Friday, 27 March 2020

Exchange Rate

Exchange Rate

So, the exchange rate was good today,

now look - here’s Dobson with fistfuls:

coin clutching, fumbling foreign notes

into gobbing cash machine, with skilful

dark hearted display of light conjurery,

maybe sardonic that he’d been pushed

before bailing, but who'd hazard a guess?

A Sisyphos, once requiring improvement

in pushing bollocks up hills, quickly left,

needed no second chance to be so deft,

knew when the wagers of sin turn deaf

that all day’s fools gamble, frolic and play

when you think they’d run out of breath.

Practical, stirring circulating currencies

from brash new world to old and, hey,

if he could make quite so bold, to claim

back some ten bloody years’ snatched tax,

so carefully pilfered in austerity’s name

by those great venerable master-shafters,

whose straw grasping operation last gasp,

beggars every Christian neighbour’s belief

if all weren’t damned doubled up in grief,

battered from 12 rounds over toilet paper;

snatching dry Italian pasta and Spanish red

from mouths of those elderly consumers

who'd voted to leave is better than dead.

Wiping lucky palms with hand sanitation

while engines of state, leaders of nation,

cooing pigeon voices from radio stations,

speak subtle words of percentage and herd,

let it rip through bellies of the population.

Listen to them, take heed, protect, survive,

count their blessings you're staying alive,

go on. Congregate in clubs, sup ale in pubs,

picnic last suppers amongst lily and shrubs,

Clap for carers like it’s a bleeding telethon

some Children in Need appeal gone wrong,

an annual Red Nose Day bereft of punchlines

where life’s currency becomes enough time.

They'll offer you soft soap suds, love not hate,

don't think about it too closely, but appreciate.

A clapped out nation sweats through its fate;

Dobson ponders tomorrow’s exchange rate.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Grandad's Journal

Grandad’s Journal

Christmas, before any of this becomes written history,

he gave me tears and a journal. I left my lad behind,

slogged in leaden boots towards burning desert sands,

dreaming reams of carpets, camels, lanterned lost lands

scribbled in my voice, muttered from his future’s past.

And my Grandfather before him asked me for a diary,

to imprint each cool embered sunset on creamy sheets,

record every twisted passage taken, heartbeat for beat,

but he died before it was finished and hand slipped hand.

Writing love's letters isn’t hard; spilling ink onto paper,

but turning over each page means one day less in turn;

they fall like leaves onto autumn lawns, plunge from trees

to rust; darkest reds, tarnished golds, vanished shadows

we run spider rakes through, comb each strand for glitter,

pan minute fragments; sift precious and wash out litter.

This journal will end in time. And, looking forwards I write

conjured stories, words of mustard white and matted black,

picture days when his time comes to read and look back.

Friday, 13 March 2020

These Hangman’s Hands

These Hangman’s Hands

Dwelling somewhere between clock hands,

he's lost to Grandfather’s summerlands;

warm breeze once whirled dandelion seeds

on carousels, bore them over misty mead

lay them heavy headed in beds to breathe.

But forgotten from here, chilled cobalt bays;

rocking waves settled, and fanned sprays

coagulated into thick midnight blue pools.

Dark tanned, throwing less shadows to rule

impressions of someone that was once you.

Museum piece mosaic, under ambered crystal

clocked off, iced slide-show slowed, then still.

In fragments, blank splinters of every soul

he claimed to be in every camera’s pinhole.

Boy frozen, flippers locked languid searching

above motionless purple venom spined urchin.

Father's fists in fury flew, but in basalt black

now held fast, closed doors on turning back.

A ship’s company bound for Antarctic ocean,

posed, monotone silhouettes of static motion.

Dun edged polaroid snaps of couples, framed,

turned eyes towards a future that never came,

loves’s loss, there, grasping daddy’s hand tight

as both nowhere strode towards falling light.

By grey mossed headstone she stands alone

unrepentant; Angel turns her back on home.

How heavy these hangman’s hands tighten

about his neck, seconds refuse to lighten

hours; dusks lengthen over graveyard chill

whispers; it is right that heartbreak can kill.

Beat. Be still no more. If it be true that all

the things they gave you add up to the fall,

then from beneath these gathered shrouds

strike serpent lightning to part thick clouds.

Awaken. If only in spite, if only in revenge,

if only in savage desire to unmake amends

now soft stretch fingers, soft flex wrists,

tense muscle, extend stiff stone cold fists.

Blink. Blank without the kiss of kind words,

this brave world, where pity is seldom heard

fits now, as heads fit into black cloth hoods,

busily hands build up pyres, wood on wood,

pendulum swinging, happy hour come at last,

careless as winds fan and kindle dried grass.

Blaze. Come fiery rage, come hell's fury:

wait no more on deliberating judge or jury.

Rise up. From summerlands forever parted,

sentence those who left us broken hearted.