The early bird gets
the worm, but the oily bird
squirms around in bed.
in the great history of commerce
there must have
at one point been a truck
load of milk mechanically suckled
by machines in chugging glugs
off bloated udders
and at the same point tons
of honey harvested industrially
from swarming workers
stored in vats
stacked at the back of some
pointing at each other at
the point of
gluttonously sputter speeding
on toward heft-hauling
highway impact -
and both drivers snapped
that freeze frame money shot -
through to promised lands
of milk and honey
see-through me saw
see-through you so struck
by one another's eyes we stuck
like two half
chewed up sticks of gum dumb
luck was looking up for us
stood sandwiched in among
commuters saying "oh no no
it's only some dead skin" or
"hey I'm here already" but
took each other's breath
We were probably thirteen. I told
my parents I'd be bowling, borrowed
five pounds and you
did the hard part. Asking men out-
side the off-licence to help us.
I tried to make if look like we were old-
er or together but it wasn't
long before we had the bottle
or six of Bacardi Breezer. Prising
each lid off with my keys,
you picked out seats from the dusk
deserted cricket stand.
A couple through, you showed me
how to put my hand in someone's pants
as sticky alcopops slopped
round and down again. I couldn't open
our last nightcap so we stamped
its neck against a brick and doubled up.
We didn't kiss goodbye, just
staggered into swaggers step
by step across the Common.
My mouth fizzed with syrup
residue and blood from broken
Days like this, clouds twist
round languid trysts and linger
through each billow -
how a breath of smoke forms shadows
or a swarm of midges gather -
growing tangible as tuffets
of pubescent body hair.
If I had studied clouds
and all their undercurrent slip
streams, then my memories
their dissipating shrouds.
The sky looks bruised tonight -
a strip of battered peach flesh.
I'm sure my mouth is getting smaller.
I see it now all pursed up but
it used to be Jim Morrison's
proportions. She licked like
Ms Jolie. This miserly look
***** my eyes inside themselves.
The pigeons look *******,
all ******* up ***** of bog roll
lobbed in gummy globs.
Someone give me something.
There used to be a man who handed
birdseed out to all the kids
outside the library gardens.
Share and share alike. I guess
he was a ******* or whatnot.
My mirror's broken.
I want a new one with You've Made It
spelled in lights across the top.
I want the holograms
of tiny clapping hands inlaid
along its sides -
applauding when I give the nod.
I'd like a slight distortion, looking
younger, better kept ideally;
so I see me but
with all this potential in repose.
It should say I Love You somehow -
any time, whatever state,
for simply being there.
I would stare and I would stare
from follicle to freckle, plotting
every facet of the features
glaring back at
mine, mine, mine. I want
to share myself with something.
Let me care completely
for some imperfect reflection.
My mirror isn't cracked or
anything like that it's just I can't
quite catch the little twitches
twinkling my eye.
A falling feather on the breeze,
lilting like the Seraphim
songs of Mephistopheles,
lured her drunkenly to him.
Lilting like the Seraphim,
she drank his iridescence. He
lured her drunkenly to him,
enraptured in naivety.
She drank his iridescence. He
befouled her virtue, was the air.
Enraptured in naivety
no more, would Eden hear her prayer?
Befouled; her virtue was the air
he stole away, a hunched-up thief.
No more would Eden hear her prayer -
the echoes howling his motif.
He stole away, a hunched-up thief,
a fallen feather on the breeze;
the echoes howling his motif -
songs of Mephistopheles.
Footnote: Passages from folk lore:
Hindu - the peacock is said to have angels' feathers, a devil's voice
and the walk of a thief
Chinese - a girl who looks at a peacock could become pregnant
Islamic: the peafowl carried Satan into the Garden of Eden after consuming him
He buries his head, bulbous lips and leaves
the flower bed for rhodedendrons; none
but he can see how sore the garden grieves.
Yet, grows a smile, once his season's sun
has sprung the singing blackbirds and begun.
He knows and always knew that when dew drips
its silver filigree from cobwebs spun
upon the monkey puzzle tree, new tips
below the ground not only grow, but grow tulips.
The heel of my hand can yin and yang
your cheekbone's hollow, thumb and finger tease
that ear lobe's cushion plush; can probe so lang-
uidly along this niche beneath your knees.
The luscious clutch of flesh holding your hips
to ribcage-harp strums slowly with each sigh;
those shoulders twitch how doves shrug, as my lips
trip jawline, neck and collar, waist then thigh.
I swear your skin tastes sweet between my teeth.
I dare you, close those eyes and let me brush
against each giddy iris underneath -
their flickers quicken, blossoming through blush -
I must touch every vertebra in turn
before your sternum curves the arc I yearn.
I've heard it's about control
I'd control myself in shops
sustained by other people's greed
that croissant's half fat that
caesar-salad dressing oily depths
this pineapple is my five a day
my first my last
vulture-gripped and smuggled home
brown paper bagged
at my desk I'd lose control
cutting in ahead of schedule
tearing an espresso spoon
through fibrous sinew gorges
hacking into flesh
until I'd hollowed out
scraped off every scrap
and filled myself with bile
I ice-skated for hours that day
blisters on my fingers from the spoon
round and round
when flamingo stretchy-leggy, then flamingo grow.
Cheeky beaking, shifty sifting, lifting up a flipper;
notty neck and naughty pecks,
while dancing with a kipper.
Flaming heck and flaming Oh!
I tango and flamenco
and I imitate a swan,
but this winking pink flamingo's
blinking going going gone.
I forgot to dream. The rest ranged
between dusk's final brew and morning's
touch of milk to tea leaves. It changed
through lucid shades of beige, fawning
into ochre tangles I could float
between. Dusk's final brew and morning's
brooding both left absence notes
for her, with hopes like hair hung freely
into ochre tangles. I could float
this air-bed boat to River Lethe,
wait for affirmation I was meant
for her. With hopes like hair, hung freely
parted, I saw futures where fervent
temptations swept the way. A modest
wait for affirmation? I was meant
to keep my thoughts of her suppressed -
I forgot to; dreamt her estranged
temptations swept, the way a modest
touch of milk to tea, leaves it changed.
We never saw eye to eye,
you and I.
Me with my growth spurts
and eclipse of hair,
you with high-buttoned shirts,
We took turns to overlook each other.
Like your birthday on Valentine's:
I, aged nine,
ate with open flies.
You mocked until I begged you cease.
You told me boys don't cry,
but smile and grit their teeth.
Callous, Clements, but I've ground on since.
And ten years on, your white flag
when your lesson on how to heat
one's whisky in one's crotch
landed you at Matron's feet,
and I revelled as I watched.
Maybe we should have been friends.
There's a lot of you in me,
but a pinch of salt for each trait.
So let's bury the hatchet where you died
and let's put it down to fate
that I wasn't by your side,
with a handful of earth.
You’re still Little
from Big Spoon to Recovery Position
back to back
like stacking mats at school
Our vertebrae are boy girl
boy girl teeth like cogs
that turn together
— The End —