The indifference drifted in like a gas | Dropped out of school, did odd jobs | in the gig economy | things like Uber and Deliveroo | Put the stones into the picture, and the stones | resided there | in acrylic | and if you want snob appeal, look to Old Holland or Lascaux | if you want quality at more reasonable prices, look to Chroma, Golden, Liquitex | Secreted passion like a rare pigment | over the years it turned to saints or the microwave | or sometimes the Discovery Channel | Wasn’t at all sure | what to do with my young body | the limbs too flimsy | the bones protruding | knuckles clunky, dragged | slowed me down over industrial pavements | my head too big from my neck | and my jaw too big for my head | Found in a drainage ditch | up on the moors | near Rosedale | the water scented with rotting juniper berries | clear, though, clear as if | not really there at all | a medium so perfectly transparent | you only saw the skull, or the lace, or the widow

Left the painting in the loft | There were so many photos, so many very good photos, in fact | but it wasn’t the technique or the quality, or the eye | it was the taste changed under our feet | as the culture changed | and politics changed | and the spiritual kaleidoscope turned | so different bits of bling and glitter | rose to the surface of du jour | and à la mode | a cathedral in a blink | a long-held dream in a drive | Later the house was demolished | the contents scattered or burnt | and the complex pearl of her inheritance | was crushed to a dust, or sold off very cheaply | You couldn’t give some of that stuff away | The new police came in | enforcing the new rules | and the old innocents | became the new criminals | and suddenly escape was on our minds | We only managed to survive | by “playing dead” | lying among the corpses of victims | and history was a warehouse | of imponderable scale | stuffed with more and more artefacts | and most of the rooms | were unvisited | until, at last, effectively | there were no rooms | Sleep, the arbiter of truth | comes for the past, of course | and not just any past… | You didn’t enjoy the lectures | and we snuck out of class | We felt full up | like there was nowhere left to put the future | Her skin came off | his skin got | caught on barbed wire | his fingers fell off | her hair fell out | teeth | their genitalia | dried up | their memories | became pulverised | down into a beige paste | One evening, my blood came back to me | like a missing ocean | and if you could lay your ear to my breast | you would have heard its tonnage coming | its wall of wave | from so far away | an unutterable sound | gathering at the edge and at the centre | of your consciousness | perhaps more a vibration than a sound | a trembling in the air | and in the earth | where the desert had been parsing its sand grains | for several hundred years | Then there was an apocalypse | and the shoreline towns | were put through a giant’s blender | converted from society to a kind of nature | and for a few minutes | you couldn’t put a price on the wreckage | couldn’t put a value on | the mojito in your hand, couldn’t put a wonder | to the ice melting in the beaker | couldn’t put shock | to the fragrance of mint and white rum and lime | then the crowd came back in from the street | and the bar grew really busy again | and you watched Sam and Angel dance | and you uploaded a photo to Instagram


from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)
(this poem, October 2017)