I fancy
you have a farcy bud
a lymphatic inflammation
larded with psychic torment
breaking out on your rump
or testicle or elbow?

You come to me now though,
farded with slippery grease paint
as if I might save your clown
and drown the real soul
in a modernist swamp of expediency,
the unbroken surface
becoming the substance
of the clotted mire below

if your clown simulation
your tearful pranks
garner a few francs in the bank
and popularity for your symptoms
of glandular aggravation
one day the clowns
will rule this nation

we are regarded here as retarded
unless we turn out well farded






















Last Semester

We had a frog fatality last semester
swollen, turned pink in the flanks,
it defiled the paving slabs,
and the office staff walked round it
complaining of the flytracked cadaver
so adjacent to desk and chilled water dispenser.
I tossed the carcass into a rosebed to rot.

Then a toad was found dead giving birth,
bigger, browner, broader,
with a blob of  babyjelly
rending its body too widely.
It had slumped its functional last
half in, half out of the pond slime,
bumping the toad mortality statistic
exciting the monitors
and threatening an uncertain sense of control
in central admin.

Next, around Easter, a drowned hedgehog
in the shallows, duckweed
garlanding its spines like
it was Christmas.
We biology freshmen and women
pictured it getting into trouble at dusk
struggling all night so near
the help it needed,
wishing haplessly
it had been born an amphibian,
then green-matted and cold by early dawn.

The children held a funeral in Sunday best
while the seniors’ databases whirred up again
the profit and loss was solemnly adjusted
the science of it all applied and assessed
and the junior staff in smooth skirts and snappy suits
gossiped of lifestyle alterations
demographic considerations
and extra-curricular vitae
with the allumni.





















I Know the Man

who makes your speakers buzz
I know his bratpack magnetism, his fields, his coils
the way the home stereo explodes when he comes to drink
He’s the quiet one, only speaks when he’s thought
of something to say but he busts woofers and tweeters.
The mobile phones emit smoke when he’s in the vicinity.
Once he put his head in the bass unit
at a Who concert. Who you ask?
Yes he’s been on the run for years breaking speakers.
He can’t help it. Well, they were just finishing
“My Generation” when the whole system went mute.
The 8 foot roadies went mad. The crowd needed blood.
Blood came from his ears.
Each time the TV goes on he faints or the TV dies.
He leaves a trail of feedback and bass hum behind him.
Each time the telephone rings the earpiece melts in his head,
Molten plastic drools over the desk-edge.
He is not friendly to The Ministry of Sound for they hunt him.
Bins everywhere retire scarred, skulking,
Decibels rot him
He’s terminal.
He’s a terminator
He’s a terrorist.
He’s a friend of mine

















Hold-it Harriet

Wet and naked
I opened the shower door
and found a woman
sitting on the toilet
next to me
holding a camera

“Hello” I said
“Who are you?”

“Harriet” she said
“now hold it there…”
She clicked flashed and urinated.

“Dont worry. I only came to check
that you have hygenic habits.
Later our relationship
might extend further”

With that she flushed the WC
washed her hands
and flew out of
the window.

“Nice of you to drop in”
I waved
then swatted a bluebottle
buzzing round
the cistern


















Someone singing of fruit
in a fine tenor
pushed his finger against my abdomen.
My lightly downed flesh dimpled
into a pearly crater
slightly puckered at the edges,
blood vessels appearing through
its growing translucent glow
as he pressed harder and harder
till the overstretched membrane
which contains me, my skin
broke into petals of tissue
and the forefinger entered
the remarkable coiled lengths
of my great intestine.

The cream coloured tiles we put in
together some months ago
now protected my walls,
so that his untrimmed and rather dirty fingernail
scraped harmlessly against
a cool ceramic Spanish glaze
grouted in pale blue.

I tensed my lower stomach muscles
to prevent his entire hand and arm
and shoulder from forcing through,
then applied a quick gel-pack
second tissue dressing
which welded the bole of his trunk
roundly into the regular
and unhurried swell of my breathing.

