shall i



i. standing drinking-in quiet wet afternoon

ii. loose leaf gold bond

iii. I have stepped on

iv. The Ghost Dancers

v. at the joint corners of my fucking eyes

vi. the fox

vii. her vast grass heat

standing drinking-in quiet wet afternoon:

standing drinking-in quiet wet afternoon
a cigarette struggling between courgette fingers
more and more and maw to mourn in her
, the wicker coffin lays 
the azure flowers down  
fishbowled in sleek black limousine

houndstooth flooring 
slick with limoncello dreams
of bunting pinned
into cardboard gallery walls

a first love of many walks laconically,
waiting to be seen and involved, further,
absolved of a foreign headache

wakeful bashful broad-minded flowers nod confusedly
small yellow pups with pollen on their muzzles
pointing at each other out of haste
and fear
and too much iced tea
infused by Oklahoman sunshine
and nothing else.

the dog lost itself under the barn
of her shoulder bandage
she's in the pocket of my double-wide trailer,
leaning-to in the plastic rain-sheeting blues

fleeting butterfly wingtip all spangled banner
and purple and new and untuned and hemless

cotton-soft push past unruly queue function
you see a tiny parapet and walk
on the concrete balustrade
gingerly, sipping another sun tea with far too much lemon
wincing, getting bittenkissed ferociously 
by passing breeze and bottle-rocket spasms

left arm

calling-card left on table all embossed
in gothic lettering
brown-blue and pickled walnut down
washed in brine for 48 hours
and patted down before broiling 
on breakfast food interior sleep roadhouse 
selfishly stopping after only 33 hours on the road
in the bathroom the walls sing an off-key pink


another shower-head saunters through a barely-open door
and hums in green
a chorus from Appalachia
whose lyrics are far too sad for an evening of tenderness 
popping, as it would, like the thin membrane of a street-peddler's balloon
becoming nothing more than crude outline seething


I am standing, drinking in quiet wet afternoon
with more and more and more to mourn
my mouth and ears and feet and horn
fishbowled in that selfsame limousine.

loose leaf gold bond:

loose leaf gold bond
barter pocket kaftan barter
seminole walking slowly backwards
suffering mighty dive-bar homes
wincing into upturned crate
meddling with daughter's heir

flouncing left-wrist-wise on
parquet flooring bounce bounce bounce
wood-idol relief stood indoor shrine
making strafe-pattern baby mobiles
small buttons and dummy bullets

emoji supplicants lining the lino-clad hallway
75 at a 75 at a 75 at a time
in the queue for ice cream and a 
shot of magazine syrup
spilled over trilby brim 
wound around fedora conch
blown inwardly into responsible spikes

what daisy chain drives forth my bike!
elbow puddlings car-windscreen donuts
wiping sugar all over the window crank
she's fumbling with the cassette again
(there's cases all over the footwell) 

throaty limelight fantasies in lime-green dresses swing
in low walls and small perching plastic birds 
with bases for teeth
in-line bills and
drag-racing feathers screeching
burned fluff on tarmac runway 
fucked behind the diner on a thin stem
baking eggs too tiny for strong gusts
cats patrolling base of trunk with leaves all purring and sweaty
looking up and down for nodules 
fixing nitrogen to unearthly beauty 
waving it's chin and howling like an engaged pig
down a wishing well full of paper dollars and children's vacancies

working all that much harder to solicit a bribe 
into taking a course of action that might lead to a safe destination
might mean that the kid slugs air long enough to see the parents drop
might even help to slip them under if the pillows in the nursing home are dense enough 
to block the wrinkled airways while ambivalent siblings post live-stream feeds to Instagram
of gently kicking feet and thin lines of spew falling over Christian-looking bed-linen 
and smart watched all synced to death-alarm party apps with digital reminiscences of tinsel and confetti 
and bushels of dredged pictures all out of era and sporadically marching into a new reality 
where fingers of fresh water push into the ocean to bring plastic fish and dead sea birds
into the living rooms and hearts and minds of the LBJ-Jeneration in and on and with screens
and screens and screens
and 75 at a time we jump into the freezing water
holding a plastic baby above our heads so that it might breathe 
while we go down
waiting for the scuba-lung we bought online to kick in
to 'auto' mode while the fat in our arteries coagulates into the shape of the blue thumb's up
and the light behind the plastic babe's eyes flickers in broken binary
announcing a brave new world.

I have stepped on:

I have stepped on
an almost silent rock.

So many times so, that this one
step seems simultaneously in and out of tune

with its slow, long moans


with the tree over head


when will the wind come?

