After a night
of ocean trenches,
even the image
of mountain ranges
drawn and labelled
along, let’s say,
the edge of Norway
act as a barrier
to the tide of my
more violent waves;
the world’s little
creases and crumples,
like a bed sheet ruffled,
a ridge risen here
by a restless leg,
a trough in between
two folds in which
an entire civilisation
might live, love and die
before it’s time to get up
The curtain filters
The globe is spinning,
The dust is falling,
The entirety of everything –
my chest of drawers,
my bike, this bed –
is made of mostly nothing,
expanding in almost
every direction at once.
Sail ships in space
really do exist, catching
tides of silver, solar wind,
and here I am,
warm in the midst
of mountain blankets
on a Thursday, skimming
through a book of pictures
of what we think we know;
Currents, countries, names,
patterns of past migration.
Chaos given beauty by explanation.
Fog thick, close enough to be damp with fine dew.
Immediately beneath a streetlight,
In the crook between its leg and its head,
A spider web is caught in a rainstorm,
And then I read a poem by J having talked to C and been honest with him about how much it scared me at R’s and replied to H and actually read the thing K sent me and thought it sounded good so actually emailed the people about it and then read a poem by J even though I was scared to because it might make me so excited or get me so that I had to write and loved it and it did and then told myself to be careful and to just take that love and the knowledge of that love and go to bed with it, go make your bed with it, take the bags of dirty clothes off the mattress and struggle inside a big red double duvet cover in your head smiling softly and no you don’t need to write, you don’t need to create something now, you can just go to bed with that love and then realising that I was still flicking back towards online card games and realising that probably yes I did have to write and then I’m here doing it now and it’s all little, little steps like that, one thing after the next that is scary and is then done, moving ever forward, through and into love and letting it fill your back with each breath in, knowing that it makes your spine feel stronger and starting, starting to think about structure and it comes across in the tone of the writing now, seeking out half rhymes but still going and trying to stay immediate and that’s good, but do we do that? Go now and make the bed and sleep, or must this be processed now? Something created, stored, to be published I think I know. I know that to leave it now is likely to leave it forever, or to wake tomorrow with an immediate feeling of obligation which I will get anyway, because it comes like that and when will I sleep ever and will I ever stop doing these ridiculous midnight splurges? Make something. Make something of it and it’s a splurge expended. Make it. Look at it again tomorrow. Be happy with it. Publish it.
Take the knowledge of this love
and make your bed with it.
Take the dirty clothes off the mattress.
Fold them away.
Struggle inside a big red double duvet,
tuck in the sheet corners,
Set the pillows how you like them.
Do that and then nothing more.
Nothing at all.
The way the entire house
was a sleeping bag.
The way the wind harried down
the strait between here and Skye
and played twister in our garden.
Tried to tip the canoe
for the rain to fill
in the early morning
before the first of us had risen
to crowd around fried eggs in a cramped kitchen.
Standing on top of the footbridge,
that spans the roundabout and the McDonalds,
I can almost see the terraces that once
proudly sauntered down to the river to drink,
now cut to stumps.
The butcher’s, the baker’s swiftly swallowed,
hardly a street corner with a pub.
Big Morrisons is a hardy temple,
remember the days when . . .
. . . there were cokeworks and the honesty of
sweaty hands heading home, sky full of smoke. . .
I’ve read about them in small books.
There are remnants. Karaoke lasers.
Timber yard. Danish in the dialect.
And from the top of the footbridge, there are
trees in the morning mist. The stub
of a boating ladder on the river bank.
The station still serves trains twice a day.
Were the passing days of chicken-filled streets
mourned once? The death of a good old haggle?
Standing on the footbridge
over the McDonald’s roundabout –
it could be said that’s all this town is now.
One day will somebody pine
for the rustic appeal
of hi-vis jacketed workers waiting
in the frost bitten carpark?
The driver brusquely
begins to peel
the apron of his lorry back
to serve up his delivery;
plastic trays of eggs,
mixture for McFlurry.