All 11 entries tagged Poetry

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September 22, 2005

El Baranco del Infierno

The desert winds its way upwards,
A dusty scrubland path
Cut into the side of the mountain
that, snakelike, worms its way into the heart of the island.
I feel uncomfortable in my own skin,
Sand sticking, mingling with sweat and sunshine.
Rough steps hacked into the side of the gorge,
The throat of the mountain
Dry as my own.
The only water, salt. My own sweat
And a brackish stream:
Styx, Cocytus, Lethe, one of those.

Head for the source,
My soul tells me.
Compelled, thirst unslaked I climb.
Higher up, further in,
Through the damp swamp
Of circling flies and biting insects wet with blood,
Low slung creepers, rocks and branches
To lash you across the face
Mark you like a tiger
Drive you on.
I cannot stop, chasing the water
Running down the gullet of the beast.
Dry bones and dust.

Dead wall of rock
Stones piled like salt pillars
Boulders round like skulls.
I force chalky fingers into cracks
Hear my bones creak and click as I lever myself skywards.
Till standing in parched silence on the lip of breath
Two quail approach this stranger in their Eden.
I feel dirty.

Push on. On into the sun
Destination obscured in dust clouds, I battle on.
Fighting the dry heat, the path, myself,
This thirst.
The walls tower above me, closing in,
The mouth of a devil,
Hot teeth tearing, searing flesh from bone.
There is an end. Must be an end.
And there.
The waterfall at the end of the world.

I reach out, despairing,
But the black cascade only ignites again infernal thirst,
The water burning metal to my Midas touch.
And, heart cracking I hear the screams of the damned,
Of the burning angel,
The Morningstar, fighting, falling
Crashing to earth in the cold black water.
I fall
And the abysmal pool rises to receive me.

July 25, 2005

Shift Work

An old poem I've revised recently, originaly inspired by the painting "Nighthawks":

Shift Work

I work in a diner at the end of the street
From five every evening till 2am.
The late shift,
When all the late people
Come to drink a dream
Before bedtime.

I wipe clean the counters
Because thatís why theyíre there.

Iíll get you a coffee to weep into
Or just stare at till you feel
You shouldnít be staring anymore
And walk the long way home, ashamed,
Leaving a dollar fifty tip.
No-one ever drinks more than an eyeful here.

My feet and ankles hurt the most
From standing almost eight hours straight.

Actually thatís a lie.

Working the late shift thereís often a few
Who donít go home when time is up,
Who stay long after the others
Have given up the ghost,
Run off like water on glass
Back to homes they can barely face.

For sins unnumbered, unmeasured.

The music is Sinatra,
The jazz long and slow and brazen.

My mother once told me Iíd be doing this some day:
Working here.
You donít listen to your mother at 15.

Eddie Hopper sits in the corner
Trying to extrapolate a little lasting beauty
From this black hole in a coffee cup.

Once I used to wear lipstick,
Make an effort, earn my tips,
Flirt a little, flash some cleavage.
But no-one looks too closely here.

Not even the poor old artist
Who paints the scene he sees
On the wrong side of closed eyelids.

I bring a bag of Mint Imperials most nights,
Set them on the counter,
Crack and chew them
To get rid of the taste in my throat.
Drink strong black coffee to keep me awake.
It leaves me with fuzzy teeth.

I chew gum on the way home.

June 20, 2005

Elinor's Sonnet*

It has been written of by greater pens
Than mine, and talked of in far grander words;
This theme of love, the cruelty of men,
Their passions and their sorrows, deeds absurd.
So I shall lay to rest that constant song,
Leave off my sighs, remain in doubtful peace
Since all my words would only do him wrong;
Unlooked for, only cause him needless grief.
But though I cannot talk so well as some,
Do not, for fear of censure or reproach,
My heart is not yet numb and hard as stone,
The love is great of which I never spoke.

The quiet waters always run more deep,
And flow far longer, though they feign to sleep.

*Elinor here is not my sister, but the character from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

May 08, 2005

The Shadow You Cast

Walking westwards at dusk
Through quiet streets and shades
Of autumn leaves
The sun obscures my next step.
I only know to follow
Blindly the sun,
For westward is homeward.

I think to myself:
This is God
Who blinds me, and commands me
To follow where I cannot see
That way lies home.

I cannot stand before You,
Would rather turn my head,
Spurning my guide,
See for myself,
And hide my shadow
in darkness.

Without the light there is no shadow.
To know perfection is to know its opposite.
I know I am no sun.
My feet are clumsy
And lacking Angelís grace,
They kick up dirt.

But still I turn to Glory,
And like the moon, reflect.
I walk on.
I have questioned, I have chosen
And that way lies home.

The brighter You shine,
The darker my shadow appears.

May 07, 2005


If the night flights keep you awake
I will call London Airport and tell them
to land their dangerous junk elsewhere.

And if you fall asleep with the sleeve
of my jacket under your head,
sooner than wake you, I'll cut it off.

But if you say:
'Fix me a plug on this mixer',
I grumble and take my time.

Christopher Logue

April 27, 2005

Surreal Pigeon

People, please tell me, is this good, or pretentious shit?
It's a working title, by the way.

Surreal Pigeon

gives fluttering
breast wings
to touch

these eggs
skin white milk
fragile, beating
in cupped hands

cool feathers
breathless moving air

two doves
smoke grey entwined
cloud like rising
into air
fathoms deep



living in death
bird dreams
taking flight

April 08, 2005


The brazen idol
Stands eyes closed arms out
Like a whore
Masquerading as The Virgin
Brass shining like gold

The Poet-Sculptor
Stands back, admires his work:
The bleeding heart, the twisted metal
Her cruelty his pain
Immortalized, deified.

The girl
Stands watching, helpless
As he creates in his own image
A statue that looks
A little like her.

The muse
Stands by her new lover
Sorry for the pain she had to cause.
No goddess to be worshiped,
Happy mortal.

The Iconoclast
Stands out
And breaks the damn mould.

March 29, 2005


This is a rather old poem, but I thought I'd post it here because I've nothing better to write at the minute


Screaming for Mother
The girl of 16
In the white dress
Bloody and dishevelled.

You feel for your mother at times like this

These broody wives
Cluck round her as if she were
One of them.

She screams
Adolescent blue murder
Harsh Ave Marias
At these wailing white nuns.

One holds her hand
Like a ministering angel
And she bites down hard
Yelling like a broken doll

ďMama! Mama! Mama!Ē

And it is done,
Wailing among the cooing doves.

A baby
Screaming and crying
Now finally settled
Her mother quietly weeping.
Smiling and weeping.

March 25, 2005

Culture Stuff

Feedback on this would be nice. Is it any good, or is it just pretentious crap? It was inspired by a recent visit to the Baltic Art Centre, Gateshead, so it may well be the latter.

Culture Stuff

Lunchless I walk to the sea
To see (to sea) to see,
To be filled
Full Ė fulfilled
And my head filled up
I drank through my eyes
Drinking, it was drunk, I was drunk
I drank to be stuffed
With this stuff
That is Art
Stuff it into my head
Till I too am stuffed:
An exhibit.

February 15, 2005

Behind Glass

The empty eyes of a glass
that distorts its contents
to its own shape.
I am trapped behind

A moment in time
This second, this flash of
Eyes across a crowded room.
I see you in

What you do Ė
Though not much –
Acts on me.
I canít believe how

The candle flame has
Gone out in pain
And needs re-kindling.
Behind the glass

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