If February rain picks out crocuses' sturdy elegance
then Hogarth didn't etch grotesques & Dickens didn't write grotesques,
they're walking down the street. Here's one who never listens, wrapped
in looks like sackcloth, call him Jeremy, scrawling characters in mud
& ranting about the gorgeous spectacle, a theory man in love
with the sound of his own apocalypse. When the weather clears
hydrocarbon miasma cleaned out smells an amazement, & now
                       is the new then: completely different
people with the same genetic material & prejudices
unexamined come to be parents. In shades of dinge the children
pull on certain footwear, headgear, polarising lenses & are
                       ideographs of humanity
leaving for university to learn to be proles, glistering youth
                       about six weeks, all told
to relative strangers in acres of bogs where pastoral dreams
feed on mushrooms & rumbling along to a distant bass-bin
evanesce. Slipping over reality we are clouds, sublimed
from shifting units, all our efforts always already bent
to condensing cash from the vapour of currency but never
                       enough. What a mess. The wind,
crossing the bare land, finds calligraphy in the hedgerows
& makes it heard: amongst the beliefs there are hidden
real lives, & they will be taken, limbs hacked almost away
                       not for punishment but someone
else's good, & twisted into a more convenient shape. Out
of winter's distortions come leaves, & out of the leaves
a rather sad song: from the town's dying centre a buzz
of nobody moving during their expensive wait
for the clock to strike. There are palliatives: commandments
weirdly obeyed, money dirt that won't wash away, & this useless art
a speckled bird mobbed by its self-coloured species or like a whale,
                       when you find it it kills you,
then the interest starts. The winnings are nothing, settled
against a gathered darkness, livings in little boxes
gaping to be fulfilled: & there's the damage. Pity
the overdetermined bulbs as they rocket into an air
thickened by pre-owned fuel, the green & brown fields, the poor light
                       falling on this beautiful world
with its freight of people enacting things on each other.


It's a messy machine but it gets you there & then you get
rid, for the sake of argument I usually turn up

     after the arresting opening when the truth
     demoralises my song, everyone's a critic

at two in the morning making it strange, to bear that beauty
engineering restraint of public face with each version

           more like essays in poetry than poems,
           & I alone am escaped to tell thee

                 exactly that form of language
                 so stripped & covered in fripperies

           sometimes I remember I'm getting sucked in
           listening to whingerock on a dingy day,

however this I in the pierrot getup is ever
the optimist, quarreling over priority of forms

     with a mirror, & sharply attuned to the whistle
     of worrying documents hovering nearby

                       talking it through to evade
                       the point, Nero's music

     posturing where lights are bright lenses ground very small
     & flaring away from earth I should say don't stop

but swallow & call it a guilty pleasure, sorry sugar
word of mouth strains to diffuse through a crude mechanism

           the crux of the story to bear that beauty
           when personae are theatrical masks,

sweet crystals of neatly-timed dialogue & easy laughter,
from somebody else's viewpoint call it double vision.


Things at the insect level
staying still running
off about transactions
in delicatessens
would make it mutual
thinking    grasshopper minds
bounding together
hermetic conversation
entertain closing down
making the texture
qualities of ideas
get over    after struggle
with airtight boxes
call the spread splendid
every gourmet body
deserves favour then
to the 'phones all shall have
prizes    there in the grass
with mobile crickets
stridulate for hours
cognitive dissonance
having the strangest say
hey mistress    shrike you take
your chances the bird says
it's simple but it doesn't
work if courage is
a running start good eating
on one of these things

       Nick Spicer 2006