Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk

 

KID

For some people every morning is a
dangerous chicane
between coffee cups ≠

Not for me. These days youíre
usually out of bed
before I am.

I can hear you
talking to yourself
in the bathroom

when you think
Iím still asleep. Iím not
dreaming. I know

Iíve let you down.
My early signs of greatness
have diminished to

sea-froth on the coffee cup
instead of the towering wave
I left others to surf.

Iíd rather sit on the end of my bed
and stare out of the window
at birds dumbly flapping their wings.

Some stumble on their true path
like the right decision was always waiting
at every wrong turn. They snap their fingers

and the answer rushes from the undergrowth
unmistakable as Bison. Big-game hunters of Life,
they shoot it down and hang it on the wall like a rug.

You make your way through the crosshairs of the world,
unfolding in its monstrous self-
importance like chapters in a bible;

I wince when I tread on a snail in the dark
trying to find my way home, drunk,
and wake up in the morning with another stranger.

I give him a shave.
The light stutters over the washing basin
and there you are in the mirror, kid






THE LISTENING POST

allergic to duty,
athirst for unconditioned time,
spontaneous, unsponsored,

my mind went drifting yesterday, boat-idle,
a leaf on water turning in the whirlpool
of its own distractions,

pulling at its own threads,
unravelling through sounds that came sailing
in through the tall ear of my open window.

I listened to aeroplanes mosquito,
traffic percolating down through the long afternoon
in brown thugs of exhaust, sunspots thumping

against jaundiced suburban greenhouses,
trains ricocheting through the wet paper bag
of the countryside, housing estates

farted like punctured balloons. Ripples spread out,
responsibilities floated away, feather bookmarks
dropped from lead dictionaries.

It felt like an unused gate creaking itself open
in the undergrowth. Mushrooms were breathing
in and out through their gills;

and in the rich green moss that grows in waves
beneath the ogre of our punctual shadow
a dream creature lifted itself up,

yawned and stretched, scratched its behind,
scraped the rust off its tongue
with a thorn.

It was the first time I heard
the unknown creature say,
This is what I am.






THE ROOM

I sit in my room,
surrounded by all the junk
Of my late twenties.

A landslide glows
On the computer screen.
Iíve just made it back,

And this time it took longer
than ever. Iíve discovered
another side

to this unhovered domain,
where foothills of socks lead on
to mountains

of washing, where left-over
coffee cups reproduce
like brown-green frogs,

where the sink grows its daily beard,
and all my photographs hang
tilted from shaky nails,

the broken compass points of memory.
Beyond these walls I have found
a haven more unexplored.

It began one night, when a corner came loose
from my favourite picture, and a little
stream of sand trickled down

to the floor. I needed to clear a space,
so I got rid of some of the rubbish
under the bed. Then, brick

by brick, I began peeling back the walls.
I cant explain what I saw on the other side ≠
But youíll know what I mean,

when you go there yourself.
Now I can be away for weeks, although
Iām sure no-one notices Iím gone.

With my flashlight and safety matches,
I haul back whatever I find
raw and glistening

in its mineral ore.
One of these times, my frayed rope
of knotted clothes will snap

under the friction,
and Iíll be stuck on the other side for good.
When that happens,

only you will know where I went.


                  © Andy Green 2003