Wednesday, 30 April 2014

#30 Ave et Atque


We shake hands,
Duck and dance,
Try to remember
Do we hug?
A brief scent
A kiss of eyes


It's so loud
That part of the evening
Where all is rush and flurry
Arms wide
Breath moist on necks
Bending to hear
Those words

Bore Da/ Hylô/ Helô

We had to steal words
From the outside
Until recently
Everything was
About the rhythm of days
Saying bathed in
What kind of light graced us
A whole day together
A whole day apart

Some things translate
Across boundaries
And there's nothing like a smile
To make your day


We are mirrors and circles
Turning, starting, ending
Breaking and mending
In the same breath,
Echoing: Again...

Nos da/ Hwyl/ Da bo chi/ Wela i chi

Au revoir


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

#29 Simian


Watch us as we swim in
Our first weeks:
Tadpole, lizard, primate -
Wobbly commas
Cradled by the same bone,
The same blood,
The same love.

Out in the light
We divide ourselves
Lay down boundaries
And definitions
Think it makes things simpler
Stone Age brains struggling
With numbers bigger than ten -
Tribe is what you can see
On a clear day.

But now the drums are
Beating faster
Light-speed flickers -
Thought touching eye
Touching thought
The genius of our genus
Bending ignorance
To better ends

Today we say
There is one colour:
Bright yellow
And one taste shared
Around the world
Hands raised
Hands clasped
While one calm gesture
Redefines ridiculous.

Monday, 28 April 2014

#28 Sonar

Personal boxing - one-to-one. Tone fast!

I toddle down steps
Swapping stares soaked in adrenaline
Mine mellowing,
Flipping legs tick-tock,
Bagged and shouldered
Through the door,
I tip my hat to a cold
I'm not feeling yet.

Mind you, looking at those flumes now - they're actually tiny...

The discipline of seal-folk
Is a plait of after-dinner chlorine
Goggle-blind and arcing
We reconstruct plash and echo
Out here in the dark

Large chips for the lady. Large chips now! To go!

Caramel polyglot slots orders,
And eyebrows, surprised by his own
Return smile.
This is a place of serious conversation
Man-talk, pizza-based debates

Shokran. Bel'afiah. Sala'am alaikum! Ah!

He flips a salute,
His smile still wary, but settling,
Swerves back to cuff someone
With height and youth
And words

Осы маған алып бер-! Мен солалқындыру білемін!

Slim fingers haggle in the dark,
Darting over the tiny car,
Birthed in parts from
The lotus crotch of chocolate,
Delight manifesting in
Brightly-coloured clicks
Just in time - all rise
For the lumbering beacon.

... greatly overexpressed in adipose tissue...

Graphs dance,
Sinuous as late-night swimmers,
Bisecting words
Waving, as I sneak
A shoulder-glance at my past

We climb inside tiny screens
And printed screeds
And fingernails
And the slick trail of lights
We are night-bound
And homeward
Rapt in our nodding
Towards journey's end.

#27 Half-Past Sunday

Guilt sleigh-bells my keys,
Loud in the late night
Creep of creaks and wiped feet,
Behind me the echo of
Tomcat blackness -
Nothing to see here.

Midnight churns in the kitchen
Overnight cleaning
Gleams against my
Shrinking flesh
With the promise of
Tomorrow's godliness.

I am battered
At high frequencies
By my inability to sleep
This close to arrival,
My mind's survival pinned
To glimmers of loneliness.

I need to slough off
All those I've touched,
Every joy packed
Into the black bag
From which it can be re-examined,
Naked in full light.

The weight of words
Shaken into milkpails,
I pare myself to the core,
Fall upwards into dark,
And start to dream tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

#26 Pied-à-Terre

There's a house near the road
Where nobody goes
Its shingles are withered
And so are its toes
It used to stride freely
Its cargo to tote
Now it's stuck by the roadside
Where nobody goes.

It's seen witches and princes
And feisty heroes
Now dust lies in state
Over mouldy old throws
How it used to perambulate
No-one now knows
It's a lonely old lookout
Where nobody goes.

"Little house, little house,
Turn round to me.
Let the sun on your windows
The whole world to see"
The heroes would seek it
But peasants would flee
Now it camps out in scrubland
And pines for the trees.

Its mistress is long-gone
Which just goes to show
That you shouldn't turn round
On the word of heroes
Its magic ambitions
Are covered in mould
And all it can do now
Is stare at the road

She saw that old house
As they, northbound, sped by
She felt its predicament
Wanted to cry
That its power no concrete
Could heedlessly bind
If it just changed those words
It had stored in its mind.

"Little house, little house
Turn round to see
That there's nobody stopping me
Least of all me
With my mistresses gone
And no heroes to flee
Little self, please believe me,
I'm perfectly free."

There's a patch near the road
Where nobody goes
With a flattened-out square bit
And marks of huge toes
One day its old tenant
Rocked, creaked, groaned and rose
To march off to a future
That everyone knows.


I'm assuming that you all know the story of Baba Yaga and her ubiquitous hut...

Friday, 25 April 2014

#25 Homeward Bound

An inaudible bell chimes
And we shoal of mammals clamour calmly,
Breaking onto open air,
All brief smiles
And thank-yous to
Held doors as we
Discretely sniff the wind.

Strolling, I'm overtaken by a door-mate;
He clutches his pocket, stumbling,
A man not designed for running
(Or the growing of beards)

I crane my neck, see
(As he does not)
That he's being rescued by
A phalanx of cyclists,
A logjam of stubborn frames.

He runs like a duckling,
Broad bottom swaying,
Knees splayed,
Praying and gasping
To whoever governs
The Number 8

When I next look,
He's gulping quietly, watching,
Locked in a trance of summoning
Come on, come on,
Supplicant briefcase clutched.

He does not nod,
We do not lock gazes,
His trained on the saviour behemoth,
But I smile anyway.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

#24 Parliament

"Make a big fist now", he urges
My own drowning in the grip
Of generations

You sidle, stomp,
Shake your shoulders,
A veteran performer
But still up betimes

We have been told your story
The intricate knit of land
And prey and you,
And watched you land, sighing,
Laughing, snapping, pointing, shuffling,
Shifting from foot to foot.

I feel you echo this
On my fingertips,
Watch, incredulous at fortune,
See you duck as the image-maker
Blinks and beckons
"Come on, boy!"

I release you to your warden,
Still in awe, grinning,
Head spinning;
Wishing, wishing, wishing.


Photo by Carla Keen