New Poem: Time Zones

Through logged skies and airports
we are completely apart

except for the same digits on our clocks,
that shared time.

You are a chicken on a pole, slowly roasted.
I am clouds. Dazed. Mostly mist

as I float around London
without anything to stabilise me.

So I look at eel shops. Try to decide whether it’s worth
two-hundred-quid to rent for your birthday.

You eat basil ice cream in a restaurant; overlook children
playing in dust and sand. Make friends with strange people

from Essex who do not believe you come from Stoke
your accent so posh, your job: important. “A Writer?”

Tonight I sit in England and scry your name in leaves,
branches. It’s urban palmistry. Headlights are your eyes.

In Portugal your mother asks about your girlfriend.
In London, our friends order drugs for the weekend

and I start to wash the walls, paint white over magnolia.
London is all brick and hidden lives. The call at night

of late buses blaring at kids who smoke, hack coughs,
puke up on their feet while eying each other up

always in pursuit of their next, nearest, fuck.
I wonder if we will grow up. Forget

the satisfaction gained from the chase, the dizziness
of booze-filled lives. If we’ll ever lie back on a stone wall

watch a satellite disintegrate in the atmosphere
and think okay, yes, that’s enough.

Facebook

Modern love is not told in paper

but the pixels in a face trapped

and peering out, bound in comments,

tagged with us. Click, see friendship,

it is you and I, December, ‘in a relationship’,

flicking between pictures

from when we first met.

Forty-three people have liked

our solid-state love. Kiss kiss.

Heart heart. Smiley face.

Wink.

 

Facebook is like a photo album

for the mind and more forgetful.

It collects what we do not.

In March we shift to, ‘it’s complicated’.

(Acquaintances, not friends,

the people there to bolster numbers

and educate in networking, click

‘like’.)

It always ends.

 

In time,

come May,

we are ‘single’.

Facebook has updated but we are still

in this state;

you find three messages from a boy

that has been in my head for two months.

We end.

 

Spend our days stalking

clicking through the photos of each other

that now hold alien men where once

we were two halves of mussel shells.

A couple.

Now, separate

as salt dough to sweet.

We send niceties. Discuss politics. Say hello.

Someone finds an old disposable camera

from a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach,

they upload it and tag us,

kissing with rock between our mouths

like lady and the tramp, but trampier.

 

You can trace the history

of real life, of us, of ourness

through MySQL databases,

notes, see friendship, click,

like, click, love,

click, love. Click, account.

Log out.


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Little Things

An unwashed plate; we break two glasses half-emptied with wine and our Rioja stained mouths; time washes us in seconds that turn to days. Sunday, night; I sleep with my back turned to breath-sounds and the noise of silence. A hand curls around my hipbone; I shift away, a visitor in my quilts and the guilt of not-knowing-why. Head drums a beat of no, no, no. We do not make love. You try, and I insist. My mind is a curled up rosebud retreating. “There is nothing to be stressed about.” Instead say: Why are you stressed? What’s wrong? I’m sorry. It’s okay. I love you.


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After

Wake in the morning and weigh your heart

against hangover scales and remnant palms.

 

Do not wash to hold him against your skin

sigh and feel the weight of everything …

 

As another comes with blue-eyed guilt, bed

dressed in morning grubbery in your mind,

 

hear his nonsense sounds and taste, smell,

feel the reek of his five a.m. breath. Kiss

 

let the image shift, ripple, flex, awash again

with dew-dawn, on a cliff looking out at sea

 

as two bodies bring in the sun and sink

inside, retreat your hands behind your ribcage

 

with fear and text, text your other-love

with furious hands as though he can tell

 

through satellites and instant-time

what you have done. Give him extra kisses.

 

When he replies with just one,

give him none.


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Porthcothan Bay At Night

Here,

on wet grains,

the sea wipes sand

like rain across glass.

They sit under a tartan rug

hands down pants, fondling

as the fire cracks and chatter

spit-spurts between dark silhouettes

and ghoulish uplit faces.

They squeeze and pretend

that nothing is happening.

Tonight,

people leave, one by one,

and they remain alone

with the sea, gunblack,

which throws and turns,

a humongous tongue,

salivating.

They walk, hold hands

and kiss between rocks.

The water laps at their ankles;

stars stab white

in an upturned black basin.

Later,

as kisses turn from lips

to skin, to cloth and back,

the sea rushes forwards and retreats

a metronome to their throws.

Two sets of footsteps

stretch from rock to cove

where bent forwards,

arched back

they take turns.

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Fairytale

Look through March rain veils

into sunscapes and green, green, woodland.

Take the pinch of reality and throw it behind you.

Do not let the other Megabus passengers see.

Swallow a Fisherman’s Friend and travel.

Tannoys tinkle and it is three tomorrows

away and soaked in eucalyptus and tanging almost-pain.

Shudders turn to slipping lullabies

and windows open portal-wide

and now, breathe,

count to three … one … two …

and it is the turn for your eyes.

You have arrived.

Another man, dressed in imaginary nights

and dancing is waiting.

Hand him your lover’s last words on his tongue

and with your other, take a strand of his fairy hair.

Hold him.

Do not let the world tug you back.

Focus.

Let him reach into his pocket and untuck a compact mirror

coated in the colour of heartache.

Open it.

Take back your smile.

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