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Insidious Concept Piece

 

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Insidious:

In the keep,

The walls are stretched,

Ink smudged

With mould that

Blooms, changes shape,

And grows

Into the monster’s snarl

Large and disjointed growl

Of some dishevelled creature

Which has its wiles

And misfortune

Dripping from its jowls

Some salivary Morse code,

Here a dash and a dot

Abroad in the clawprints

Where it has crawled

To tower top,

The boards shrinking

And wood withered

Away from poisonous

Padded foot

If we could only drown

The damn thing in the moat,

Or throw it in the hold –

Yet

This thought or that

Keeps the being’s spirit

Afloat, kicking, alive,

No good

We’ll whistle a song, stoke

The flames and lock the

Doors shut;

If we stop, go silent

We’ll hear the handle turn

Or the thud, thud, thud

And howls

From above

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Foxes (Sleepless)

I wrote this in March 2016, whilst in a relationship that would no longer be relevant two months later. Words can shift shape, transcend certain parts of our lives, be the landing place we can go back to, and see with eyes made wise by hindsight. No bitterness, no regret that the poem survived us, as I wouldn’t be where I am now, happy and authentic to myself.

 

My darling, whilst you slept,

I rose slow

Like a fox from a set

And crept

Down padded stairs,

Then let

Myself into winter’s chill bite

Frozen mandible jaw jabbing

My bones;

Each star a bright

Gleaming molar,

Grinding away the night

I lit a fag,

Deep breathed

Each dizzying drag,

Stood off balance

Under relentless green dwarves

Picking for the shine,

The crying birds shrill sheen

Painting early morning game,

Lemon dye of tentative

Sun in the east,

5am shyly keen

For a burning god’s fame

Space overhead,

Space in between

Planets, constellations, comets;

An empty spot in our bed

Beyond sleep’s reach –

The same.

Soon I’ll creep back

Next to you honey,

To insomnia’s dull buzz

And your arms folding dreams,

Sink into light

Streaming citrine

Knowing you are mine,

Not separated by closed eyes,

Not severed at the seams,

Holding love at the end

Of a line

Prison Concept Piece

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Prison:

In the pumpkin patch,

I see your face –

Hard

Bloated

Round angled

Fiery for harvest and carved

For home use –

Isosceles eyes

Square nose

Jagged mouth agape,

Crown removed with precision

And knarly candle in place

Jack O’ Lantern prison

To light my way.

 

Cheesecake Concept Piece

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Cheesecake:

Oh, the divine

Slice

Of your body

On porcelain sheets;

White

Patina’d

Plate to host a feast

Piece by piece –

Strawberried mouth,

Red and seeded

Speech;

I lick, kiss;

Crumbs of ecstasy whipped,

Bowl curved

In hips

Belly

Breast

Lips

Rounded

From

Which I can dip

My tongue

And eat

The vanilla, the

Cream

Cut up neat

The cramming of

Black forest cherries

Sticky and sweet

Hives Concept Piece

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Hives:

The syrupy cells,

Raised walls

Angled and filled

Your mouth, full

Sugared

And stinging

I hear the buzz,

The dance,

The vibrations of light and

Sun

Shadowed by the ebbing

Of latticed tongue

Winged,

Gossamer strong

Torn words,

Sweet words,

Pulsed out in the thrum

I lay back,

Barbed joy in

Your legs, eyes,

Throbbing

Hum,

Thick, sticky

Sibilant voice:

Apis strung

Blue Bird Concept Piece

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Dull blade of language,

From blue shard beak,

A flat sonnet

For one who cannot speak

Beneath the bell jar,

Vowels prising leaden

A once morning song;

Abraded letters caged

From petrified tongue

Run aground

From the grinding sky

Mouthing mimicry and

Rejecting the helpless things

That can no longer fly

In fast falling notes

My bird is violent cyan

Within the glass;

Sentinel plummeted

From manic nest

Criss-crossing clipped captive

Not fit for cleverness

With each beat of dull wing

Dragging feathers low

The slow words,

The slow aching words not arriving

As they did to Plath or Poe;

My bird is blue,

Lacking the grim poise

Of a crow rasping

Its bloody prose

From gnarled yew tree

Too close

To sombre headstones

It lacks the horror

Of weathered bones

In repose;

No terror from screeching owl

No frantic yellow

Of a full moon’s blare

Creeping morose

My bird is blue,

From languid eye

To shrinking foot

One colour exposed,

And its song which never comes

Is dull

As all sorrows

Are when fixed undone

Ghost

Technological medium,

Millennial scourge,

It is a novelty to be cursed

By those

That lurk mute

And bend us over boards,

Jangle keys,

That lock us to screens

Lure us to watch

The infinitesimal dots

Of a pending conversation,

Tantalising communication

Equivalent to naught

But cyberspace

Apparitions, they live,

Albeit light in the micro byte

Still catwalk the trend;

Advocate that audible

Spectres are not sexy,

So by digital decree

Stop banshee wails,

Stop unearthly shrieks,

Of ringtones abhorrent

Are mobiles into useless vessels

Are despondent mouth-pieces

For those that don’t

Speak speak speak,

Not in text, or in verse,

Not in English, nor in dalliance

Nor in Roman or Greek

Instead, I read the greats

Classic antiquities,

Of ancient history’s elite

Seeking verbatim reply

From the Oracle of Delphi dumb

Silence to

Become swans

Who become

Nymphs becoming trees,

Dropping leaves,

Satyrs, deities

In rampant pursuit,

Fleet in their heat

Far too flexible at the knees

Perhaps Mount Olympus

Would have better reception,

Zeus lightning-fast on the line,

Or at least Hermes,

Flash on winged feet,

Bacchus loose-lipped

After too much wine,

Artemis on the prowl,

Profile sublime

Under her lion-pelt scowl

That could stare you down,

Sultry and obsolete

But it’s story-book myth,

Pure speculation,

The wish, the expectation

Different from

Reality’s circumnavigation,

Global spooks

Poles apart,

North and south in the freeze

I shudder,

Chilled to the core

As nithered as

Cupid in the nude

By haunting discord;

There are no safewords

That will draw the ghosts forth,

No use for phones,

No materialising calls

I respond

By disappearing too,

Another gone social media

Ghoul far from reach

Absence a double-edge sword

Of Damocles;

If you desire further speech

I beseech a mode uncommon

Please grab a Ouija board

And spell each letter,

A summon

 Skeletal sweetheart scant language

For your chosen phantom,

For her spirit-thin

Limbo on the ground,

I can be your

 Otherworldly elusive woman

In séance to

Perpetually hound