Don’t touch me with that barge pole.
The disease you fear in me might travel
down your arm through the fibres
of that deceased sliver of tree and
burn a dot on my arm.
Don’t squint at me through that pinhole.
Your face is contorted
all the beauty your mother kissed into it
wrung to angry creases.
Don’t throw darts at me from behind that wall.
Your dartboard lies behind you
a whole room of
that need puncturing.
You see, I can shake off this shit
before it hardens and turns to
I can soak my blood-sodden
rag of a heart
in rose water
cook it with comfrey
til it stitches itself back together
I can call up cool breezes
to blow away the debris
reveal sand-polished jewels beneath
I can open a window
onto the vacuum created
when intellect left the room
I can rebuilt the city left a
for as long as my time runs on
But your time is running out
and every day wasted in
smearing excrescences on your
neighbour’s car window
is another chance for joy
wiped away and
hate is no
This is a dark, enchanted wood. Full moon brings more insomniacs to scuttle in among the streaks of shadow, clutching mouse-shaped wooden stakes in case some bloodsucker begins to stalk.
But we too are carnivorous. The jewels we seek in all this veiny humus is the meat of stories: we hunt them down with our X-ray searches, strike, devour them, display the bones on our personal rock to show the world we are well-fed.
Even the monsters have become disappointingly surreal nerdy trolls in dank sweatsuits crouched in airless grottos full of mouldering tea mugs throwing virtual rocks at shrieking passerby
The agitation that should flash and shuffle outside has been caught and trapped inside the bony cages of our chests; restless birds twitch but their tweets never reach as far as we would wish and the hum of wires is no exchange for air whistling through feathers
Connection has been rendered binary: you and me. Things flip from tragic to hilarious at the speed of the never-narrowing band until we aren’t sure if we feel either in depth
Between us I’m not sure I don’t prefer the hiss of cat or fur of bear or even slink of snake for in that jungle risk is not so riddlesome: you run and pray you’re not outrun
The space we stretch and play in is compressed to one square desk one keypad, one unblinking frame and in it flit phantoms of hero deeds and bombs and tyrant tales yet even we do not believe half of this forest floor of thieves that rob our time and sell us games til we’re not sure if we are gazing out or being watched
This window lets us see outside but cannot let the light flood in.