Sketch 19

A woman in high heels walks slowly along the broken avenue. The boys tangle their leashes trying to get ahead, turn and look back at her, then veer up the hill towards the open field. The park can’t contain their desire. It pours into the atmosphere in particles that speed and collide, cause small children […]

Aura

Listen to me                               little water I called you up            believing something would arise                         in me believing I could make         […]

Angel Hill

Someone must be looking after the headstones. It might be you with your easel and brushes And your big sheets and charcoal for drawing Snowdrop cumulus and lichen lettering. Someone must be looking after the railings And closing the rusty gate behind her.

My Life According to You

So I was born and was small for ages and then suddenly a cardboard box appeared with two furry black ears sticking out of it it made me nervous but I was brave and gave it a bell to play with and then out it jumped and loved me it was my cat I called […]

Ghazal of Guyana

Do you see? The bones of stars are falling, crashing to the earth like trees, like greyed spears again I find myself amidst a frieze of bodies lost in our commune of ritual sweat a hurricane is spinning Saharan winds through the constellation of islands they whisper my name from the muddy rows of cane, […]

Prayers for Exiled Poets

Were you to ask me where I’ve been… I would have to tell how dirt mottles rocks. How the river, running, runs out of itself. Pablo Neruda, ‘There is No Forgetting (Sonata)’ Translated by Forrest Gander Prayers no longer hold up these walls in my absence. My own country rebukes me. I hold the world […]

Telemachus

Like any good son, I pull my father out of the water, drag him by his hair through white sand, his knuckles carving a trail the waves rush in to erase. Because the city beyond the shore is no longer where we left it. Because the bombed cathedral is now a cathedral of trees. I […]

The True Story of Eleanor Marx in Ten Parts

1. Eleanor of the eight-hour day Gets betrayed by Edward of the two faces. She orders: chloroform, with just some traces Of prussic acid – blue – a beautiful imitation.   2. She says it’s for the dog but she is the dog.   3. The Housekeeper finds her dressed in white. It’s not her bridal dress, she’s […]

Nine Nights

The Set Up If you did see people that first night. People for so. Who come from town, from far like St David, from near like St Mark to this little St John parish. It had the makings of a good funeral. Pure bus park up by Gouyave roadside like ants. Them mourners arrived, shuffling […]

The City Admits no Wrongdoing

Somebody put a golden girlchild on a southern railway in the 1920s, with a satchel of chicken. Picnic for one. Northward  toward a better life. Billie Holiday loved somebody who put her on a railway with a satchel of chicken. When the food ran out, they called them honkeys. The white men who drove up […]

Nightfall, Jane Ash Corner, St. Thomas

Ice splits those millennia of canes. They stand by the coppice in ready patience and danger when I pass by the barracks. A mongrel pack, in their heat, vanishes into a lane. Cane and silence. ____ Ash-frosts glimmer houses sleeping by the factory. I pause to breathe deep the molasses vat. Progress is back, but […]

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My mother lays the table with chopsticks & ceramic spoons, expects you to fail at dinner. To the Chinese, you and I are chopsticks: lovers with the same anatomies. My mother tells you that chopsticks in Cantonese sounds like the swift arrival of sons. My mother tongue rejoices in its dumbness before you as expletives detonate: [two women] [two men] […]

28.

Today the turquoise view swoops faster, swirls like lime juice in a cold glass, the bay flashes, tumescent, a noon-time joy, steep to the side. The early moon a pale slice in blue. Scent of manure and hay blow, sheep wink, coastline trees like brown twiggy hair blowing sideways. My David’s a pebble of strength […]

1. Of those from the ships

Ptolemaeus the king of Egypt was so eager to collect a library, that he ordered the books of everyone who sailed there to be brought to him. The books were then copied into new manuscripts. He gave the new copy to the owners… but he put the original copy in the library with the inscription […]

The Plenty of Nothing

i.m. Jenny Diski, 1947–2016 Pale duty stamps about in plenty of nothing ____like the night when you know everything to time when each step is beaten off when the rack might add ____more glory and I would watch the stars not kin nor proof to rule the sphere to know ____by clothes and tea how […]