September Poem A Day Week Four


It shouldn’t work, but it does.
You rev up the engines, then
Punch into the absolute,
Up, up above the weather,
Grey wings reflecting the sky and
Changing colour as
Cloud gives way to blue.

So much else, of course.
Roar and throb and movement,
The vehement sublimity,
Thereafter, of modern comforts,
As if in denial
Of the speed rush.

Lift, and areas of low pressure,
Aerodynamics and power!

This makes mavericks of us all,
Provides a little thunder for our hearts.
A fantastic for the tethered,
Pushing the bounds of natural behaviour
On science or else pride,
Expedience, frivolity, design,
Making monsters from tin
And gods of us all.


The past I see as a time
Barely black and white,
Sepia weather and bare wires,
Slapdash undertakings,

Things not yet properly
Thought out, considered,
Where all the dreams were
Of rocketships

And a certain sense of
Military bearing still predominated,
Upright non-existent, no
Grievance procedures.

What little neon there was
Smudged in the rain, possibly
Against all tenets of health and /
Or safety, things were bad

For you then, a pervasive
Throb beneath the surface, no
Deviance, the absolute, how
On earth did love ever flourish?

In forty years it’s quite
Conceivable that people will look
Back on this life now similarly.
I stand dark expose light here.


They only come out
In the rain.

Motorists see them
In the place
Where the mist
Settles over the thicket.

The scrub,
The wasteland,
The void between
Road and town.

The hanging wires.
The reservoirs.

The ghosts are too enamoured
With their own disappearance
To do any serious haunting.
They hang around as if
Looking for something.

On days of steady drizzle
The ghosts shelter
Under imaginary steel
Where the drip drip drips
From jutted metal.

The jutted metal itself
Is also a ghost.
Don’t tell them.
They don’t know yet.

Unfortunate ghouls,
They will disappear,
Just like they always
Wanted to,
When the rain intensifies.

Everybody has appointments,
Business to attend with,
Even ghosts.


Such ease in erasure.
A split second
Of misdemeanours.
The past as
As the future.
The present,
Fragile and vacant.


Beef and mustard crisps
And ill-advised attempts at
Teaching me chess.
That’s all we ever did.

I’d show you the countryside.
You’d never seen stinging nettles.
We kissed once
That’s all we ever did.

You were Californian,
Your brother was a surfer,
Suddenly washed up in the Surrey suburbs.
Think of all we never did.

Your beauty was obvious
And so exotic in our
Commuter-town nothing.
I felt lucky and perplexed.
That’s all I ever felt.

Your dad was a player in Hollywood.
Your aunt was married to a film star.
Your brother was a surfer.
I liked him.
I liked your brother a lot.

You phoned me one day
To talk about our ‘relationship’.
It all sounded so grown-up.
That’s all we ever did.

History has excised you from me
And you’re back in CA, Silicon Valley.
I saw you on a website,
Businesswoman of the year.
One day I might send you an email.


You make it very hard
For me to feel euphoric.
You hide your poison
In the sweetest places.
You say I’m

You’re right,
In so many ways.
The weight of living
Is merely the anticipation
Of nervousness.
We don’t see the gradual steps,
Mostly leading down.

You took me to a very
Dark place
And then held my hand
As if I’d always been there
And you were merely visiting.


It always rained during football.
Typical, you might think, yet,
In thrall to a splurdge of various
Teenage chemicals, I didn’t care.

Because Darren was there
And Paul was there.
They always put me in defence.
They didn’t seem to care if I
Let in an opposing player.
They already knew.
They knew before I did.

I was so lucky, really!

The school field was near
Heathrow’s runway, so actually hearing
Simple commands from team captains
Was quite impossible at times.

There were one or two idiots.
Mostly ill-informed, quite possibly.
I’ve seen them lately on Facebook.
They seem almost human.
It’s a different world, now.

It was the whole
Shower ritual
I particularly enjoyed.

Richard would let me
Touch his legs.
I mean, I’d touch them
And he’d not moan or anything.
It’s nice that he was so
Generous with his legs.
He’s married with kids, now.

Once, all my team-mates pretended
That I was a superstar,
Let me take the ball and
They fell about, feigning
That I’d tackled them,
Leaving the goal open,
The goalie having long since dived
Out the way.
I kicked the ball with all my might.
It went about two foot.

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