Unconventional Dissemination

Ever an oddity in the urban environment
I took comfort in his promise to store his masks
Under the kitchen sink. To be a discount store
Luchador must be a treacherous occupation, 
pinning injustices against the canvas at the risk 
Of a second screening at the border. It is not fair
To be compelled to self-banish, but is it both
Protest and fear?

He instructed me to make bombs of creation, reclamation, 
And with this understand I can aggressively love
The cracks in concrete, spilt them wide open without
Force, with cornflower and lady’s bedstraw. This slow
Detonation gets played over again in my mind
As I shop for powder clay and fertile compost, dreaming
Of this being a possible pastime to share with 
My baby daughter.

Only the other day, where the city centre recedes 
Into the residential, posters appeared on the chipboard 
Partition walls of the derelict children’s hospital, my preferred 
Site for bombing. They read ‘FUCK OFF, BORIS’. Unlike
The usual gumpf that gets plastered here, the builders
That are never seen, but heard drilling and smashing
Deep within have chosen not to rip them down 
Or paint over them.

Perhaps this time they agree. 


Chiaroscuro Girls

A flame encased in blown sugar glass,
Warped. Her arms oscillate out of shadows
In sideways arcs, offer early morning dew
Or frost in sunshine palms. Passes
Out of view. I wait. Anticipate the flash
Of skin in stronger focus. Deeper glow
From the narrowed aperture reveals few – 
No – no clothes. Bareness. I do not trespass
On her rapture, her daily routine. Just
Watch; hug my sides, pinch and wonder if I 
Am toned like her or just skinny. Her dance
Is my breakfast. So at seven I trust
She will be there. And if I catch her eye
Through our windows, I blush, just glance away.

Little Stone Heart

All the love is kept in this little stone heart.
Hear that slosh, a rare geode,
But there must be a leak. No, just air.
The liquid echoes out its own shortcomings 
Misgiven when the rock formed.
This little stone heart cannot apologise 
For what it is. That its skin is hard and cold,
That its beauty would only be seen if it were broken,
Then the love would seep away.
And this little stone heart believes it has been
Loyal and brave for the last few million years.
Since a volcano took a gulp of a glacier,
Our little stone heart buried itself deep
So as to not crack once. 

Do You Know, Or Do Know Yourself?

I know the woman who sits on the groyne and watches the sea overlap the concrete, 
Who walks the pebbles for mermaid’s purses, who smiles into the wind.
I know the little boy who chases seagulls with only fish and chips on his mind.
I know the man with the metal detector is thinking of raspberry ripple with a flake.
I know the seafood is not so local.
I know where makes a decent roast and where to buy the best cake.

I know the quietest park, the prettiest park, and the park with the happiest children.
I know where to feed the squirrels.
I know where the mating pigeons sleep.
I know those with love. 

I know those in love.
I know the official, unofficial, and still call themselves single.
I know the sweaty, tight-clasped hands, arms around waists, public displays of affection and the turn away of a face. 
I know the couple whose latest addition to the family has four legs. 

I know the dogs that pad the pavement: Dachshund, Dachshund, Dachshund, Miniature Dachshund. Seriously, why so many sausage dogs?
And I know the Cocker Spaniel, the Cockerpoo and the cock-your-leg-and-sniff-your-bum-how-do-y’do?
I know how hard it must be to have Alfie in the pram and Oscar on the lead while your partner takes selfies,
Do you know, I know the babbas in slings, the tots in buggies, the tikes on scooters, 
I know the kids in shades on their bikes slouching low or with no seat at all 
And I know the French kids, and the Spanish kids and the Dutch kids and the German kids cramming the streets and the MackyD’s with maps with blanked-out gaps for them to exercise their English.
I know the singular young men who sit in Jubilee Library wrapping their mouths around strange English vowels, and the silent mums who check out children’s books to read to themselves.
I know they are lonely. 
I know they are not alone.

I know where the NCT mums meet for coffee, 
I know where the old ladies eat,
I know how much it costs to take high tea at the Ivy.
I know that Churchill Square is a clone-plan shopping mall.
I know many people can’t afford The Lanes, 
I know hen nights and stag dos don’t belong to you,
I know how it feels to have a stranger scream in your ear,
I know what it’s like to not want to walk out in the dark,
I know what the back alleys smell of,
I know men who lean inside telephone boxes, convulsing with their sleeves rolled up.
I know the tents.  
I know you know the answer to ‘do you have any spare change?’

I know the YMCA, the Women’s Centre, the Children’s Centres, the Sanctuary on Sea,
I know the Gurdwaras travel down to feed the hungry,
I know the churches that shut their doors after service on Sunday,
I know the vans that pass psalms out with hot food,
I know how to avert my eyes when I’m not in the mood.
And I know, I know there’s no god, but that’s just me,
I’m the kind that goes around hugging trees,
Yet there’s a goddess who gnaws this shore, who eats men and spits glass,
Who we piss, pollute and hide our evidence in. She can turn on us. 
I know the woman who sits on the groyne and watches the sea overlap the concrete, 
Who walks the pebbles for mermaid’s purses, who smiles into the wind. 
I know that as she walks home she can pass thousands of faces, and says nothing to no one.  

I know your streets, every twisty little lane.
I know your people, Brighton, but I don’t know their names,
Do you know? Or do you know yourself?