Tag Archives: poetry

Cheng I Sao

On city walls the prostitutes, they drained

Their bodies, blood and clouded piss they dropped,

Below the flimsy flock now quit their siege,

In horror crying loud as if fellated,

They fled on flabby hams like squealing pigs,

Failed, flabbergasted. Whores exhaust – this task

Tax on the bodies, bane of men, that baffle

Warriors. Yet below, their leader grand,

A fox among sea dogs, her weapons wit

And wile, and power little understood,

Her charm, and her late husband’s sword, a proud

Keepsake strong woman-wielded, commandeered

A fleet mayhaps by sixty thousand crewed,

Imbued with her cool clarity of mind.

Grim, smuggling thugs ingrained with greed indeed,

But strictly structured now and disciplined.

That whore could rise from urchin to arch king,

Carnivorous, to claim the China seas,

The Chinese waters all within her ring,

From flower boat she blossomed, lily fair,

Turned pirate’s wife, then widowed from this post

Of high regard, and yet maintained, mainstayed,

Not wallowed in black waters, nay, but strove,

And thrived, Cheng’s steel in hand, and yet erect.

A feat most proud, an undefeated fleet,

Blast-battered, barnacle-encrusted, yet,

Prolific warrior and sturdy foe,

And ever cunning, chose her triumph well:

Unarmed, invincible, she came. And still

Formidable, she struck a bargain, then:

Lived out her last in epic requiem.

On the Counter-Intuitive Nature of Collision of 9/11

That grace was some incongruous cartoon

Where lumbar flame and melt and mould, as if

Droop bimetallic broke not sweat nor stiff,

Strong limber, and warped not its cold cocoon.

 

With model rend, not jigsaw nor balloon,

And graded dive, and blend and bled flame swift,

And seemed to slide and liquid through sieve sift,

It leered and led through lead its nameless wound.

 

In rejection of Simon Armitage’s “The Convergence of the Twain”

On the Aggressive Masculinity of the Roman Foundation Myth

The seed three times too strong. And its produce:

Children of rape, a Rome of ravishment

That bred a brawn of two, a brutal rent,

Fertile and virile, virgin prize at roost

 

Raped. Rhea, gentle doe, by son of Zeus

Pierced sharp, the mar of Mars, the arrow sent,

Or sword, and soiled with seed that rich cement,

His vigour vibrant thrived, and ripped her loose.

 

That beast gave suck and succour robbed that twain

Of frail fragility, their mother’s curse

Vitality imbibed and buoyed by breed

 

That they were born of war, in blood and pain,

And battle raised and into battle burst,

And race of warlike flooded from that seed.

On the Life and Death Commemorations of Muscovites

Black, undead hands of a loved heart surgeon

Clutch the ever-burning jewel flame

Plastic cover shelters off-white bust

Rain runs down in blots and blurs his name

 

Colours rust on flags, like padlock keys

Down rock bottom. Woman sits her frame,

Body lies below. The gong ‘gain gongs.

Children’s children dance in blindfold play.

 

Inspired by the Novodevichy Cemetery monuments, the trees of love, and “Children are the Victims of Adult Vices”

On the Sustenance and Spoils of Crusading Armies

They crush the shrivelled brush, they champ and chew on that

Cud of their labours, brush, thin spindled brush, consumed

By fire and ravage, great stampede compacted it,

Ravenous, raving, raping fertile land. The arid

Arable land is plundered, mud soiled, once again.

 

And should they sit at fires and sing, “a barren mess,

For unsuspecting baron and his baroness”

Or squat down on their hams, and cram their guts, and chew

Cud of their labours once again, and say, “Amen.”

Vincent van Gogh

There an arthritic bullet lay, was stopped,

By bone, and blood encrusted wounds unchecked.

He stumbled, staggered back, was stamm’ring, wrecked,

Lurched without want, as though by drink was hopped

 

In fields where rushes crushed beneath him, cropped

And ripe, but brown, produced a dead effect.

His room, with canvas, colours-clothed, bedecked,

From pots of inks and tinctures, stoppers popped.

 

The drunkard drained of dignity, and painted

Portent of peril, spiralled into madness

Flowering, blooming in his starry eyes.

 

Clutching colour, face and field, but tainted:

Strains of a plague, a harsh and harried sadness

Blossoming black, ingrained, and Vincent dies.

Thomas Rainsborough

That rain in all its cleanliness befell

These lands of England, glen and glade redressed

With water clear, dilutes to cordial soil

As flaked or flayed from fair, white England’s back,

Dissolute flows, ingrained, and broke to flux

As pain in strains, in creeps, as though from breath

Of breeze, its touch of kin, not brute, and light,

Lighter than blessings blow. So purity

Like lambs’ hair irritates, inflames. The rain

Washes away not that. The fallow maids,

The plough that soiled the virgin queen, and then,

The unicorn, with crooked horn, the foal

Or fool, and now, the clean rain runs, like men

At work, then scattered fast as ants, whose strength

Not feared, is deathly, men storm scatters. Rain

Down on the working train, who dig and quake

For soil. Then comes, they hope, the final rain,

Rightful, torrential, pouring on the princes,

And with new-beaten ploughshares, honest men

Crop the crop-tips, and lop them off at collar.

From high sea borne and stern long siege, fleet rises

Rainsborough, he, the English soldier true,

He, England’s swordsman lived and died and he,

The worthy martyr, slain by intrigue sly.

This English rain had washed the flesh in pain

Fresh rain had cleansed the clouded minds enmeshed

In popish wishes plain. The tyrant that

Had broke this English truce, his sceptre planted

In French and Irish, now by sword is smote.

Rainsborough, English spirit, hilt uncloaked,

Presides unseen, and foe and friend unseeing.

On the Logical Sexual Conclusion of Anorexia

Enamelled bone had bit the staff, it bucked.

That broken basin rimmed with air, where skin

And flesh and blood before were richly rucked,

For beauty dark was drawn to one so thin.

 

His blade turned candle, cloched and domed and rode

And bluntly bumped a damped, flat pitch opaque

Against the holed-out bowl. The flab had flaked;

Skeleton skinless screws, as furrow’s hoed,

 

A handsome stranger strong and dark. Lies flat,

Oiled thighs, oiled calves, without the rattling pat

Of pills in pale palms shrivelled shedding spare;

 

Bones honed and round astride this strong-bred sat,

Or spindle thin as spider had begat,

Traced the waistline sticks as rickets rare.

On the Failure of Florentine and Venetian Humanism

The city, where the poor will live beside the rich,

The filth beside the scum. The poor prostrate themselves

Before the rich, as though five hundred years or more

Of human pride and courage went to waste, as though

Those universal men threw off the chains of God

And rubbed their wrists, and rubbed their thumbs and fingertips

As quickly, throwing off the chains of hands, the hands

Of feebly communistic poor, of wasted men.

The waste, as though the mighty marble David’s member

Was just a bit too small.

On the Cry of the Virgin Fox

Like child being raped the fox it shrieked

As though its pelt were pelted through the dark.

And fur on fir where spine contorted peaked

The fragrant fibres bristled ‘gainst the bark.

 

The shriek repeats, resounds, surrounds this freak

Of nature, brittle flesh this hooked staff breaks

And rips retracting raw and flapping weak

Torn canvas shreds of pleasure God forsakes

 

A stone through paper wet whose fellows, flint

That, wrapped round sticks and shafts with flimsy bind

A gleam in gloom, begat of earthy mint

The finest forge-work born of whimsy mind

 

Angelic rapeling in the dark I thought

But merely fox in grandeur right distraught.