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I see them now, hand in hand, hurrying
late for school, on empty bellies; again.

But I don't see the child I first saw,
two, maybe three years ago.
The one with large optimistic eyes
keen to learn,
with a easy way of making friends;
if a little shy.

Now the missed baths on Sundays
have begun to show.
And, smell less than the lies,
however well intentioned
by a sistered proxied pare...

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Safe Space

The Jewish question hangs between us
I note the flinch in the eyes.
But do not understand why.

Perhaps it is the imagined assumption
that she might rise as smoke: too.

And so we back-peddle, for the brake.
And, talk of semi-colons
and grammatical Latinate imposition.

As if the bundled faggots of law
might extricate, an ill judged word.

How careful all speech must be
when thought...

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What You Won't Read in the Guardian

Tonight at noon, I was struggling with a metaphor:
an imaginary girl was sitting in an imaginary coffee shop
reading an imaginary copy of Henry James:
in order to make a metaphor for something I imagined
might be of more interest than it was to me.
I wanted to create the illusion that her eyes; her grey eyes:
were like a seal breaking the surface of the water.
That would be allowable I beli...

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the old fat fascist toad
fears to feel, fears to grow
fears the thought it does not know
nor cares to know
or feel
the old fat fascist toad

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Impression IV

She said: she said; she said, uh,
in that way. 

I went, I said, I went listen.
And she went, you know
like she does.

Well she did.
Well she'd have to now; what with
you know.

That's what she says.

She said it to me: when I went round.
I went say it, and she said, uh
you know. That's her all over.

When she went, you know,
that way, I said uh, that's it.
She can say what...

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Impression V

She takes me to a gallery; an exhibition: a sale of pictures

and asks which one I should choose.
The paintings are nice.
The colour is good.
The composition fine.
The frames are worth a bob or two.

And as I think of this
passing the abattoir at midnight

a single sheep bleats.

Studies by the sea.
Pastoral scenes in Victorian style:
families grazing on the beach.

I suggest the ...

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Love, it is love, once again love.
Sorry I didn't mean... if you're busy
I was just saying how frustrating it is
to read. The moon blazes fire, burns
in yearning majesty of love's lost return:
in turning, burns, the returning still.

She cuts the conversation. Lights a cigarette
with Vesta, The phosphor somehow suits
her nature. Everything she says
is fashionable beyond the sake of comfo...

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C'est une Pipe

La feu c'est margin des lune entente
concord la lune un feu.
Mes tout; sept pas; mon encore
la lune.
Que quelle fille, appel mon coeur,
c'est feu, je jure la lune.
Avec mon coeur, mon feu, mon lune:
mon coeur, pas lune, mon feu.

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1968 - Black Lives

society was normalised today
no poem was written outside of the template
the icons were replaced and thoughtlessly respected
no moth of an impure idea died upon the window
and black lives didn't matter

society was normative today
we French-kissed the wooden tongue
beginning to get very tired Liberalism slept
the people dissolved
and black lives didn't matter

society was normalised to...

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Letters Found

You, like Sylvia, only knew two words,
always and never: which you carried caged
like linnets of a stolen song.

How nice to take a knife to you,
your watermarks, your curling hand,
to read afresh your streaming thought
before that well ran dry.

Or so I thought; and thought now,
appreciating these love letters
to one hundred petty brightnesses:
as luminant as rain.

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Between Stations

intemperate frigid loved unlovely love
grasping with the sweating palms
sweating hard in chasing time
in reaching for the well kept wine
we crush the glass before we drink

what line may bind the larking flite
or ken to understand in song
scrolled litany unwind of those done wrong
by us - or others unappeased
frigid loved unlovely does not love nor care

unlovely let all be mud toed be...

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The Virtue of Chastity

In chaste libation she thrusts down again;
riding him, grinding him, cleaving unto him
in fulfillment of their vow. Her perfumed breasts
cupped in his hands: hands scented by her,
smelling of him, and the baptismal hymnal
of his fingers; then his tongue, as he drank
of one flesh in exhortation.

