Conjoined by circumstance, we were as twins,
collective fate upon respective dials;
you docked your pirate ship inside my lines
and blocked me with uncompromising sails.
To square the round we drew our swords to fight,
inflicting wrath on anchored minds with spears;
decisions ground with sharp wit edged with spite,
in altercation boxed the other’s ears.
In case you tried to sail I slung my stones,
and what I strove to build you ran to spoil;
you flared your nostrils, stamped upon my bones,
I danced on pins to pitch my burning oil.
You curdled coffee with your sour grapes,
my rancid comments rattled down our time;
but now you’re gone I miss our fierce debates,
it seems as though your voice was also mine.
In the high street you turn from Ursula,
that small wreaking bear in a fine old coat:
well worn dichlorobenzenated reminder
of an otherwise wasted life.
Up and down she pads, from dawn to dark,
claws clicking past embarrassed charity,
rather proffering that magnificent maned neck
to the limp lasso of wet and greedy punters.
Her hunted life is heft and loaded into BMWs,
to be stuffed and tipped back later, sore and sober,
that fabulous bear coat torn and taken from her,
the remains of its wilderness scratching at her back.
These two hands are both my boundaries and my open gate
raised up to signify life and catch my breath, and as I ponder
they take the pen to write, dipping sotto voce ink,
and hearing hidden passion with sentient finger tips.
How these two friends push and press and work together,
folding over dough in pas des deux parenthesis,
gathering to cup a warming brew or comb through hair,
iced blue in deep snow pockets, in summer – full red and ripe.
Comfortable in prayer, who would judge these anguished two
for uncommon deviation; a desperate grab in tightened times?
Ignited in knuckled protest, closing angry fists as if to fight?
Look down then to your left and to your right.
My industrious two return to sew and knit and thread
and wrap and cut and spread and meet and reassure
and weave between expression and caress.
And when you go they’ll wave and wipe, go mix a cake.
Each day they pick and pour and weigh, these two hands.
In doubt they shift and shy, but regrouping bear me up,
my loyal retainers, remaining after fair has faded,
brushing ebb and flow as time is plucked and dropped.
So mounting life we’ll screech and ride and burn
careering round the country without lights
we’ll roll our bikes get up and spit and learn
and dash on through the dark dragging our rights.
When we are younger helmets guard our thought
as down those lethal hills we shift and fly
our heads are strong our muscles flexed and tort
as hairpins bend and buzz us round and by.
Chicanes defied we leap our faith and nerve
and pay no heed to riders left or felled
unhindered by the boulders and the curb
past flags and friends as though we are propelled.
When whipped and lapped by attitude we swear
at step and crossroads, brake and all but chunder;
footfaulting in our sudden wheel of care
we grip the bars to stop us going under.
Our Birth Day breaks,
pouring sand through quickened senses,
restoring shine to tarnished self-belief.
Wrapped in miracles we become anew
beautiful in a small animal way,
and stride with eyes lifted in purpose,
opposing damaged feet.
Parricide is not pretty,
but in a time of swallowed splinters,
there emerges a new confidence,
and no one is safe from
the absolute certainty of the Crack.
When anger is awake and ungoverned
the Almighty Metal Guru draws near to tease.
The wheel turns as young wreakers and hoakers,
already tucking boredom in their belts,
dash through familial barriers
straight into the Crack’s improbable deathhole.
Suddenly, we are all prey:
heavy weights flailing and falling
past previously pitted lives
towards our own bloody demise.
Unable to climb smooth surfaces
society begins to fester,
scraping the walls with botulinal nails;
kicking itself with blister boots.
Oh, those ugly days of lost heritage;
elders supping tears together, whilst
so many futures are crossed
by the star thin silver reticle
of the Almighty Crack.
I have done a lot of thinking
about the inside of things.
Today I built a dome
one foot square
and solid snow.
Inside were the animals
I would have made
if the snow didn’t
get stuck on my gloves
and crumble in my hands.
and a mole
The moose had long, strong legs
and an intelligent, wet nose.
He put his head down
into the snow
until he found a piece of green,
then chewed thoughtfully
whilst contemplating the upstairs window.
He seemed surprised
have such long legs
they need windows that high up.
The mole poked his snowy bonce
out of the tired ground
and peered with blind eyes
upon the bright sky.
I think he was glad
I would have made him.
I have thought a lot
about the inside of things.
Marking our winters together,
first up in the morning checks the embers,
so any vital signs might be rekindled.
Failing that, I journey out to fetch the coal,
perhaps a well seasoned cherry log, our treat,
odour – vermillion. Slipper shod round to the shed,
contemplating cold patterned leavings in the snow.
I consider the teeth clenched path; you warm in tangled bed,
then, lamenting the lazy left last time bucket,
slide down to empty tinker crunch ash,
playing the ice orchestra and wishing above all for wellies.
Darling, the clinker hill reaches the sky,
in far off spring we will push it down
to the ditch below the snow line,
between where we live and the cows.
Swinging up to the house to scrunch last week’s news,
I lay morning sticks crackling from an orange string bag,
then sparingly, the coal, but leave room for breath.
Striking a match I turn on the life support, a tender touch paper,
sharing the conviction that our winter child will thrive.
We all have our favourite seat
the men and women that I meet
whilst mermaids smile and serve us tea
and feed us intravenously.
In this cheery place of mine
bare arms are soaked into a shine
then wares are touted on a tray
the best we take the less to pay.
In this lively, loving place
anxiety etched on every face
my comfort is a cushioned chair
a pillow and designer hair.
In this café where I go
Life’s mélange is all on show:
black coffee corners of our minds
tenacity and mermaids kind.