No 26 - 2005
Outside London King’s Cross.
The dirt is no trick of imagination
to console the fastidious traveller
or the shuffling long term resident
but a kind of historical being
with destitute clothes who belongs
in the hazy perception of a dream.
The smell of winter is a colossal anxiety:
a heap of rubbish to accumulate and subdue
in freezing air, where tramps warm concrete
with paper apartments and torn sleeping bags
to the grunt of traffic and troubled footsteps.
The underground station is no shelter
from attack but consists mainly of those
who run and those who have stopped running.
A man dressed as Santa Claus is singing
“on the first day of Christmas” in between
“spare some change please, spare some change”.
Two men approach Ash for the price of a drink.
“Help us,” one of them says. “We’re sick as dogs.”
The face of the older man is like a map
of the underworld, worn like original text,
who shouts, while locked in a moody embrace,
“we want the cash, we want the crash...”
The journey south in the tube, where the memory
of fire rages, is like the first slice of consciousness:
unnatural light, strange shapes, unknowing confidence.
I concentrate on a newspaper to forget about breathing
but sound like a sleepless night without oxygen,
where I seek the air of dangerous elevations.
I have been here before but the gas mask is a revelation.
To be like two people who fail at no more than
conversation but live neither one life or the other
is to lease a part of London without a contract signed.
The river is a periscope to view ancient stone.
Without moving I see myself way downstream,
where the black sand and dark walls threaten
and the uneasy movement of water turns to mud and rock.
Drift into the entrance of a stale prison,
where the door is like a mind closed to all considerations.
Over the river my other life is waiting as I punch air
in circular waves and fix the sun with live ammunition.
Death is a tragic invention, and inexperience is vital,
but I do not think perfection is to survive a greater loss.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The