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Eden's Loss

Where yesterday, they lay unbound within
that pit of joy: skipping pleasure's eye shone:
processing o'er the virgin stars of night.
Uncleaved, the fruit, no cloven star reveals
but split between its equal parts, seen
in critical comprehension; what perfect
in created form: forms patterns accidental.
As the bud yields to the bee, craving the light
it opens fully in its natural innocence: so...

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ecce homo

In the beginning it was not the word
but the compromise, between that divine
and the practical possibilities.
There could be only two. Experienced
revelation felt, or posed blunt question.
In apology came explanation.
That blind harmony, without echo's need.
Now question rules without reply, tacit,
often crude; blunt in non-belief of all
that does not match the word; from which began

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the muslim's tale xviii

three volleys rend the air - without effect

the deamon struts in prouder mood
his martial demonstration proved
a single arrows hangs from of it's neck

and again the world falls silent - still -
to be broken by the clattering of arrows
dropped from the mouthes of gleeful snakes
taken on the wing as a lover plucks a rose

in disdain it takes a half-dead child
and snacks upon the head a...

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the muslim's tale xvii

the skinned dog deamon's frame
bipedal stands to make the dare
around its ribs vortex flames
full taller than a bear it stands

and from its shoulders and its arms
writhing snakes of bronze abound
each snake a lingual razor sharp
each lash will slash a neck in half

where once had been the merchant's jaw
porcine teeth feed satan's maw
fed by hands with claws of brass
lacklustre'd worn...

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the muslim's take xvi

slow turns against the lowered sky
vultures patient biding time
their tail-feathers angled down
to pick the bones of the town

dust settled about the reined in steeds
lowering the hammer of the sultan's gaze
their standards flick upon the breeze
more dour this scene than any battle won

in twos and threes and sometimes more
lay those who once had names at dawn
without rigour left to ...

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the muslim's tale xv

doolia awoke on that friday with bile so dark
as the autumnal tribes that live by the spring
with a joyous woe of the unspoked wheel
she thrice rejoiced at being unclean

once in forgiveness to all-seeing allah
then for the memories of what she had been
third she shared praise for all love in her life
that combined - she hoped - was just sacrifice

alone by a window she watched them to m...

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the muslim's tale xiv

sometimes in sport they swapped veils
these sisters so alike in build and height
with faces misted masked they might
doolia for lotvia appear at phantom glance

but such games began to grow in spite
as each impatient of desired destiny
sought in the secret mirror of the mind
to find angel' sign of accident virginity

though closeted in apartments lush
without material hint of want nor w...

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the muslim's tale xiii

mid-tress she sets aside the hairbrush
doolia unveiled to the window goes
twice skips her heart to hear the horses
arrive at her father's house below

but no suitor comes - just traders -
wind-eaten men of wrinkled eyes
who sail in search of gold and rice
to break the back of ponies in a line

and always black flies come too
that feed upon the saddle sores
unkempt shaggy mares dry milk...

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the muslim's tale xii

at the final inner gate
resplendent in their lamellar
beneath the dragon green pendant
stood the sultan's body-guard

ali smelt the wine-soaked soldier-breath
as they stopped him on the path
not these the conscripts of hadeeth
each and every volunteered

men of horn and men of mail
men grown hardened in the saddle
born not of mother but of jackals
whose life depends on whom they serve

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the muslim's tale xi

how fresh was the tumbling air
of that shaded outer garden
perfumed by one thousand lilies
in promenade upon the ponds

in serenade joined in the fountains
bedecked with rainbow'd hanging orbs
drinking in the brackish mountains
from them crystal water flowed

and here the formal flower bed
and there the tufted overgrown
blended perfect by a naive artist
of those mysteries nature owns

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the muslim's tale x

at last the gates of ibn koinos came
a mirage to his laboured sin
and there before those golden gates
hunched and hooded sat the crone

at his gaolers whithered feet sat
a basket covered by a silken cloth
patterned dripped with blood spat
in match of those upon his cheek

the sultan lies within she said
as the magic fell out from the lamb
released - ali fell unto the ground
there wept...

