Pebble

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Sitting inside
one of the

graffitied wooden
shelters on

Hove seafront
beside the

peeling green
and brown

paint with
the empty

lager can set
against the

precise horizon
of the railings,

approaching rain
visible as

a greyish membrane
connecting clouds

to the sea.
An unanticipated

sense of
love animates

my perception
of the frothy sound

of toing and
froing waves and

the smell of
stale human piss

that pervades
the shelter.

I notice
a seagull

as it
flutters upwards

carrying a pebble
in its bill

and lets the stone
drop back

down onto
the beach.

It has
some reason

for doing this
as it repeats

the action.

 

Moving Along

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the endless succession of gods

each leaning forward out of its niche

disappearing into dusk

along the curve of the corridor

 

our steps tap, random as stars,

the crazy paving of the temple floor

past the imperative faces

disturbing the delinquent dust

 

sight-seeing in this catacomb

we spy the sightless cats

blank-eyed, specked with gems

clutching each thunderbolt or flower

 

in secret knowledge their lips curl

pointing skyward underground

in gestures of far-flung design

as if distance was itself a door

 

past each metonymy or petal

is this the exit we’ve been searching for?

An Arrival

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The cries of the distant

damaged people

 

can hardly be heard

through the mist.

 

In the pale intermission

notating birdsong

 

the view becomes

an absence of view.

 

This new disconnect

floats like soft milk

 

between hard blocks

where populations live.

 

No-one lives in the mist

abode of the defunct

 

they keen and clatter

at the unopened window.

 

Time-stained, the Viking ship

sails into town across the land

 

with its figurehead grimacing

with its rows of wreathed warriors.

Envelope

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Walking around the concrete and wire

of the perimeter fence is an exhausting thing

but the dogs need the exercise and so do we.

A bird flies at an acute angle across our oblong path

 

I see you open a packet of cigarettes and take one out,

the rims of dirt under your nails, it’s dirty work

and the fresh air isn’t enough we need to smoke

and see, disappearing over the tops of pine trees, a white sky

 

blank as an envelope, with no address, no location.

You speak about your wife expecting the third child

and how the girl does so well in athletics at school;

you look about yourself, as if where we were wasn’t here,

 

stamping your feet on the forest floor, you walk in a circle

and the dogs pick up your unrest I imagine

moving their ears and their tails in anxious agitation

and you pat, pet them, quite able to prove your humanity

 

but soon we’ll have to get ourselves back behind the wire

back to the desk, the endless admin, and all the rest.