Friday, 14 November 2008

The Razor's Edge

If I could I would pause you now
With your liquid laugh echoing
In the bathroom while you watch me
Shaving in the morning mirror.
Your face mimics mine as I stretch
My skin to smooth the passing
Of the razor's each sharp sweep.
Like Jonathon Joe in the verse
Our mouths are like huge Os;
So soon we are giggling. I'm swallowing
Foam and I'm glad drowning in love.

So let's stop and grasp what we share -
Small moments - let's not ask for more,
For how long before it's your hair there
And there's a lock upon the bathroom door?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Remembrance Service 1984

What a name for a boy-
Montague Rainbow-
To hear that young November.

A roll-call of the school dead
Dully read to us
As we shuffled and yawned.

But now at forty and more
He stays in my head,
No grand arch offering hope

Instead an oil slicked puddle -
A mess to tread through -
A name with no meaning left.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Archaeology and the Early History of Essex

He passes you a box, which includes:
A black arrowhead
Some knapped flints
(microliths, he explains).
Worked bright, as new now
As they were before they were buried.
And these are beautiful,
But obviously.

Then he passes you an ugly stone,
Heavy until you turn it
And it fits like your newborn's head,
This handaxe, like your infant's skull,
Fills your hand and no more.
As it should.

There is a dent for your thumb,
You and the Bronze Age meet,
You are holding History.
You think about your son's hands,
How curled and small they are now.
One day they too will fit this axe.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Your Empty Bed

Your empty bed.
I hadn't seen you up
and dressed
Since J's baptism,
you sat in your chair
all shining and electric.
A witness to a church
You had led me to
some thirty years ago.

Eight years on now.
And you have got up
But never to press
This ash burnt pillow.
Carried out by strangers,
Your last legs long gone.

The chair sits dust covered
Battery dead.

I open your post
And cover your quilt
In piles of bills, demands
And junk mail. Your life
In paper hiding suspect
Stains on sheets I do not
Dare to scrutinise.

A last rite I do for you.

Monday, 10 March 2008

In The Night

"I lie alone, the clock strikes three
And anyone who wanted to could contact me
At dead of night, till break of day
Endless thoughts and questions keep me awake
Its much too late"
Pet Shop Boys - Jealousy

Everytime I hear my mobile ring
I am brought back to that night...

It was half past two and the world
abed except for those whose job it
is to keep the rest of us afloat.

When I picked Jealousy by PSB, i thought
it would arrest me, be a ring tone
so camp I would smile whenever it called.

And so, from my sleep, I hear it
downstairs, on charge, breaking the night.

Good news snores but the bad is always
awake.I know, even before I press green,
what the voice is waiting to say,
as if I have been waiting for this,
without ever knowing, moment of loss.

I put it to my ear and the phone's
crescendo ends and everything begins

"I never knew time passed so slow"
Pet Shop Boys - Jealousy