Towards the end of our knowing one another


Towards the end of our knowing one another


that infamous whisky-hour conversation ceased

its looping flight and fell from out of the clouds,

becoming more a string of painful retreats

from the same old mountain, with no guide

to navigate a way between the boulders,

the only choice to keep on going down.

But then I remember you telling me how

you always really preferred the plateau,

the big-sky possibility of the high moors

or the wide-open silence of the desert,

with the comfort of its horizons. How it

bathed you in a bottomless pool of space.

Where did it all disappear to? The quiet

sine-wave of your voice circling my ear?

Sharing your untold versions of the darkness,

pointing them with the tired light of our stars?



first published in Cacti Fur, 2020

Holly

Best wishes for the festive season.

Holly

All this time cowed in shadows,
stunted and contained, or else

straggling desperately through gaps,
her thick-set leaves have become

as dark as the longest night, and
glossed well beyond necessity.

Each has grown a ready fist of teeth,
defending her hard, blood-blister fruits.

first published in Northampton Poetry Review, 2018

Holocene

Holocene

The shoreline has no recollection of the ice;
only the genetic memory of suffocation, smothering,

of cold, silent fingers playing at the clay of the Earth,
sundering rocks. There are only echoes, hearsay,

the whisper of older waters – receded, replenished –
forests, hills, a whole continent swallowed below.

Becoming a pixel in the image, a word of the story,
I press footmarks through a knotted dunescape

to arrive, human, upon it, eyes finally registering
only in the present tense, shouldering my own tide.

first published in Amethyst Review, 2020

Oxalis corniculata var. atropurpurea

 

Oxalis corniculata var. atropurpurea

 

Trying to put a solid name to every colour

you think you can see in those posies

of three-hearted leaves, you scribble down

a recipe calling for Verdigris, a spool of

old-style camera film, liver (both cooked

and uncooked), the persistent stain left

by berries on your fingers in late summer.

 

 

And all the while they are taking over

your world, starting – naturally – at the

front doorstep before flouncing off at

right angles towards the alley, the off-white

cones of their roots somehow deriving

sustenance from its mortar, slowly working

loose the mass of its hundred year stone.

 

 

first published in Envoi, 2018

Lobster tail

dav

Lobster tail

Uncommon to find such a thing up here,
beyond the exhausted seaweed,
vacated mussel shells and limp
trawlermen’s gloves in bleached out
blue or yellow rubber, their fingers
often present if somewhat perished;
but there it was, cradled among the
whirled nests of withered marram
woven untidily through a scalp
of sutured pebbles. Time had melted
flesh away, revealing the miracle
of its engineering, in segments
and articulations, a suit of armour
still functioning in our snow-bitten,
astonished fingers, as we prowled
the empty shore, pleased to find
such a simple gift, today of all days.

original version published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, 2018

Being let go

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Being let go

 

After the umpteenth time of having you

crawl urgently towards her in the darkness,

 

she opened up her hand to you and

showed you what emptiness truly is.

 

Being already cut adrift, she sat quiet

as an island while you wept out your dignity

 

into the abyss, suddenly opened up; watched you

rolling away, your fish-eyes now aware

 

of all those truths that were hiding patiently

behind your shoulder until a moment before.

 

first published in Ariel Chart, 2018

Spit

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Spit

 

Inches only beyond where the ripe green of the dune-edge

peters out, contour lines of springtide jetsam stripe the

crushed shell and sand in streamers of blackened

wrack, driftwood, charred and uncharred, and

empty-eyed gull cadavers. At its very tip,

the final, urgent elbow-crook of the

exhausted river, a volte-face

of its patient waters before

surrender to the waiting sea.

Turnstones turn stones, and

the still-living shelter,

people-shy, plovers,

oystercatchers,

eiders, waiting

for another

tide-switch

to remake

the world

anew.

 

 

first published in The Clearing, 2018.

Coming Back

dav

 

Coming Back

 

Shapeless patches of light

shimmy up the hillside,

countermanding each separate shadow

for a second, washing the unlit,

warming the cold spirit,

like a note pattern in

the leafless trees below.

 

You’re coming back again,

or so I heard. A strike of the eye,

irregularity of the heart.

I picture you. The limpness

of the afternoon impels me,

makes me wonder which wind

is bearing you this time.

 

 

first published in Sleet Magazine, 2018

Nothing much at all

sdr

 

Nothing much at all

Out on the rotting deck –
in that unrehearsed collection
of half-barrels, steel buckets
and terracotta pots –
all your flowers are surrendering.
Heads crumple like regret,
colours leaching into sepia,
leaves and stems cigarette grey.
Only one hi-vis marigold
proudly refuses to succumb.
It’s nothing much at all,
an asterisk, a subscript
somewhere on another page,
but I feel compelled to mention it,
to spell it out in words,
devote breath to it.
Anything to cast a
stone into the silence,
create the tiniest ripple in
this heavy ocean between us.

 

first published in Soft Cartel, 2018

Inevitably

dav

Inevitably

I didn’t want to ride past your place tonight,

not with that apprentice sun – wearing its

demi-god clothes – embarrassing the sky,

and wasted on these ungrateful streets.

The beach would surely feel better, even with

the swelling tide of kids, just delivered from

the crush of exams, revving their engines.

 

But every road I followed seemed to take me

your way somehow – every convoluted loop

through the anaesthetic monotony of housing.

I had to avert my eyes as I eventually, inevitably,

passed by, so I wouldn’t catch a glimpse of

that other car spooning yours on the drive,

could avoid guessing what it might mean.

 

first published in Brittle Star, 2017