A Spot of Poetry

In addition to my writings on music and film, I like to try my hand at expressing myself in poem form. The below represent three recent forays into the world of poetry.

What happened?

I was smart
I was voted “most likely to succeed”
What the fuck happened?
We stood at the top of the stairs
And saw more than a house below us
Expanses of people and ornaments
Milling like ants in our heads and eyes
And the magnolias in our secret garden
Became symbols of the decease
Gagging on an ocean of flocked wallpaper
And ducks never moving past our heads
Tripped on cotton above the ankles
We ran arms over the green and infertile lands
I was smart
I was voted “most likely to succeed”
What the fuck happened?
Autumn has come and won’t go away
Trees line up for the styx, thank god
Breath will crystallize and stop
Stretched through the quiet night
And the magnolias in our secret garden
Became symbols of the decease
I was smart
I was voted “most likely to succeed”
What the fuck happened?

With laudanum lips I kiss your brow
and pray for your silence.
I escape back into the ether
Which once was buoyant – infectious glow
Now is still, crisp like snow.
Creaking floors mask my desire
a rush of ice to keep the fire.

Have you ever been hit by a bat?
Me neither
But today’s sun felt like an atrocious blow
A stream of regret in every golden ray.
Sunglasses at the ready, that’s right.
Now run
Keep running
What happened matters no more

Concrete feels like sand underfoot
I could drop and kiss it
like a Pope on arrival
But who’d want this Pope?
I could preach as many sermons
Hold court over lives like ants
I would much to say, and much to deliver
A TRUTH, much needed
How to live all and any life

With saccharine teeth and inject my blood
And rush to rejoin the stampede
Familiar odours greet me like rancid old friends
I’m grateful for their stench
I’d like to hug every sewer and lick every piece
of unfinished food
I’d like to say “guess what? I’m still here!”
To that passing tramp or furrowed-brow suit man
To clasp his/her face and make it real
To laugh and cry that I lied

A racing rhino is kicking my eyes
And laughing all the way – the cunt!
But I am here in the daylight
Drying last night away
Soon there will be punishment
Regret and consequence like fucking stones
from a million Romans’ hands
But until that delicious crucifixion
All I can do is walk
And savour the pain.


The Follower

How can you not see him? He’s right over there!
He stands. Stares. Follows.
Follows more. And more.
More. More. Ever right fucking there.
Or is it a “she”? Doesn’t matter, because it’s always there.
Loping, smiling – evil rictus promising nothing
“There is nothing”. To see? To feel? Or at all?
As fog descends like granite.
I make dionysian promises
To kick him like the beast I once knew;
reverse the punishment – is this revenge?
No worries, a hand touches mine and I go blind
My eyes don’t hurt,
instead they fly
Feet like Mercury, Tadzio lips and eyes
Feel that, black follower, I can still enrapture myself!

But time is a splintered demon
Not willing to wait, it cajoles and brings Helios to my door.

And his dark hair falls in my face
His breath mine own, dank and heavy, pervasive.
A scream unheard rolls through my cramped room
I dive back into the cotton fields
Where he lopes beside -inside- me
Always his tongue lolling, his fuckfaced grin
His evil eyes
And whispers become a tornado
A chorus from “O Fortuna” – invading, submerging. Nelson’s furious fleet.
“Go, go – you have no place here!
And because you believe in nothing, not even Hades will open its door.
You’re fucked and screwed! Doomed and delighted. Enjoy”

So walking is all I can do.
A voice sings “Tecumseh Valley” in my room.
The black follower is at the foot of my bed. In the hall and beyond the walls.
Fare thee well, every one of you.
I might see you again.
(c) Joseph Burnett, September 2012

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