Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Is Crazy Talk

Weird how crazy
can take you in her arms
like a baby,
shake you till blood
pours from your ears
and your bones are as soft
as silver;

but after a few quietened days
peace turns bland
and the silence becomes
a scream and your mind
becomes a carnival

so you need her again,
fingers sewn with razor blades
and a quiet voice whispering

- you know this is real,
don’t you? I am the truth
the world whispers is a lie,
you need me
like to need to breathe -

so you call her up
make a date
soon you’re crying
in her arms again


Snow bruised the black earth
at eight, at nine, 
then ten ‘o’ clock; but by midnight’s bell
it was sliding from the roof
in clumps of iced rain
gleaming under the streetlights.

At two a.m, lacking all sleep 
and all dreaming,
I bare-footed out to breathe
the last breath of another
freeze-dried winter, packing my hands
with dirty ice till they shivered
like the wings of birds
shivering in their sleep:
while the snowball moon 
dripped sour-milk light

I threw snowball after snowball
deep into the snow-black,
hearing nothing of their landfall
over the steady avalanche
slouching from the gutter.

Shuffling indoors to demand sleep
from a bottle, I wondered
how many more mis-fired winters
I might limp through before
the rain froze hard enough
to icebox me away. And while 
the white-toothed moon
laughed at my back
I dreamed of a factory
that stored snow in paper sacks

while winter died,
and my iceberg drifted away.

A Delicate Operation 

Doc, I need a scalpel
to ooze away the fat,
slice through
the anxious membrane.
Scalp the terror
of my own front door,
sever the nerve in my tongue 
that makes it stutter
and creep, prune the dictionary
to a few choice phrases
pared to the brittle bone:

but all you prescribe
are tiny white snowballs,
solid lumps of clay
mouldering at their core.

I need a marksman, 
but instead you fling grenades
into the infected zone,
hoping one of them
takes out the enemy
without exploding 
in my hands. Doc I need 
a scalpel; but you only 
give me a hammer.


we are the people
born without skin

light rain storms us
words lightning us
breezes dash our ships
onto rocks
we are birds pelted
by spit from trees
your eyes are anchors
we cannot raise
your smiles
barbed wire lashes
your world a cemetery 
your laws a babel

you need us
to try so hard
to come in

but we are the people
born without skin
we cannot bear to loose
the little we have left
so we hide in the shadow
of every raindrop
every punishing glisten
of snow

we attract no reward
if found wandering in the street

all you can do
is judge yourselves
by how little
you leave us alone

In The Black 

I step inside and close the door,
leaving the light switch alone.
There’s a faint blue glow
from the printer by my desk,
a envelope of light under the door, 
but that’s it: I’ve locked myself 
in the windowless office
and stand as part of the gloom. 
The telephone is road kill with two legs
in the air, the computers
microwave ovens with nothing
left to roast: the corner desks 
are fresh-dug graves, those lamps 
bend their heads to rest 
beneath the stars, floodlights so distant 
we’ll never know whom 
they light.

But here I stand breathing out
the light, crying out
look at all this folly you have made;
listen to how fast you make
your heart beat, how deeply
you knife-wound yourself with weapons
the daylight pays you to make.
Why not hide them away
in the backs of those that need them
and come out in the night
to play? I wish I could; 

but they have made me
so well, these daylight men, 
that the only night I own
is here at the end of the day,
when the sun bleats its little light
like a sheep whose dam has died,
and the little pride I feel 
is little enough to stand me here 
in this imaginary gloom, where I fill 
the abyss of promised slaughter 
simply by holding my breath when a stranger
knocks on the door, hello, hello?
- there’s nobody here but me.

Wishing Well

I wish I had no eyes
- the blind man said:
then I wouldn’t raise my brow
when I feel the sun on my lids
and remember how it felt
to walk into a summer morning
and see the rising heat
ripple women’s bodies
like skirts of summer winds.

I wish I had no ears
- the deaf man said:
then I wouldn’t turn my lobes
towards the blur of your lips
and scatter words like seeds;  remember
car doors slamming at midnight,
the whispered kiss of a glove; the blessed silence
when you hush the light
and hear your heart beat
its soft waterfall beat.

I wish I had no legs
- the man in the wheelchair said:
they’re a ballast weight
in a hot-air balloon
I can never throw over, never feel
that one pure moment
when clouds run at you like morning breath
no-one has breathed before you;
and you wonder why skies never have names
the way seas and rivers do, 
and how you might name them
if only you knew them.

I wish I was dead
- the live man muttered: I have eyes,
I have ears, I have legs
but I never see far into those skies,
never hear a silence louder
than my breath; never walk
further than I need to
on perfect summer days
when the rippled sun is bodied heat
and tears freeze before they fall
on my hands, my precious hands;

- my hands are open wide.
Ian Mullins

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...