SLUGS

Cold refusing to meet warm

Under floorboards and carpet follicles

Damp breaths eyeless and many-fingered.

Our breath is on the windowpanes

Tissues full of sneezed out spores

Offerings of salt sopped through.

The bin is spilling over again.

Our neighbour rips out another of his rooms

Its contents marching through our shared lawn

Of blitzed undergrowth

A flagged territory of soil

A front door open to stereo

Bass and anti-theft chanting

A hole smashed in the window over his kitchen sink

Walls and windows can’t close

Against the noise, the smell, the night and rain and growth

At the nucleus of this wetness

Passing from cell through septum, pore

Eating through warmth

Like the pans of scrambled egg,

Cast plates of glistening sausages

Shared garden offerings

To the toothless hunger of worms.

By the sheds

An ash with half a rusted saw

Stuck through it

Soon to be eaten through

 

I WANT SANDWHICH PLEASE

Words are just breath here

Sighs and squawks

Mouths are for tongues and teeth

Hands do the talking

Palms have faces

Fingers for tracing the Holy missing

Fleshed out but still aching

For a squeeze

Eyes that sluice more than sight

I am not at the centre of this motion

I can soften knotted tendons

I can tap out a heartbeat

A coded understanding

And squeeze

I don’t always have the offerings

I do not need to be seen

This is how it used to be

Gods as wide-eyed totems

Tantrumming

Drumming foreheads into walls

Calling forth

Feathers, the rain, a blue thread, a sandwich, a distant aeroplane

Things that sing, float, burst

Gone

In one bite

FILLERS

Caught by the lips

I can’t stay put

I want to breath into this reeling

I am made only of resisting

Cells sealed by membranes of many fingers

Every knuckle white with clinging

If I exhale too sharply

Every space of in between

Will open its jaws

Dislocate

Tongueless

I want to taste it

I want to be in the water

In the clouds

The nettle and buddliah

On rooftops, streetlights

Your bedside

Spread thin

Folding into the seams

The solidity of otherness

My organs know

How to make room

Is this growing?

This steady loosening

Ungiving

The need to split and remake ourselves

To crush all the space inside

Something to fill the gaps

The regions of ourselves

Even we evacuated long ago.

OUR VHS TAPE

Sun’s in me eyes

Lifts the colour right off

The sky and church roof (side view)

Are the same blue

There’s our Mary by the style

Her coat bleeding scarlet in the shade

Low winter sun

Erases strips off the mountain

Where the tree-shadows stand on

Bit of mystery there in these old trees

Zoom in and pan the rolling horizon

Hands and breath shaking with altitude

Ice in this here puddle shattered

Cows bow their heads to the sun

Shadows tracked mud at their feet

There’s meat on that alright

Their breath trails left by steam trains.

 

Old mill clock still going

Old quarry face

Old cobble still here

He stood still here

All these bankings full of heather

Railway line – disused

In t’garden outside t’window with our Mary’s pots:

The bird-bath

Where a wren perched to tap its beak against the frost

 

History outlived him

When the camera turns to him

The wind takes his voice

He stands still here

He does not split under the lense

As the old mill chimney did

Shattered in a puddle of rainbow static

He is only a pause

In film

A bird spotted

Flat-capped in a blue-coat

 

A sharp intake of Oh

As a blackbird escapes

the footage.

GIVE

The ice on the lake is giving

The rain pummelling the Earth for its sweetness

Everything has a tongue

Salivating wind and fire

All hungry for a bit of me

I’ve become enough to weather this

Pawing, stripping, hungry gnawing

A Cailleach teaches me

How to let fire fold over my arms

I have my winter pickings

Unspun wool, bone, rosemary and pinecones

The fire can take my dead cells

The wind my hot breath

The Cailleach my hair

The words I spoke

Could’ve been smoke

Sweetened by burning oak among pine

Soon my cuttings will be sapling

The things picked from me seed

The bees will help the wind

Carry stolen sweetness and greenness

Frogspawn will be bubbling in the lake

And the calves will be suckling

And this place’s touch will be cleaned from me

Now at my chest like a charcoaled hand-print

These sleeping bodies piled around me

Warm in someone else’s night.

LITTLE KING

Little King

Needs the calm of height

The distance of a rooftop in morning.

My teeth have the same keenness as yours

My hands the same grip

Uneasy tender violence

A need to be squeezed so all the spaces

Fit, everything held as it should.

Choking reverence.

I can’t help thinking of all the people that will hold you

In ways you can’t bear to be held.

I will hold these visions of you

When you’ve grown beyond them

Become a titan

Your red lump crown

Finger crammed in mouth

Asking for help

With flying a feather

I will hunt for you as they hunted for a wren come winter

A royal smallness to hold Holy

Because I know my Holy has a kick like yours

I know mine comes with claws

Clamouring at my chest

The way you beat your head against the windowed door

Until it was smeared with blood.