Another Delirium

Who will wear the turkey crown

for the people coming home for Christmas?

come home

 

the words written in the dirt

of unwashed winter vehicles

on poorly lit routes

could they show the way?

(no)

 

I have no industrial past

I’m just some kind of penis

 

grief as mental illness

mental illness as grief

 

you lost tribe

man your crannogs

woman your canoes

shoulder your loving

 

hey you damned

get ready for the fever

of your revelation

Monoglot

Lazy heat by here
not much chance to use
the old language
here

things to do
a cat sips a glass of milk
I poured for myself
my back turned
gets a clout
a house surrounded by dead mice

the dialect of managers when they meet
when they compare each other
exploit
handover
reduction
“the journey”
like so many dead sandwiches
we told them so

eulogy for a poet from my village
recognised in his death
this awaits me
versus verses
a book is not its cover
but a chimera to ward off stereotypification
a taxi ride among a cavalcade
of red tail lights

met Billy and his grandson Ryan
in the x-ray waiting room
his eyes had red circles around them
as if he’d spent a lifetime crying
he joked he’d been hiding
behind a tent
at the siege of Rorke’s Drift
and that I’d limped with a different leg
on leaving

and Iolo Morgannwg told me to buck up
in a swish multi storey car park
named after our patron saint
my capital city
its smart centre
the ordinary radiating roads
the stitched together villages
hairdressers and Chinese supermarkets
they invented gunpowder
navigation
printing
here’s to them
and who are roads named after?

camped on the outskirts
of the spirit skirt
a community of imagination
the gaps in people
some good gaps
some not so

sniffing out brownfield sites
for smash and grab art actions
light in the dark then melt
into licquorice
but do the flatlands remember
the inundations of their history?

Song of David

There used to be giants
nimbly rolling the rocks
around the known landscape
to cap water spirals

the people used to be giants
now they were not
or so they thought

though suspicious of Rome
they went about unarmoured
along forest tracks that led back to them

they strained to hear the bells
of the sixteen wall towns
of the kingdom they were told lay
under the shallow bay
they believed though no sound came
save the lament of gulls
and the collapse of waves

he took his first steps and was injured
his father and his uncle
battled against snow to get his face sewn up
but a crucifix injected itself into his arteries
and travelled those routes for many years
forcing him out of shape

to grow tall and crooked
trying to sink into his shoulders
as his mother had done at that stage

the shadow of smoke
he recalled Jesus
how gentle he’d seemed
the women loved him
still he couldn’t understand why they did that to him

he was obliged to follow the old religion
though more drawn to Hell
he looked like the Turin Shroud when asleep
he kept telling them he was dead

in a country with a higher number
of castles than any other
he played at the cottage of his great grandmother
and the motte and bailey castle
next door after which it was named
the comfort of grass and a six hundred year gap
and discovering gooseberries for the first time

both his grandfathers died at the wheels of their cars
without a mark in almost inexplicable accidents

when this curse outlived its usefulness
he would learn to drive
in order to get out of this valley
where everything was washed down slopes
into the river into the sea into the ocean
into rain back to this place again

TV was new wall-to-wall war every night
Vietnam and Ulster
and the offerings of producers
who had survived the “last” war
he in turn re-enacted liberation
and freedom fighting with comrades

and guns left over from the resolved
and unresolved conflicts
of previous generations
providing ammunition
for their imagination

he put knives in his pockets
his belt his eyes
to steady his nerves
to ward off his father
whom he had exceeded in height

he was not taught the story of his country
but guessed at its events
and found that his broad accent
was nothing to be embarrassed about

he spoke two languages
but wanted to renounce one
until he learned to love it again
to revere his birthplace for what it was
and not dismiss it for what it wasn’t

at the beginning of the space age
his parents acquired labour-saving devices
that helped them in their daily chores
and in the raising of their children
but these machines took over their time
and sucked out the soul of family life

they looked after a chapel
next to their home
the silhouettes of tombstones
dancing around his bedroom walls
illuminated by car headlights

the new people arrived
they had always been there
but now seemed to be everywhere
speaking the language his tribe had absorbed

they took over abandoned farms and chapels
and the leaderships of some of the hundreds
the inflexions and drive of a different gang

he pretended he was like them
but in the uncertainty of changing North Atlantic culture
his tongue fumbled some of the old words
in their unfolding

in the summer he slept with windows open
in the mistaken benevolence of electric light
beyond which night creatures
exhaled their excited air
and burned empty homes

he grew into song
into words and deeds
his chewing gum grin
glossing over his mistrust in his seed
until the egg begged

now the blood of princes runs through him
carries him shoulder high to the computer-enhanced
rampart mountains blue with rain
where they do not overwinter the sheep
the blood of princes runs him through