the rent for a while, we have all got sick and tired of the strange game of mutual deception played in the admissions process. I think we have all wanted to write a perfectly honest CV which simply states it as our soul demands. 

 

Age: Still and forever 21.

Interests: At times, none;

Other times, I enjoy the company of friends in wine,

Or wine in friends, depending,

Evenings never-ending,

Musing on nothing but beautiful things.

I also enjoy chocolate, honestly.

Qualifications: I did school. That happened once, I think.

I excelled at dalliance. I loved to read,

By sixth form I delighted in the flings

Of passion, and discovered the art of drink.

Ambitions: At times, a little less than none.

At others, to be in love with everyone;

To wish impossible happenings;

To smile upon life from the shade of an autumn tree;

I’d love one day to make one perfect gesture

In a restaurant, or say the perfect line

To insult an assailant mid-stride, to meek submission.

Such is my mission.

Availability: Reluctantly,

Wishing for summer to last a little longer:

I’ll await however long the hour that’s mine.

 

Aspiring writers and artists should particularly sympathise with the urge just to shout, half-way through the “tell me about yourself” sections, that I AM AN ARTIST, LIFE IS TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR THIS JOB BUT PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY 

Cut off

 

The morning we awoke – and they’d cut us off,

Without internet, unawares – it rained a great deal.

Phones received nothing. Our screens finally ignored us.

There were no alerts, for which to stay alert.

I padded the kitchen, lit a fire for the kettle,

Drew water from the well, sang to myself that song

From my old country. You emerged, showered from the stream,

And still wet, we held each other and watched the rain.

By some sweet miracle, we had nothing, dearest nothing,

And you gave me the news – no internet – just as a blessing.

It was a blessing, just as the quiet rain.

Nobody in the whole, weird world knew we were there.

No photographs, no comments. No change of status.

Our loving, lost morning with the rain, and nothing stirred.

 

 

Around a month ago something happened with our broadband. All our access, all our wifi, just radiated white noise. There was nothing: by some accident of fate, or some technical fault, we were cut off from everything for an entire day. And it was one of the most precious days I have ever had. 

Tokens

 

I would place before your feet

The entirely of my years of moments’ pleasures,

For one second of a smile.

 

While you dreamt, I would lay before you bottles

Emptied through mirth; all my loose change

From weekend after weekend poorly spent;

 

A collection of oddments, photographs

From seaside places; the north of France;

The postcard of my first true kiss, years past;

 

A world of textbooks I one time read,

And all the serials I spent long nights

Hungrily reading through, to find somebody;

 

My first pair of skinnies, and my first and last

Cigarette packets; the soft and pleasant earth

Where as I child when walking I once fell;

 

My teddy bear, a replacement for you

Before I knew you; toys broken; my Game Boy Colour,

Though I lost it, I would find and place beside you;

 

Locks of my hair, when cut into new styles,

I’d place in envelopes and leave beside your bed.

Sweet wrappers, precious stones, new shoes

 

Turned old from tread and love; whole afternoons,

The weighted sun: the lingering, happy sun,

I’d cup in my hands and present to you, a mere token;

 

A recording of my graduation day; my diary,

Kept in secret nights, for want of you

Even before I knew you; scented candles

 

Left to slumber beside the bath where I

Lost whole days, dreaming; the very footprints

Of walks by the lake two miles from where I lived;

 

I would gather these precious and all once-precious things

And leave them at your bedside while you slept,

If I could catch you, sleeping, with a smile.

 

Summon Me Softly

 

I may not be an angel, or a Fate.

I drink my tea, and head to bed at midnight.

But this I state:

 

Though I have made my worried way to bed

Without you, and left the waking night to you:

Think this instead.

 

Trace a circle of chalk by any street

Or walkway; whisper the secret word;

Click the shoes on your feet;

 

Or hold your breath for ten impatient seconds;

Or plea to the moon: and, as if by magic,

To me it beckons.

 

Dash a note on paper, throw it down a well,

Flick a penny for luck, cross yourself twice

And see where it fell;

 

Stroke a likeness of me in your hand,

Do whatever you believe: turn round and cry,

And there I’ll stand.

 

I may not be an angel, or a Fate.

But say the word, or even wish it true,

And simply wait.

 

Stare in the mirror, and call my name three times.

I’ll be the shadow for you in the corner,

The wind through the chimes.

 

So keep in your pocket a pendant, or a lock of hair,

Your gris-gris bag or any forget-me-not,

And keep me there.

 

And heaven knows I’m flesh and bones: but call,

And I’ll dimension-shift through any door

Or concrete wall,

 

I’ll emerge in eldritch fire. I’ll manifest

In white-noise words, or the Ouija’s secret verse.

Put me to test.

 

Keep a candle for me. Dress it tenderly

In fragrant oils, and light it after dark.

The flame is me.

 

 

Dedicated to, and written especially and peculiarly for, a certain special someone. Incidentally the overall theme is inspired heavily by the séance -rock of Morrissey, and there’s a great ambiguity over whether the narrator here has simply gone to bed early, or has finally sprung from this mortal coil. The message still stands. 

 

Epitaph for The Reader

 

 

2013-10-07 11.09.48

 

 

I took my long-awaited place.

I lay beside a lonesome grave,

 

The leaves around and all above

Fair figments of a peace, enough:

 

Dwelt in that green and leafy shade;

Resumed my bookmark-sleeping page,

 

Opened the crinkled book of life

For years of solace to surmise,

 

And savoured simply in that peace.

I hardly stirred to see the bees

 

Which sowed a silk of sound around

The wildflowers, unremembered all about.

 

I might have moved. Indeed, I might have died.

I have my book. I will abide awhile.

 

 

I have often found myself drawn to reading in the dappled shade of trees on a summer’s day. Naturally. What other type of shade do trees make in summer, other than “dappled”? Hmm? 

But it is particularly evocative to do so in a graveyard. To feel alive, and yet at peace; a guest and an intruder; vital, yet silent. I’ve written an immeasurable quantity of god-awful poetry about it already in my short and aimless life. But it did recently occur to me that I might write the reader’s own epitaph, both in the sense of my own epitaph and also that of “the reader,” that curious soul who lives their life in books until the very end. Quietly beautiful and unsettling in its self-reference. I hoped. 

As for the previous works upon which this palimpsest was written, it’s the usual texts: Morrissey, Seamus Heaney, various Romantics, and the odd war poet for the half-rhyme couplet forms. Balladic forms. A brief nod in a biblical direction. You get the idea by now, people. 

 

The Day, Decanted

 

decanter for poem

 

Drawn like a long-held breath, the lasting day

Decanted into its crystal, quaint container

Is perfectly still, a claret-colour, quiet.

 

I unstop the top, to firmly take the neck,

Tilt, and deliciously, languorously,

Savouring pour the trickle of liquor out.

 

Misted glass, so latent-rich with evening;

Blood-drained, I take the longest latest hour,

And bring to my lips for that sip, so soft, and sweet.

 

It has been a long day. You feel drained, down to the very last drop. The day has sat and thickened, deep-red; it has left a weight to your arms and legs, an almost-pleasant tiredness. You take the decanter in hand, and delicately pour one glass of exquisite wine. Delicious, delicate, and thoroughly deserved.

You will no doubt notice the rich consonance and alliteration. The rhythm is stretched out, half-patient, gently elongating into evening. I’m quite fond of a contemplative poem – the interchangeable synecdoches of the wine and the decanter, the day and the dusk – and at the end of a day like today, I’m rather fond of a glass of claret as well. So there we have it.

What’s more, it’s terribly short. Which is a bonus.