Sestina I: THE KEEPERS OF DENIAL

Was it just another save?

Another imprint on the end of the defence?

Silence in the anti-spectrum of the shot?

Pink and purple tattooed the open-ended face

proudly substituted for the first mask,

blotting out the condescension of a goal.

 

Not that we ever pondered on a goal,

for we condescended just as much with a save.

Not that you would have seen the eyes in the flesh of mask;

I reckon our own defence –

those privy to their partners’ open-ended face –

would be hard-pressed to see the squint behind a black-eye-candy-coated shot.

 

Broken cheek? A battle scar for which we thanked a shot.

Still you wouldn’t know a save for a goal

on whatever canvass wrapped our face.

No elation notified the cheap seats of a save

and no beauty greeted the defeated defence,

beat and bailed out by the cheek bone of a mask.

 

Our chins and jaws were like nuts saved to cash in for a nutcracker. See, the mask

embodied many parts securing an inevitable parting shot.

The most poetic constitution couldn’t author a defence

against the crime of a back-breaking goal.

No spine remained to sport on any subsequent save;

by then, a saved puck didn’t save face.

 

Circumstantial artistry defined the degrees to which we chose to face

the so-called facts.  Some have said a mask

wasn’t donned to save

our senses from a spiteful shot

but to make generic the reaction to a goal.

Some wondered, are we nursing team or psychological defence?

 

Colour any black and white system of defence

you tend to lean to after going face-to-face

with the physical salvation of a goal

and the alternative.  How many would decline a mask

when the alternative is the despondent draft from a shot

snuffing out the stoic glory of what’s never just another save?

 

Maybe my retirement will render the dimensions of defence relative behind the mask.

But retirement will not quell the need to bear my face in the presence of another shot:

frozen rubber set aflame by the friction of a goal against a save.

(Cover art: In The Crease by Ken Danby)

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(Newly-discovered scrap from 2017)

The doorway to the known is open
now that history is back
Probe the book for what was spoken
to implore the seal to crack

Some fool revived a maverick chapter
Gave it breath on backward tongues
Now the ladder of progression
hunches hurt with broken rungs

Already history is preening
Rockin’ round the doomsday clock
Rhetoric the plague apparent
sickens when the wrong men talk

In evolution bathed tomorrow
with the soap of driven youth
Principles of hope unseated
platitudes as hubs of truth

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HAMLET

Anthropomorphic
easily (and oddly
coherently) enraptures
the taste buds
with phonetic evocations
of cashmere
in the amphitheaters of
magnetic teeth

Melodic syllables
chaperone the exclusivity
of God and Darwin’s
Dueling Duo Century Club

And how rational
the rubber dolphin enthrallment
becomes there

Riding them
and the rubber
in the jubilee
of wet summers
and in cartoons absurding
the premise of a carnal
cleanliness and freshly trimmed
private parts

A human struggles to attune
to animal affiliations
in reprieve from the green
supervisions of Disney and Orwell

Humans have hearts
where and when
all the other animals have clocks

Only one exception
watered down to a manageable
caricature

Sometimes it is easier
and more rational
more coherent even
to annul the vows of poison
for the virgin ivy’s labial embrace

Maybe something else talks
Maybe then the human grows

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THE HEIGHTENING

Grimy lenses
and frosted glass
have me contemplating
the aesthetics of a spectre

Somewhere on the way
to the ignition of the mental process
the LED inside the ball
undergoes a sort of spiritual
conversion
that I barge in on
with my pen and my poetic prims
like a headmaster’s grandson

I can’t untangle the connotation
and the conundrum
I deal in the diction of the heightened
and as a spiteful short man
it deals with me
for it’s only in this world
that my pull of presence seizes
a latch

Opaque
on opaque
is as far from a cliché
as the Vatican library
when it comes to where I grasp
authentic comprehensions
of ghosts unfulfilled

My analysis
is immortal

And this spontaneous grime
is not to be denied its own
harmonic convergence

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POST-ROTARY LULLABY

Silly but innocuous

maybe even obvious of me

to tell her blue

was my choice

colour of cat

(Those overcast days

of moist sidewalks

and teal sky saliva

vivify the whimsy in me)

It made her laugh

and I was happy to be known

then vindicated

when a ray of margarine yellow

on apparent cue

punctured the meringue above

cupped an eyeball of mine

like a fish hook

and prodded my entire head

to register a house

sporting navy-royal rooftop

shingles on a road

we often traveled

in conclusion to

the Rotary traverse

It had to be a fresh roof

or at least

freshly relevant

to the compendium

of our eclectic verbal scores

played out on this route

Whatever the criteria

it nursed to health

my hitherto-comedic melancholy

over non-existent naturally

blue cats

Only a triumphant solidity

of blue above could pad

this slice of juvenelia

with further yeast

but I end it as I ended

the walk

happy that I made her laugh

and whole in the encompassing

of teal and yellow

in the elemental suburbs

of my grounding hub

 

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HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?

He is seasoned in turning

vendettas into trophies

like an old outbreak

respawned and impervious

to the patronization of relevance

 

Rummaging through a swollen

rolodex of dog-eared wings

there are always updates

and decisions to assess

for the wind is the voice

of an ally and the cloth

of an emperor’s conscience

 

The pacemaker of his clout

enables a pulse engineering

his imperative train through

the arteries suturing the ever-expanding

outposts of his aqueous elucidation

 

He is coming for amalgamation

He aspires to usurp the mainframe

 

Allegations shall rescind

into most statues speckling

the zones in which he has acquired

and absorbed both sides

 

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