Fragile beast | Take off your bison head, tingling, swinging | Take off your bear’s head of glass, jaws | swagged with blood | feckless | beast | Hero of the underground | rest your panicked heart, put it | aside awhile | lay your claws beside the bed | let sleep | syphon you off into darkness and the one | true quiet | Futile | beast | forget your purposes, drop a compass | in a forest pool | set off in the direction | not of the ogre’s | fortress, but of the nightingales, wrap yourself | in the soft, green leaves of their song, ignore | the squalid tumult at its core || What does white lace | mean to the barmaid? | And the sultry cowboy | why does he care so much for those pretty guns? || Elect | a lovely murderer | Worship | a broken god | Avoid, if you can, waking | under stars seething | with furious life | Forget, as you wish to, every word she said | Watch the others | wrestle the ocean | for a while | restless | beast | Leading | voice of the avant garde | abandon the cabaret, settle down | to sell insurance or teach | literature in some | doldrums nook || Why must the mirror | lie so of you? | Where do the crowds | take your little matter? || Huge the voice that pounds inside your brain, a volcanic roar and multiple rumble | of stampeding hooves | yet no one | takes issue with a word you say! || Prophet from | an unwritten bible | haranguing pleasure- | seekers in a park | just shut the fuck up! | Add to the generous mass, the dangerous yeast | of your intangible spirit || Close this book of waves and shells | awash with plundering threat and rumour, the sea’s | reiterated whisper | and slip off into your silent life | delicate | tender | troubled | beast

Blood maps a recalcitrant journey | Desire mimes a stolen play | French William, and scalded Harald, stuff your mouth | with long-suffering words | and they | offer you the limits of your speech | leave you mired in what you call your own | tongue… | Brilliant | tangents | drive the detour on | You spend your days | fixated upon | the doings of the most famous troll | and total your beautiful car | against the wall of a hardware store || Grand the wrought | iron of your mansion’s gates | aspirational the towers | but in the bedroom’s early hours | the hours of fidget, crick and aftermath | though the dragon’s corpse has yet to start | stinking | the genius | swords of your early forays are still dwarfed | by the mounds of scales | of your slain prey | The years | with their soft | moth mouths | begin to bite | You realise | that second thoughts absorb your fate | and your saga ends in differing, in a dull stranger’s | bar-room story | Bathos awaits


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, December 2013)