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the muslim's tale ix

weariness sweeter than smiles
we live each breath exhaled
measure progress not in miles
but by the will of next taken step

the roaring gale of the senses
is focused to the little sail tacking
to the doldrum of dreams catching
us hopeful of desired memoried rest

to the beating drum of bone
ali plodded ever forward and up
for who would take this bed of blood
enslaved by curse to chain...

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the muslim's tale viii

abandoned now upon the rack
yoked as a slave to the flesh
inshallah he hears a hundred times
cain's mark he bears upon his head

in the lower forest of the climb
where man does not clear nor farm
a narrow track threads the groves
of shadows without near or far

and here to ali's great dismay
a feasting tiger bars the path
half hidden by the shafting rays
and the weighty buffalo carcas...

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the muslim's tale vii

how happy is the man who hears
his spirit rich with meccan glow
above him hawks to show the path
from filth to purity made whole

just one diamond he takes at first
ali always cautious as the crow
he well has time full measure to make
and does not fear the unseen blow

ten miles along he meets a crone
of skeleton shrunk and whithered in
to make twice wrinkled of her skin
her eyes as d...

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the muslim's tale vi

thrice the sun slides oe'r the noon
hawk-tail's catch uplifting drafts
widow's weep and mother's groan
for haunting death bestrides this road

his belly nags for want of alms
ali's knife stays out of sight
the pointed tip no longer picks
the diamonds of the cockled heart

crunched shut eyes he rocks and prays
for just two more - just two - oh lord -
to make redemption touching true

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the muslim's tale v

past the dark hours - ali lay in bed
the cords of lotvia's music stinging
when first one hawk and then the next
petrified him to the spine by speaking

ali most faithful of all men said the first
sinful guilt has struck you foolish
do not hide my charity in that cave
I command you use it to it's fullest

most cursed of all men says it's neighbour
your servants serve you dutifully

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last night while he slept
I went to him
to kiss the bruise on his chin

he deeply sighed
but did not wake

in the lapping light from the hall
he reminds me of my father

just as I
close the door
so will he

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the muslim's tale iv

ali took his loot to a hidden cave
dark and thin as is a womb
by strangled candlelight he'd count
ninety-eight diamonds in the gloom

then he'd wait the clouded moon
to cloak him as he slipped for home
to mince the mice caught in traps
to feed his hawks - while he ate scraps

ninety-eight diamonds bought in blood
each the human race destroyed
yet still he must salute the judge
and sti...

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the muslim's tale iii

tangential to the noted path of venus' plane
descend we must sage scented mists
to the warmer lands of floods and rains
where by turning of the wheel all men live

here the tiger spikes it's claws to flints
against the reigning tree of shade
and the laden donkey mocks
the boasts to hard-loins some men make

and here is poor ali - a woeful man
made cobbled life now tongue bereft
and hee...

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the muslim's tale ii

above his door this message he proclaimed
'without history told true - only law remains'
thus no judge made he between shia and sunni
nor of hadith for he knew allah perfect he

let the heavens in their spirits move
in aged remembrance twice removed
still we hear that song of spheres
ungranted youth devoid of tears

let sorrow flow from cherished books
to the false faith so proud be dam...

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the muslim's tale i

in the time of our grandfathers
high in the hills beyond the clouds
the air so pure no trumpet sounds
deceiving whispers found no ear

this house co-eternal like the book
played host to ghengis who drew near
tamerlane piled no skulls for fear
of the bees of heaven living here

and the old man of the mountain
wise beyond the imams of baghdad
each stone he knew as a father
so old he mar...

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into the woods - prologue

and at that time and in that place
where shadows of the elm laid trace
we gathered there for debate
of matters small and matters great

first to arrive and tucked up tight
came a maid of whom moonlight
never swept across her form
by way of curtain lust swift drawn
though fair of face she held a pallor
her cheeks they had a tint of sallow
yellowness where flush might be
though in advanc...

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into the woods iv

final came the wrath of the lord
in instrument stout tory sword
material of hammered beryl
formal amazon made polecat feral
by efficient harpie's screams
you'll all agree or so it seems
perfect aristotle's four causes
of why she bought no roses
to decorate the family font
but swam across the hellespont
to the catholic and the universal
for she could make no reversal
on doctrinal points...

