For Andrea Brady

As though the overcast might tweak
an airman’s maps, his foretelling — 
as though in chains of stop-start
ischaemia, I count myself unstressed,
I walked along the human promontory
rough-tongued as sugar paper,
walked from the metal-bashers’ shop,
vinegar and cayenne
sprinkled, spiked my glass of milk.
Well-set icing blistered.
Ice set into cat’s-eyes.
I walked through the empty lot
the enormous empty lot
towards the store beckoning me, soon I
turned my back
on every now forgotten unit. Get yours
I said. Get yours.
And I kept mine in ghost capital.

Such was our material ease that year in
plenteousness, in full flush.
Sumptuous but interfusing, basking
all the while June
was leaching sweetly,
bite like molasses.
The block the far side of the apron
squatted with capacity.
Happy to take things as seen
I browsed, I window-sloped,
honey lanyards brushed my lips.
Then I too was stopped by the incident,
the episode, the voice that spake,
lushness hit the doldrums.
Frigate birds collapsed on ice,
wings like stick pyramids.
I stood dangling my bunch of keys.
Saw in the lake’s heaped frozen
waves a new car
exhibition, restaurant, luxury housing.

This then was the block whose feed I
hung upon,
suckling on the live stream so generous
I could overflow,
creeping to within earshot,
stealthily advancing within reach,
this then was the source
marooned in transitivity,
flushed pink where sky spins and grips
or tries but soaked it slithers off,
its dazzle-shroud sagged
sopping with new storylines,
slid down in folds, pleats, bales of
Lines aspired to mottoes, mottoes
to a motionlessness
tethered to reflections on void lagoons
where intermittent light spelt 
far less:
blemished forms of love
loving fault must needs be filled
but the field is made of faltering,
we walk on thin ice,
images that relay genital parts.
Look, each of us knows
what we could do with any of these.

A peasant with his crippled back and
upright broom
dusting off the sun-gilded runway,
a banker’s shouting ontic features
crabbed and tentacular,
crabbed and tentacular.
Like everyone turns in on himself
I saw the gathered looped and spooking
out their children, these too
stretched in their fire cavern,
talk would shift about the board
grinding thick lines of violence.
Activity lights
flashed, cycles juddered to a pit reprieve
behind star-blasted rock
pooling oil.
Still within a smoke scarf
three sit and talk and think to send a call
through wintery clearances.
Across the asphalt my bone vibrates.

Tap Tap.       Buzz.
Calendar beetles
tap inside false ceilings,
failing brands
collapse into the flickering of a hearth.
Clear light annuls
red crackle, time-stamps every flash
expiring assets show in.
Look, to make my call
I found my mouth,
licked the barrier streaked with fuchsine,
nibbled at the pith
between the tree and bark. Red daddy,
aren’t I big enough to walk,
pick up my legs, my pace
Look, I hack at overgrowth,
too grown up, well-fed for
jelly mould cars and download junket.
Magenta freights a weary sky,
heaved limbs abdicate.
Who hankers to walk grass and thrift.
Ankles pricked by gorse and heather.
Who walks on creases now shale
pockmarked with spots of tar.
My ghost is trying its weight
on stepping stones, look, it’s peeling off,
weaned into the asphalt river.

Ahead I see this huge container.

More Poems by John Wilkinson