Yawning, I confront a pile of penguin GOO,
wondering fruitedly if the strong branches might beckon the wind

to the rock

over which I have jumped 
to see its eyes
balled into dreaming fists of pure
Manitoban syrup

pounding hell out of Johhny Cakes in the corner of his cell.

Bathhouse John calmly sweeps the same corner again.

Just like yesterday

and yesterday 

and yesterday 

and yesterday

and tomorrow,

ice-pick ready for the birds,

who perch and listen to his low moans about the 
trees and the rocks and the wind, nibbling the dead skin around his toes and fingers


for a bite of bread and a spoon with which to gather some water from the nearby stream.

The racket from across the sun dims,
the stream-run pebbles deciding that it did not matter if the wind came
so long as the water table stayed upright upstream all night alright.

I have just crossed the stream,
stepping on one of the almost silent rocks.

'Watch it'.

The Ghost Dancers:

We are standing, knees together.

An officer inspects the screen of a confiscated phone:

it starts ringing.

In another tent


the landscape winks like a landline

and a cloak throws up two fistfuls of dirt.

We are dancing, knees together.

An elder punches another elder in the face

mistaking him for ash,

or my swollen bowl of ornamental cherries.

The confiscated phone keeps ringing.

We are walking, knees together.

A young man strikes out across a body of water,

his water and its body sloshing around on the other body of the other water.

They slosh in tandem, trying to find a rhythm that fits the sloshy mood.

He starts to feel queasy, starts licking the rough plaque on the back of his front teeth to distract himself.

A sesame seed is dislodged from its hibernation between two molars

and a pool opens up on the deck of his heart-shaped starship.

We are swimming, knees together.

A mother points into a crowd of covered faces,

her legs shake, making the pram she pushes wobble.

Her child does not yet know how to verbalise its feeling of dislocation or discomfort,

so it lashes out at the edges of the pram, fruitlessly.

The confiscated phone plays a different melody, working its way through a pantheon of pre-installed polkas, trots and gavottes.

It rests on a MIDI interpretation of a red cardinal's song. It is not all-the-way convincing, or convinced of its own aptitude.

We are running, knees together.

A white man stands with a placard which reads "LEAVE MY GHOSTS ALONE".

Another stands with one which reads "REMAIN WITH MY GHOSTS ... FOR NOW".

The two men wear similar clothing, and each has to stop himself from reaching out to the other with tensed finger tendons.

Neither know if it is blood lust or plain lust. 99 lust with a flake. Sliced loaf lust. Foam shrimp lust. 

Both men put their hands in the pockets to stop themselves from being tempted in either direction.

One grazes the edge of his testicle with a fingernail and his thoughts get all lumpy.

That way the devil lies, so I'll stay right here. This man is not for turning.

We are turning, knees together. 

One man in a blue hat is shaking a stick covered in beads.

He is pointing it towards a pointed building covered in scaffold and soot.

His phone now rings, but he ignores it. He does not recognise the number.

He looks at the screen for a moment too long and is punched in the face by the remains of a ghost.

It was languishing in a flag until he put it up up up upright. 

If only there was a pole.

We are swaying, knees together.

We dance, wounded knees wound together.

at the joint corners of my fucking eyes:

at the joint corners of my fucking eyes
a crossroad appears to form in frogs and red clay

the crossover point has been reached 
and more and more platinum leeches from the core

I feared it was a time before questions arose
about the flavo(u)r of American exceptionalism

British isolationism

or deep-EU aggression
pointed toward the centre of their lives

my mother will be rich if I die
there is a bounty on my head in the shape of a bond

a forgotten mass-digital graveyard
of subscription storage and streaming

it was the one chance I had to be the star
of my own John Wayne movie

quantified in bodies

flesh-eating turtles clean the perfume river,

the fox:

the fox

wears a satchel

full seam to seam

with love letters
the grass wrote
to the rain:

'come to me,
my love...

cover me'

the fox, out of love,
set her teeth
against the 
meddling wind

to earn meat
for four cubs
a cave away

her vast grass heat:

her vast grass heat
as seen on the 
bottom of grasshopper shoes

curled tiny toes
in front of everlasting

a deer whose
shaggy antlers

so full

more faith
in castanet fingers

so sad

her smock looks
back at the moon
for a nightly rent
heated by

her vast grass heat

another egg and city
stop merrily on the 
cloudburst horizon

with northerly pressing
into their bent backs

quarter mile
and half pig
carry satchels made
from the skins of friends
long dead

over the boiling hills
where rain sours
the ten foot grass

but not

her vast grass heat