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into the woods 3

let critics with their salty hands
bemoan and plague this plate of fruit
what care the fauns of these lands
of meter rhymes and rules laid suit
when those without divine intent
who plod out words with their pen
in cryptic verse of modern bent
demand these laws return again

pass the wine and join the dance
beat out the drum for here we dance
and if the plodders choose to prance
smile f...

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into the woods 2

perfumed pines did sweetly smell
as velvet night enclosed and fell
the waning moon revealing curve
as one by one the stars above
betook their place in constellation
to hold counsel of our conversation
as we looked across those grassy marshes
settling into peace and darkness
at the horizon touched by the sun
the crashing sea but as a hum
as constant as the flow of blood
in an ear when to...

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samantha stripped off today
in the middle of the afternoon
she announced she'd had enough
rolled back her chair
and with brazen disregard for the dress code
- unveiled

neatly folded her garments
sat down
tuned in
and data mined

obviously she kept her shoes on
the office carpet is filthy

I'm told production rose two per cent
with brian increasing output most
- he sits oppo...

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into the woods

and at that time and in that place
where shadows of the elm laid trace
we gathered there for debate
of matters small and matters great

first to arrive and tucked up tight
came a maid of whom moonlight
never swept across her form
by way of curtain lust swift drawn
though fair of face she held a pallor
her cheeks they had a tint of sallow
yellowness where flush might be
though in advanc...

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the best of all possible worlds

who do you most admire in history?

if you could time travel and kill a single person for the benefit of humanity, who would it be?

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fake lilacs on the window turn
as we enter this space called room

in all possibility we could stretch out
beyond the window and fly

merge around the faded pink leaves
of silk to that that lies within

but we are already there and need not
defined space from which to begin

only in the pardon of excuse
when from politeness we take form

in concrete plasticity moulded
by fridays an...

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opening night

sometime between -
when a careless arm might still find
coolness in a sheet -

she fancies phantoms -

but opening an eye
- to the width of half a lash -
nothing could be seen
- down rolls lid upon exhale

for her athletic feet
- the chemist - whom she had known
since still a girl in hoops -
made a preparation of lavender
which always smelt her bed distinct
in perfumed combination ...

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for Ashraf Fayadh


but what of god?
the magi and the zealots pause
shocked to hear that word
those three letters
which when reversed makes curs of both

and both swell their breast
for there is no answer
neither through the magic of the vessel
or the certain rejection of the air

but god is not the subject here


how quiet the space of the cell
walled in by the cries of others

and how sol...

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the histories - after herodotus

and I shall relate what I have heard
from those who have been to that place
and attended to the affairs of retail
with those tribes of dog-faced men
who live upon that northern island

for the sea that divides them from the civilized world
is not wide, and may be forded by a giant at waist height
the division being marked bythe milk white thighs
of a local creation goddess, called Coco, w...

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they who wait - who sit outside
do not know the weight
of that, which lifts a lark in summer
.... and so it was with him

show me on the stones
show me the scrape of digestion
in the belly of the dragon
show me in the burst'd bubble of the brook

feed me words antique
feathered in the patina of age
and stained with the grease of a thousand thumbs

for I can see it in the reflected ey...

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Taking Tea with Dawkins

yesterday dawkins mjr called for tea
and after licking the cream - but leaving the jam - from a viennese finger
he began to lecture me about my view of god

for some known/unknown reason he began leafing through the bible
quoting passages about shellfish witches and frillies on men
and he seemed very taken with the semi-attempted killing of isaac

I took the opportunity - during his lectur...

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The Fourth Magi

in lilac skies the star still shines
shimmers in time with the sage brush fire
twice I've heard the wind recite 'turn back'

the turning silver upon the anvil dome
burnished smooth and beaten out
but the more I watch my craftsman's hands
the more ennui chokes my throat
so full as desert carried storms
deep as a foot breaking marshy mirror
or that hope when cresting through the pass
to b...

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