The Big Issue

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Bodiless message

Reached me around sun-up:

No place, today,

To rest, to think.

Dragged my bones to

The Markets of Faith,

En route to the

Hall of Candles;

Met a man

Who offered

All that he could,

The sum-total, in fact,

Of all that he was –

He wanted my trust,

But needed my money.

“Why aren’t you working?”

I dared not ask,

Too

English-polite to offend.

I have been carrying a cross

For a life time now,

One that I should lay

Next to somebody’s name.

I should ask them

That very question:

Why isn’t this man working?

What will you do to help him?

What are you doing for this local,

Here-every day, everyman?

Why would you rather commit my money,

My future, that of my family,

To those we do not know.

Distraction and Disguise

Rainbow flames its brief bridge

Of blazing colours across the April sky;

Sharp showers, darts of cold air.

From up here, atop one-time

Old Howe Ridge, long-time ago home,

Site of ancient farm and a school

That educated all and the one

It is impossible to see the distant,

Grey-cloud blanketed city in its role as

Industrialised, scarred prostitute.

Distance and spring rain are

Distraction and disguise.

We travelled between

Historic limes to get here:

An avenue where, much later,

Joyous wights will chance the

Wedding gambler’s dance.

 

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Rough Touch Ropes

I have seen many

Such as he;

Beribboned costume

(More clown than ringmaster),

Cat-of-Cheshire smile,

Loud voice that

Carries no authority.

Yet he will say,

He has borne the sword

From cold fields

To these strewn-with-paper tiles.

I am, perhaps, too used to keeping

Rough-touch ropes tight around

Memories that would otherwise

Have me vulnerable, weeping, cold.

Too used to resisting the

Smith’d-of-gold poisons;

To watching too,

Too many young people

Take their too-soon leaves.

Sting.

I don’t, in all honesty,

Want you to know …

But it took all of my wind

‘n’ most of my reserves

To get this wonderful-high.

Though I don’t want to confess –

I think you should know that

I’m not sure how long I can stay

On top, calm, collected

Up here where everything

Edges ecstasy’s borders.

There are dark greys,

Overlapping distant lights

Between the there

That was us setting out

And the here that is now.

Experience, like ambition, can sting

Like a silver hornet

If you let it; euthanase all emotion;

Yet I am here again,

For the first time,

Knocking knuckles on the

High-pressure door.

Don’t make me beg …

Pilgrimage Plus One …

Month of the dark-sun day

Is come and gone;

Excitement and pilgrimage are over,

Faith may still exist,

If just a little paler than before.

All hope is left behind.

But I am still surrounded by the masses,

The now-uncomfortable neon buzz

Of people’s expectations hemming me in:

Pressures, white-noise and demands.

My hair-trigger patience, screwed down too tight,

Stretched so fine for too-damned long

In denial deference to their suffocating presence,

Their petty wants, the ignoble trinkets they

Think to need, those truths they believe they do not,

The hunchback minotaur shadows that,

Drip by drip, stain their pale-limbo souls,

the noises they make – insect clamour – without speaking,

While they invade my precious spaces, steal my breaths.

This be new-hook moon territory, and

I wish to be done

With the all the demands they impose.

So We Came …

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So, after the million-and-more

Worthless words, we came;

The faithful and the free

To be weighed on

The Scales of Reputations,

Under the Pointless Arch

And the anonymous gaze of

Distant strangers. Came

To the northernmost fringes

Of the City of False Wisdoms,

For the trials, and

After the assembling, the

Crowded, stalling, winding journey

The excesses:

Of colour and clamour,

Of favours and flavours,

Poise and pose,

The raising of voices,

Candles and sacrifices

Of fish and fruit;

The exchange of coins

For tokens,

Standing,

Sitting …

To be finally judged:

Noble, inspirational

But wanting.

 

Such Glib Honey Promises

I threw a lot of pendulum-golden time

At the creature that bodied something like a man,

That wore a crooked mask which made him seem a friend;

That rode my burdened back, stole my very breath

While saying he would shorten distances,

Show me how to make giant trees artistic small, be by

My side when dragons appeared threatening unholy violence,

Dig holes on which to build diamond futures.

 

They make such glib-honey promises,

These fake-silver-tongued goblins, but,

Feeling no remorse, learn no redeeming lesson …

Get left behind – when god light dawns –

Chewing on ancient curse-dust

And the cracked, dry bones of albatross.