Posts for ‘Poems’

                    On Edge

‘Don’t burn for it,’
Said Mr Snood.
‘You yearn for it
And it’s no good.’

The T is square,
The X is rayed,
And I don’t care
What William made.

The winds of change
Blow hot and cold.
Beyond their range
The nights unfold.

The long-lost days
Of summer spent
In little ways
Of discontent.

But Mr Snood
Can turn a trick
That’s nice or lewd.
Or cold. Or quick.


Words are like footsteps 
                            in the dark.

Nothing before but silence.

Nothing behind but echoes.


Now is a point
   in space time.
Any point.
If you’re there
   that’s now.
What are you, though?
And what’s a point
   but an abstraction?
Is there any point?
If there’s no point,
   where are you?
 Now is
   where you are
   and the difference
   between the agent
   and the observer
   the living
   and the dead.
 You and this
   is now.


Look, this is a stupid situation.
I can’t sleep.  She can’t sleep.
Well, I could sleep maybe, if she’d let me.
Problem is I snore.  Well, she says I snore.
And I believe her.  I mostly believe her. 
Sometimes I hear myself snoring. 
Except that if I can hear myself,
I can’t be asleep.  And if I’m awake,
I’m not entirely sure that it can be counted
as snoring.  Can it?  Anyway,
the situation is this.  I start to drift off,
I start to float through that penumbral world
where you see things that don’t exist
and I start to snore.  That wakes her up.
So then she wakes me up.  “Stop snoring!”
she says.  And then we lie there.
She’s too tense to go to sleep because
she’s waiting for me to start snoring again
and I can’t go to sleep because I’m worried
that I’ll snore and wake her up. 
Even though she isn’t asleep.  But
she wants to be.  Of course.  We both do. 
And the trouble is that if only she’d let me
snore for a while, for maybe no more
than a minute or two I’d pass right through
that semi-conscious state and drift into
the nothing on the other side. And I’d stop. 
But I can’t tell her that. Snoring
is one of those things that nobody
has a right to.  You’re allowed it if
you can get away with it but not otherwise.
I mean, if we were both asleep and I was snoring,
who would care?  Although, maybe it wouldn’t
be snoring if nobody could hear it.  It’s like
that tree in the forest that doesn’t make
a sound.  At least, it doesn’t make a sound
in my half-asleep world.  Not that there are
many trees there.  It’s mostly buildings.
Mostly I feel like I’m floating along, as if
I’m driving in a convertible with the top back
and the sky is soft blue-grey, like down,
and I’m looking up at the buildings drifting past
on either side.  There are houses sometimes, brick
with red tiled roofs and little wooden window  boxes
full of flowers.  And there are office blocks
and churches.  And I only get a glimpse of them.
I’m only there for a second.  Because if I say
to myself, ‘Ah, yes, I’m here again’, it wakes me up and if
I don’t, I go to sleep and it all disappears.  Although,
maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s me that disappears.
Maybe there’s a real world there on the other side of being
awake, a world full of life and energy and goings-on,
a world in which I don’t exist.  Although I glimpse it
sometimes through that hole in time and space
before the dark comes down and I wonder if,
for a moment, in that moment, I am there
and visible to the people in those streets,
an apparition hovering for a second
on the cusp of life.  Do I frighten them? 
Or do they know I’m just a phantom
passing through?

First published in Voyagers, edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones. I’ve included it here on Emma’s suggestion. See comment on A Dream.


Here I am
          I see
          I hear
          I smell
          I touch
          I taste.

 There you are
           I see you
           I hear you
           I smell you
           I touch you
           I taste you

 Words are our begetting
           to be
           to get

       I get you
          You get me

       I am you
          You are me.


27 February, 1993