slow decay


They stand to the side of the playground
swollen leafed, blotting out the town;
rain has rinsed them brand-new
though they stood silently sentinel
when voices then calling after
old-fashioned, leather-strung footballs
belong now to mouths stopped with soil,
uttering earthworm syllables
and consonants of slow decay.
My eyes will become the sap
that’s sucked up into their slow limbs
swaying greenly when I’m long gone
and spilt in amnesiac silt.




Clouds congregating off-screen,

a sick orchestra tuning up

with strings snapping softly

and brass-throated bleating.

I picture my brain bleeding

beneath the skull’s ceiling;

peeled fruit and red earthworms.

Light’s not only absence of dark

it’s also an unvoiced understanding

that pristine plates will crack

and the unsullied sapient meat

spat out into this length of time

will unravel and run itself down,

becoming an unnumbered smear

washed away by detergent rain.



Summer’s settlement

The window winks back wet slates,

diagonally weak rain

undoes summer’s settlement

and signs off that season’s

receding intervention.

Light has lost inventiveness:

Things are seemingly shop-soiled,

left out and unsurprising,

sour Edwardian dolls’ heads

shiny with laquered neglect.


Leather dog-tags deconstructed
by dirt,
and the corkscrew appetites
of worms;
the brittlesticks of the rib cage
struck through
death-fed pregnant-bellied soil
where ants
tick across the complexions
of all
those compacted shell cases
that lie
like lost rust-sculpted tear drops.



Another inch eaten underfoot,

and the edge is now at hand;

your eyes, dragged downwards,

weigh up the overview;

a circuitry of limbs

giving up the ghost

and now winding down.

Their eyes, jammed upwards,

take down the undertones

written into the mourning clouds.

Never Shone

Third in the bean-bag race,

11 % in physics,

West Ham socks stolen

From Woolworth’s,

Lighter-gas inhaled

On the line

Where once steam trains

Pulled long-dead,

Strangely dressed relatives

To terraced houses

In which television never

Shone nor mouth smiled.

Sunday-bested they sulked

Over last week’s Argus

And counted out lives

In shillings and fucks

That were unfolded

In unheated bedrooms

Beneath sour portraits

And hated heirlooms.


Open fields flattened out

like something left asleep

under a wind-picked quilt;

space now seems sedate,

somehow containable,

not scarily stretch-marked

and sagging shapelessly.

What if birds flew backwards?

And time was their element?

These fields would then

spill out unstoppably;

trees turning to lost seeds

scattered in the hedgerows,

and a boy not knowing

the uncountable acres

that are gathered up

in a quick, grasping motion.