The pungent smell of tar sends me back
To summer days spent wending my time away
Spraying tar on the M62.
As dandelions parodied the gaudy sun
And the pebbles in my pants
Were reserved for having fun by skimming water.
In the dark church heavy incense
Melds with the body odour of the priest
Sweating for his immortal soul
While mixing an amorous alcoholic liquid on the altar.
Did I dream the frozen moment when I pushed at the heavy door
And stared down the nave towards the altar
Admiring the immutable calm of the white burning candles?
O mummified unwindings of a past that could not last
Like a dark, tepid river, fear begins to snake through the empty spaces,
Where all the souls of all the girls and boys coagulate
To stretch the nothingness of not-knowing way past infinity
The unguent messes of the priest’s eyes
Closed in unctuous supplication
But no body listens to the wind
Though the insensibility of stones is a staging post
On the road to unfenced existence.