Haiku

Two, young and trendy

One, in his hand a chap stick

London’s air strips him

 

Londoners look grim

Hurrying impatiently

Life’s relentless grind

 

Death message by text

Unfinished business by choice

A revengeful death

 

Long travelled marble

Re-used again and again

His curves adorn it

 

Skin so very soft

Indian hands my friends says

Caresses I seek

 

The mind understands

My heart and soul embraces

Polyamory

 

Gay patriarchy

Unless proven otherwise

Exclusionary

 

Grow a big strong heart

Be as you wish to be seen

Loving keeps me sane

 

If your plan a fails

There’s 25 more letters

Trees stand, and let go

 

Seeking the Stone Age

Youthful feet chase Pokémon

The tide turns again

 

Fleeing refugees

The boy sits in bloodied shock

To have lived through this

 

At the grocer’s shop

I was the English grandson

Apples torn in half

 

Mint imperials

From tall jars on high shelves

My grandmothers treat

 

Patience by gas light

Blue pipe smoke, tales of New York

Bluebottles and wasps

 

Fun filled long summers

An old quarry, rough playground

Blacks mad bull raging

 

Two communities

This man has no connection

A tree without roots

 

Curiosity

Fertile imaginings

Seeds carried far away

 

Reckonings of life

Lives, leaves carried on the breeze

Face it, don’t look back

 

The mind seeks answers

Souls crave loving nourishment

Carbon is inert

 

What is the spirit?

A thing we cannot behold

Childish innocence

 

My androgyny

Undifferentiated

Juxtaposition

 

Gender bending men

Male dominant narratives

An oxymoron

 

How men think they cope

Troubling masculinities

Find that inner child

 

I knelt beside them

Imagining their ardour

Consummated love

 

They fade, loose colour

Like the love they once shared

Memories echoed

 

Six dry red roses

Rest, abandoned with a view

Tokens left behind

 

Red love tokens rest

On the edge of an outlook

Faded, dry like life

 

I found love tokens

Resting, left behind, marking

And I thought of you

 

We miss each other

Dried petals connected me

Our love reaches out

 

They lay on the ledge

Once blood red, filled with sap

Now discarded, lost?

 

Six ruby red stems

Lie in winters decaying

Ashes long gone now

 

First, procreation

Then recreation, ah sex

So, concentration

 

Chit chit chit, a wren

Robin’s solo lullaby

Lavender browning

 

Days grow, short again

A last bloom of butterflies

Green nuts underfoot

 

Late summer echoes

Red laden hawthorn boughs bend

And the sun grows cold

 

Convicted eyes leer

Contemptuous of our stare

Menace, starkly bare

 

Shimmering moist

Love and joy swim openly

The stream flows through us

 

Love can suffocate

My world feels a lot smaller

Autumnal breezes

 

The black iris chills

Their rage enhanced

The fear is in them

 

Sex connects us all

I stopped validating him

Relationships lie

 

He has a presence

His eyes smile and that’s a gift

Him revealed by it

 

My world feels smaller

There is less connection now

Like a lone wether

 

Lost and found

Coveting and loving

We need to talk, men.

 

Timeless weathering

Grockling rocks at bloody bridge

Cascading chorus

 

An otter edges

Blends in spaces, affording

Safe passage beyond

 

A lonely leaf falls

In my solitude I grieve

For all loves lost leaves

 

He said he loved me

Now he says he needs space

Driftwood & solitude

 

Heartbreaking is real

Heart aching physical pain

Separation hurts

 

Standard

Familiar

A familiar voice called me

By my name. There’s darkness,

In my head and around me. I

Don’t know why, it seems distant.

Distance, I had ran, down the

Road, back up the hill, shouted

A warning, looked at the van.

Phoned down to the other place

But was interrupted, although

I heard and recall nothing.

Another familiar voice, on

The radio this time, from the other

Place I think, there’s an urgency.

