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every morning i wake, i wake
surprised. that life appears
again with each
opening of these eyes.
that eyes arise
with opening of each day.
that when both close, all i’s
fall away.

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a Christmas passing

 

driving

 

a Christmas passing

travelling home on Christmas Day
full hearts and bellies straining
bush teeming on either side
of this glistening snake of humanity
from the front seat a few sighs
and then the benevolent curtain of rain parts
to let Great Uncle Tommy pass
through

 

 

*On Christmas Day last year my great Uncle Tommy passed away whilst driving home after a day spent celebrating with family and friends. This poem was first published on Justin Lowe’s excellent site, Bluepepper.

 

 

 

Everything

unravelling1 Everything

Everything’s so full of lasts,
quivering, on the brink.
Time thrusts forward.
The body vehicle will not cease
decaying, children growing
ever distant, the umbilicus unraveling
to unbearable lengths
as we circumvent this world.

Pause pause pause!

People pass by in a slurry
of incessant transformation.

Surely there must be a limit?
(There is not.)

Death, inbuilt in those I’ve born
is yet half grown in me;
close to flowering powerfully out
of my grandmother’s powdery furrows.

Routine lends the illusion of solace:
tranquilised to truth we sleep
fitfully, swaddled against horror.

* First published in Bluepepper

Flowers

flowers2
I  have had a new poem, Flowers, published in Deep Water Literary Journal. You can read it below, or go to Deep Water and enjoy some of their truly wonderful poetry, fiction, and art.

The journal publishes “works which engage with the psychological and physical aspects of the darker side of the human condition.”

Please take a look, and perhaps consider submitting something yourself.

 

Flowers

Flowers, swaddled
like the babies you keep
losing, are a meagre offering to place upon
the altar of your abysmal grief;

their dilated eyes
and flaring heads
are sucked
into that cruel void.

I can feel
your pain’s gravity distorting
everything I dare approach with.

The hospital a monolith
to suffering, our suffering —
but how could a mere building
contain such suffering?
What kind of feeble bastion
against the unbearable black seed
that grows inside is this?

Standing, bereft, in the stark car park,
hungry for a shred of grace to ease my heart,
the only suggestion of God I find:
a flickering light; the aroma
of rain; electricity
quickening the air.

Pièce de Shakespeare

Joyce_Better_Contrast

Joyce in Zurich, c. 1918

I have had a new poem, Pièce de Shakespeare, published in Bluepepper.

This is a found poem written to celebrate Bloomsday, which falls on the 16th of June. On this day every year literary nerds such as myself pay homage to James Joyce’s ground-breaking novel, Ulysses.

I initially wrote this poem in response to a call out from The Found Poetry Review, which asked writers to create poems from a nominated chapter of Ulysses.  Pièce de Shakespeare is created from chapter 9, where Stephen Dedalus expounds his views about how much of Shakespeare’s life we can deduce from his writing.

Unfortunately Found Poetry Review did not accept my poem (aaw), but if you would like to read their Bloosmsday Issue, you can do so here. There are some great poems in there, although I will leave it up to you to decide which chapter 9 poem you prefer!

Luckily, editor Justin Lowe did take a fancy to my poem, and published it on his excellent site,  Bluepepper. You can read it there, (plus much more) or alternatively, below. Happy  belated Bloomsday!

Pièce de Shakespeare

Come, sheathe your dagger definitions —
the Father, Word, and Holy Breath,
the swan of Avon, has returned to die.

Lord of language, auric egg,
he lies laid out in stiffness —
bronzelidded in the secondbest bed,
lips twisted by Venus into prayer,
coffined thoughts embalmed in a spice
of words which rise like crooked smoke
up to the nostrils of God.

Why even his errors are portals to discovery!
Following his lean unlovely lines
through spaces smaller than red globules of blood
we creepycrawl after his buttocks
meeting robbers, ghosts, old men, young men,
wives, widows, brothers-in-love;
the molecules all changing, the I becoming other,
the unquiet father reborn in the son —
but always, always, as we walk through him
we are walking into ourselves.

 

* A found poem sourced from chapter 9 of James Joyce’s Ulysses

 

HOARY

Mammoth1

I am very excited to have my poem, ‘Hoary’, published in the wonderful Tincture Journal. Tincture is a quarterly online magazine full of great quality fiction, essays, interviews, and poetry. And it is only $8 an issue! You can have a look at some of Tincture’s free content  here, and please consider buying  a copy. It’s one of my favourite reads.

In the meantime, Tincture’s editors, Daniel Young and Stuart Barnes, have kindly given me permission to share my poem with you. I’ve included a short synopsis, which goes some way towards explaining the poem, and perhaps also to explaining a little about myself!

Synopsis

I have a strange fascination for mammoths. These huge, extinct creatures which emerge, often perfectly preserved, from the ice, appear to me to be like some unconscious, repressed memory of the earth, reluctantly resurfacing. As global warming speeds up the melting of the planet’s ice, more and more of these monstrous snow whites, suspended in their frozen graves, are being discovered. Recently, a sixty year old female mammoth, her body still so fresh that her blood was flowing, was unearthed – leading scientists to believe that they may have found enough viable genetic material to produce a clone…

HOARY

Fifteen thousand years I have slumbered
In my icy casket, a hoary
Princess waiting
Not to be kissed, but punctured
By the pick of a prying scientist.

My blood, dark as a fairy tale
Leached insidiously into the Siberian snow,
And my flesh flared red and fresh
Enough to eat.

My lower limbs devoured
By a lusty pack of ancient wolves;
My torso still fantastically intact.

What a prize: my anti-cryogenic
Strength has preserved the code
To conjure my kind back.

Exhumed from earth’s wet memory
(Who dares re-awaken me?)
Entombed in glass and sold for obscene show –
What they may unleash they do not know.

Rapture

walking-in-rain-gray
I have had a new poem, Rapture, published in Deep Water Literary Journal.

This fabulous new journal seeks to "become a haven for those who write about 
and produce artworks interpreting Darkness, whatever that may mean to the 
creator of the work". 

Their first issue for the year is themed 'Loss' - it contains some 
fantastic artwork, fiction, and poems. You can read mine below, or at 
Deep Water here.

Rapture

Looking through clear eyes
of imminent death, time
is a ponderous fruit,
hanging heavy and swollen
with possibility
in her pendulous swinging basket.

Globular and over-ripe
she blooms with all the days
you will not see,
a still life of
fecundity squandered,
without witness, unconsumed.

God, to take just one more
bite, and this time really savour
the sweet juices running
down the face
and the fingers sticky
and tingling with
the messiness of it all –

would be a rapture.
But, no matter:
we must carry on without her,

disentwining from this world
despite the drive to cling and cling and
aching from the amputated
limb of our projections, we are roused
by wise compulsion to accept
life has been spent,
and we must move on, relentlessly

on, without choice leaving
all those little things unsaid,
and undone,
without choice shedding
the slithery skin that houses us,
but locks us in, and further
our very sense of selves
must fall in cascades of disguise,
unravelling us for – the chill surprise!
of running naked, out into the rain.