Drawbridge by the Drommedaris

Haze eats the horizon as I stand my watch.
Flocked swallows settle in a second then
flit up into the one remaining swatch
of sky the storm clouds have not painted in.
A woman hangs wet watch to catch the wind.
A yellow duckling bobbles in boats’ wakes
and boys dive where the inner harbour takes
its leave of city and runs to the sea.
The grey comes down as softly as the flakes
of bridge paint that the rust and time set free.

The Drommedaris, built starting in 1540, is a historic fortress tower in Enkhuizen that is now used as a cultural centre and for special events.

Questioning Anon’s Logic

Logic by ‘Anon’ from The Faber Book of Useful Verse, edited by Simon Brett, 1981, p. 127.

Good wine maketh good blood.
Good blood maketh good humours.
Good humours maketh good thoughts.
Good thoughts bring forth good works.
Good works carry a man to heaven.
Ergo. Good wine carrieth a man to heaven.

For wine to make good blood, or even bad,
requires a highly fictive evolution.
And humours, unless the poet ‘Anon’ means fluids,
are not the same as blood in any way.
That humours might engender benign works
is so far figurative that it has no meaning,
for all of history teaches that good thoughts
result in nothing often, or in works
as often bad as good, so how can this,
this homily from ‘Anon,’ be any proof
there even is a heaven, much less one
to which a man gets carried if he drinks?

whip ugly stick

listening to hopkins whip an ugly stick
listening to hopkins whip an ugly stick
looking over mountains never seen

a lonesome dream intruding on the blues
a lonesome dream intruding on these blues
money crisis creeps across the world

people choosing to think that they are choosing
people choosing to think that they are choosing
which side they will elect to rule the losing

bird serenading to an empty nest
bird serenading to an empty nest
black bird singing to a whitewashed empty nest

one more time most of the people failing
one more time most of the people failing
to see the cliffs they are building to jump off

foreign worker needing nails to drive
foreign worker needing nails to drive
into the cross the rich man make him carry

free from your last spell you seek out another
free from your last spell you seek out another
can’t think about the things you made me do

dancing with my arms out like a windmill
dancing with my arms out like a mill
wondering what i’ll do if the music starts

hearing riffs and seeing candy dancers
seeing necromancers hearing stiffs
gandy dancers standing on my hands

slow tunes escaping from my weary head
slow tunes escaping from my weary head
bald as the goat found drowned at john o’groats

Altea Dawn

A shadow, first this week, slips on the stones
and falls in place. The plaza comes to life.
A sparrow watches cats cart off the bones
of cutlets from the tasca. Sparrow’s wife
welcomes back the sun with song and cluck
and curtsies to the cats as they pad by,
pause to stretch, and wonder if their luck
extends to lunch on sparrow. Worth a try?
A lizard who’s anticipating flies
tries his tongue out, flicking at the light
reflecting from the broken glass that lies
where the waiter let it fall last night.
I let the hot cortado chase my yawn
and thanks my stars for sun. Altea dawn.

Game of Words

I play with words the way rulers play with lives.
I elevate some of them, and I set others
against each other, slashing as if knives
were what they were. If I find a word that smothers
the others in my word menagerie
I snuff it out the way rulers do with lives.

Unlike with shamans, presidents, and tzars,
my powers do my subjects little harm.
When I am dead and done for, words will be
in dictionaries alphabetically,
and locked in novels, and free in open minds,
and floating between planets while they wait
for future speakers to provide them breath.

When shamans shame a person to go fight,
when presidents preside and send in troops,
and when tzars drive cars across their peasants’ heads
the people they run down stay grievously dead.

I can’t know if I am more moral than all world leaders,
but fortunately I am weaker, and I use words
as my objects for tormenting. Words can’t die.

The powerful trick or force the weak to work
on things that make the powerful more strong.
The strong earn billions (‘earn’ is here misused)
off the backs and dreams of people with less power.

I play a game with words, but those I exploit
remain as well off as do those I don’t.
To rulers causing torment, words are a quoit
they throw to ring in dissidents who won’t
kow-tow to them. Let them throw rings of iron
as often as they like till they expire,
these rulers, who like us must grievously die,
but our words and word games will survive their worst.

Cirrhosis Writhes and Moves On

Sir Rosis rose and razed his host
who resignedly retried
to raise a glass as in times past.
The glass broke and he sighed.
‘Do you recall?’ Sir Rosis asked,
‘the hogsheads and the casks
you lavished on your liver giving
it a keg of tasks?’
His host’s mind had been binged so much
that its memories were mired
in alcohol. The host drew a blank
and looked puzzled when it fired.
‘Your brain is mixing metaphors!’
Sir Rosis said and fled
to seek out other likely lads
with livers less stone dead.