Saturday, 27 April 2013

Joanne Elizabeth

published in Forward Poetry Near & Far anthology October 2012

Joanne Elizabeth waits.

Beneath a powder blasted
cornflower welkin,
washed by a summer zephyr’s
saline kiss,
she waits.

Atop her rubber footed
iron bed,
on the sand and pebbles
amidst the tidal spume
and detritus
she watches.

A brusque, oily breathed
airborne flotilla,
the sky's very own
flotsam and jetsam,
gyre and gripe
and tarry.

The ocean
is ready now
as garrulous salvos wuther
up peaks and troughs,
and churn the beryl
into muddy soup.

And now there are men,
in a flurry
of flavous oilskins,
who rough house
Joanne Elizabeth
stolidly asea.

Edged mindfully into
the grubby moil
she bucks atop
each tumbling crest
and turns her back
on Neptunes cache

Those brine zested swabs
set fair to the wind
and pitch her alee
once more through the surge
but Joanne Elizabeth
testily abjures

Rebuffed , repulsed
and firmly aground
the mariners surrender
their petulant mount
and humbly drudge

They stand
forbearingly in the face of
a caustic mizzle
steadfast  gaze
a  good league distant

No fish today

Friday, 19 April 2013


god said “there’s a bone in my soup”
and spat it out

and for many years it crawled
before it learned to stand

and it said “I will make you now a fresh bowl,
from my family’s blood”

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


seen through the columns of rising smoke
the intention couldn't be clearer

while the tattooed roads wear the organic stains
as footholds for a memory of fallen phosphor rain

yet more caustic the harvest we reap
from the drone grown crone wept bones
even as the stone groves grow over the dead hope of
the pebble eyed children in their dreamless sleep

suffer the children our selfish gains
our bloody games

always the children


each night I sleep
entwined in the comfortable branches
of a mossy oak
by day I play
among the lissom saplings
and wonder
how far I might still bend

Sunday, 14 April 2013

mild frenzy

they lined up
in their smart suits and executive hair
outside the foundation stone
of a nations ruin ready to eulogise
to heap praise upon a legacy
of division

the traffic slowed
and the tempers frayed in a burg
where there is never enough
most had left by 8PM
save one expecting maybe
a ghost?

returning at the earliest light
most had moved into town
I popped my head inside a truck and said
"she's still dead you know"
one yet remains
awaiting the stone to roll back

my wife, the daughter of a miner,
council bread and margarine raised,
nods, obligingly, at the checkout
as she scans the customers cloying praise
"its nice about the flowers isn’t it"
yes” she replies “they look great on my fireplace

she reads people writing
the miners were greedy and she spits
"tell that to those with emphysema,
white knuckle and crippled joints
go stand by the graves of the hundreds that died
better still come here and say it to my face"

revolution runs better on stolen gasoline

every curtain will be stolen from
each grain of dirt will raise
it’s raucous voice above
and over manners

while atoms bond
air will ignite for
blood is fuel enough
as gravity exists
believable in it’s force

secure each ideal
under fire from
truthful lies repeated
within freedom’s
monopoly of slaves

these days shall soon decay
and time shall re-cast
the farce of history
lest we stand...

light-up and run

© Paul Sands 2013

i’m working dammit

on the promise of a viscous promiscuity
I would normally shoot first, clean the mess later, ensure no witness survives
in the middleweek each slatternly evening should be bedded early

recently, though, the inclination of a night is to drink
right! right! right!
read and write and write and ride a hundred of your dirty looks
in an all night steaming just to thumb fuck the irresistible where
god granted good sense is disavowed

christ my mind tonight where hasn’t it been
a  rattling mess
from the petty penury of the millennium’s silent bells
through a razored grift of oyster shells
via  packet steamed voyage that will never be

and I’m screaming
“why can’t you be my Yoko, passionista,
intravenous burned brown celluloid injector
crowning, howling, screaming blood-letter
leech wife barfly spittle shined philosopher

instead there waits a world to be shared
by just her and me
wings clipped by vows and golden bands
buried under the demands of continence

the peripatetic spur sundered
marrow spoon hollowed and forsaken in the soured grass
where lost co-ordinates of days of grace and grand escapes
offer no cue for slagged ambulant dreams
laid to rest in choked and over worked seams

disappointment is spread so thickly over the sailcloth of expectations
while deep within these tubes lies a germ of posterity
and its beetle glinting crawlspace
spits an imagined this


change the frequency, your smoke is staining my ears


remain though the matter of my subject
you and your forced finger self-inflicted wounds
if my words don't flow the knives come out
my hands may form a loving fist for the needful dough

I could carve a new you and I have just the tool

but she, already dead, chides
“count your breaths, count your blessings”

which begs me to ask is there too much on the page?
while the dead are still singing the wind must always
beg caution

how much attention does this whore seek?
fracked and sluiced to the point of release
where every kind of juice spills
from pores palm greased
with the patina of slovenly verse
paupered by the diminished returns
of a creased core

what is the call?

I stay, a frog in a pan, of course
warning  shy of every hopeful morning
and in a' very short space of wine'
it will be love again

a visit

I went to visit my mother this morning
and ask her if she had any ideas
at first I couldn’t find her amidst the rows of pheasants calling
the timber testaments swayed & shivered bare
each quondam cortex as crisp as the next

so there I sat awaiting a warmer air

once found though she had nothing to offer
and I gave nothing back
save anger
at the appearance of a mis-dated plaque

far better then to merely watch

four spot shadows along the foundations of the stream
mimic skaters spinning a springtime dream
and a passing frog paused with a question in his throat
so I took out my pen and paper that I might write notes

his words weren’t for me either

Sunday, 7 April 2013

what crisis?

nowadays they have to pinch the ends
of their cigarettes before they cross the threshold
no longer allowed to herd the crumbling swarms
of ash across the gingham veldt

outside the window, on the pavement,  lies a bible
and the radio declares their readiness is high
seems like a good night to let the smokers
in and warm around a last embered light

on the table I browse the “priest“ they called him
in the centrefold, deep in the heart, a flyer,
man’s journey into christ,
I guess we’ll find out soon enough the veracity of the divine

but until the young-un and the white horse riders
have decided who can piss the highest
leave us to the daily diary and its tales of
days of fucking each other’s husbands and wives

I bought a Dylan Thomas book one the way home,
from the junk shop,
when I got it back I saw blood on the back cover
I licked my finger to wipe it off but she said “no! you fool“
sure it carried the plague of some cursed lover
I plagiarise myself

a drink is most definitely in order
the tawny coolness tock tick toxic keen as the
sharpest dissection
and then you can find me not just like everybody else but just like
everybody else lying hemi-hydrate below the bridled tension
of life’s meniscus