He’s left with one lone digit
stalled in a flailing motion
like a lobster claw outside the creel,
when the whole crustacean creation
is inside trapped for dinner
and waiting to be boiled alive.

He is, apart from one small part of him,
locked out in the world’s food chain
and no doubt the chef will be along any day
with a very large pot.

Meanwhile his forefinger remains embedded.
It will be all thats left of him soon.
Though in a sensationally indulgent position,
it has no escape from its escape
and is rendered hygienic and harmless
by our nestbuilding instinct
and DIY forethought.




















Why do you dive off
seacliffs on dark stormy nights
when you’re tired and emotional
and can’t see the trees for the wood?
Is it some deep-down
death-by-drowning wish?

If I wanted to drown I could.
I just like the feel of cold black water
curling round my nose.
I suppose
I’m a funny fish.
















As they cut the pinstripe suit from my broken body
they caught a brief blood-drenched glimpse of
of finelace underwear.
Under the ground such secrets pale
into light starved insignificance
and when the living
change  their black suits for casuals,
their shone shoes for trainers
and walk back to their living rooms
a fringed  filigree of stitchwork and gauze
shrouds the damp darkness of the dead
I thought this gravely as they zipped up
the body bag
I had finally made it
to finelace



















In the grey light dribbling
through  the thud
of dull machinery
he searched for a

A red hot metal skate
with a crucible of gold
dropped onto his glistening pate
instead of the mould
they’d made for him.

He was cast
as a misfit
in the end.




















They staked out
the smashed carapace they had
forcefed for months with jelly and glue
to make it fat for this special time
daubed mustard on an exposed lung
to make it twitch
and danced to that rhythm
round and round
round and round and round
in a cruel cycle of cleansing pain
a ring of sacrificial vision
pulsing with evolution
and ritual ablution
like the  madly puckering
wet sphincter of an oyster
sex-changing every year
in its spawning bed

The giant loggerhead turtle
dredged its jugular up from the slime,
flexed its flayed and oozing legs
uprooted the restraining birchwood staves
croaked an ouch that hurt but felt nearby
a sense of crashing waves…
and heaved itself back into time
to lay more eggs.


















Things to do with your Arms

Saw them both off
(you may need help with the second one)

Unburden yourself, arms are weight
and carry weight.
You dont need them,
throw them aside
with a flick of your torso.
This will give you wings.

Boil the limbs, degristled, in a stew
of onions and bouquet garni,
forearms have the best eating,
the hands must be removed…
you could make a fine stock
for the freezer

Use your toes
to work the ladle.

Or use arms to hew rock, loft bayonets
pan streams, punch for gold, serve aces
write War and Peace,
open the jam jar
for your wife.
She may lie happy
in your arms…
or your arms may not
be strong enough.

Be disarming or alarming,
but charming to those
who are willing to hold you up.

Reach for your mother with your arms,
use arms to keep the peace.






















Simply Not Necessary

I do sometimes garden in the rain
weeding and clearing mostly,
even though it makes me cry
and wet myself
and get inexplicably
sad and snottery

sometimes a thing just has to be done…
but usually its
simply not necessary




















Storm Petrel

I met a Storm Petrel
in a filling station.
It offered me a ride.

Just then a Ford Transit minibus
and a Leyland DAF 15-seater
drew up and disgorged
what looked like a fetish club’s
weekend outing

All wore black or shiny black
apart from the flash of body piercings
and short peroxide hair.
They were shaking hands and shaking fists
about whether the vans took 4-star or diesel.
They got it wrong.

My bird and I
flew north against
a purple sky….

There was a noise below
like in the Lockerbie disaster.
I saw an explosion of bursting suitcases
split-crotch panties flew in the air
(one got caught on the petrel’s beak)
there was a shower of vibrating whips
and corsets and handcuffs, and tips
from the other pony club and clips
for your tits and all kinds of ordinary stuff
like toothpaste and clean socks.

When the smoke cleared
the people sat balefully
on the hard shoulder
eyeing their shattered

Then the police arrived
all chequered and flashing lights
and arrested the people
for lewdness.

If only they’d used diesel

We flew on
and the storm passed























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