The old man, the driver, had

Looked so bewildered, said

Something about his family taken,

And the van and 20 minutes.

There’s that familiar voice again

I sense light, catch a glimpse of

A flashlight and other voices now too-

“Christ he looks bad”

A pressing weight is lifted, and then I am.

Muted muffled pandemonium,

Everything has moved and is broken.

A hand takes mine, and presses it

To my head. Clarity and recall

Kick in, get searching and fuck the risk.

Three, two, then only one is missing.

Ah no, not him not Cyril.

He was laughing with me only,

Minutes ago I guess, getting ready

To go home for good in six weeks

To Carrick-Fergus, and the family business.

A familiar face, looms out at me

In my mind’s eye, but in finding him, I

Don’t see it, or a side of his scalp

His brain, feet or hands -just

Union jack boxers remain.

I lose his cheerful voice in the dark,

And say a prayer, not knowing

What else to do, and then call out;

In my own now unfamiliar voice

Standard

Not A Fighter

Bill McKinstry and

that is his name was

for a time my friend,

and colleague.

Tall, blonde and blue eyed,

A little rotund, some

Called him Billy Bunter behind

His back, a few to his face.

I guess his ex-merchant seaman

Skin was thick enough…

Most of the time.

He used to say to me,

“always remember

I am a lover not a fighter”

One night we were called

To a fast food bar,

There was a riot,

Everyone fighting inside and out

Chairs, tables, bodies,

Flying, careering crashing.

He donned his forage cap

Took a deep breath

Casually dandered in,

Up to the counter

Behind which the manager

And staff cowered and said,

“Well, what appears

to be the trouble?” He was

in that moment my hero.

A few short years later,

His thick skin wearing thin,

He and a bottle of vodka,

Fell asleep on the sofa

At his mother’s house,

And he never woke up.

I am reminded of my friend’s words,

That…..

He was a lover not a fighter.

 

Standard

‘D’ Section Newry

“Today feels like a good day to die”

Wasn’t what I wanted to hear

As I began my second shift of the day.

Seated in the back of an armored Cortina

Unable to control my own destiny.

A wyrd personified fatalism

Clung to D section like a,

Scourge and a torment.

An inevitability informed their behavior.

To lose 9 of your own, seated eating,

Taking respite briefly in the evening

Changes you, it changed them. The loss

The frantic searching in the dark

The bodily mayhem and the baying crowds.

So they set themselves apart,

The rest of us often observers

Unable to intervene in their

Professional dementia, where

Lines were crossed. Irrationality pervaded

How they viewed the world

Outside the station gates.

There, at that time, the ‘Troubles’

Felt very much like a war, a bloody

Gruesome unforgiving unacknowledged

War right here at home.

Standard

Hagar’s Daughter

I saw my first

Weeping stone angel

On a trolley, at the morgue.

Hair swept back, romanesque,

The face of a weathered noble

Wrapped in her white shroud

Translucent as alabaster, carved

With intransigence and loss,

Etched with pride and prejudice.

A presence that made

You stop and stare.

 

The last time I saw her

She lay open to the world,

Violated and dismembered.

Such gaping sacrilege

Provoked within me

Outrage and melancholy.

Still I recall best, I choose

To remember, I see

Almost every day

Stone angels about me

And weep a little at their fate.

 

 

Standard

Fucking Cowboys

How they ever came to utter

The words…..

‘No I can draw faster’

(referring to their service revolvers)

To me remains an inexplicable aberrancy.

No matter, rounds were removed-

Click… click…. Click…click

a deafening detonation

Click… click… click…

another deafening detonation.

In that canteen in Castlereagh

A man fell against a wall and

Slid down leaving a red bloody smear.

His colleagues at a table playing cards

Grabbed the kitty and scarpered.

In that security sanger in Newry

They found them sitting still,

One paralysed with fear,

The other by the bullet that

Entered through his chin

And lodged in the back of his brain.

 

Standard