Metamorphosis 

I’ve been writing this blog for quite some time now and have decided it’s time to broaden its scope. I am a fiction writer mostly and only write poetry and prose-poetry for a bit of ‘exercise’ when I’m not writing other stuff – novels and short fiction. I have written an adult literary novel which did the rounds of publishers but never made the cut. My latest effort is a young adult novel that is now under consideration (fingers crossed.) As a way of venturing into self-publishing and self-promotion (something I am not all cut out for) I thought I might publish some previously published short stories and perhaps some unpublished fiction (depending how brave/foolhardy I am. Hopefully you’ll find a moment to read the longer writing…

Dr Frankenstein

Daunted already
working in a dim predawn
light, he arranged then attached
body parts he’d secreted from countries

geographically
distant, politically strained, religiously opposed,
attempted the delicate knifescaping
of neural pathways (some cauterisation,

some re-routing and reforging)
and in an unanticipated twist
found so many negative
polarities, combined, formed

a primitive magnetism
that re-fired long dormant meridians
and sparked life. This

melded man lay
like a newborn kicking its legs
arms wide looking at him
not even a question

on its red lips.

About the end

I’m sure now, where once
I wasn’t, it ends
in some dark oblivion. Our
rubber universe is expanding and

when it snaps back in
on itself, outer limits meeting the centre,
like a windscreen insect,
nothing is more likely

than something. I imagined worlds
after this one, plane intersecting plane,
scoffing at heaven/
hell dichotomies,

dying dogmas. I even walked breathing twilights
wet and shining out of my body,
born again. But that now
s
eems too much to promise

myself waiting in my skin like an elephant
whose size and improbability
gives birth, in mind,
to ridiculous ideas of design.

 

A distant planet I once travelled to

When I came back I had
no language to tell of what I’d seen;
no one knew except a man who stood
arms outstretched

near my house, breathing. This
breathing man, unkempt,
bearded, dressed in the same clothes
every day, never spoke

of what he recognised in me, my
camouflage suit and tie,
secret planet orbiting above my head.
Many sadnesses live and die alone,

ruptures beneath the skin
like worlds you alone have seen
go unreported. Sometimes I sit
remembering the cliffs, but

it was many years ago. Others
have travelled there, I know,
seduced by siren beauty,
left with the mute ache

of having been.

The boats

There on the flat water
deep-housed things wait to swallow them,
the clean line of yesterday’s
horizon

having bled. This country
turns them back, the boats,
when they come sitting low in the water
with hope; pens push them

out to sea with rhetoric written for children —
stop the boats! stop the boats!
we stopped the boats!
— as if we’re stopping boats

not people. At Christmas Island
we watched the sickening water
take them — men, women, children —
white with horror; they litter

our shores these people,
their lives like splintered
wood. Tired Indonesian boats
will groan, give up,

slicking the water
with disgorged people,
the broken timber heedless, no
matter where we push them. If

not the women, the men, what if
the children moved us, their sparrow
chests, wings sodden —
what then?

Nothing will be right in the world again

Plumber comes one cold morning
to talk of moving our laundry if the
sewer’s in reach – don’t want to rely on
pumps and mechanical things he says,

then
clucking his tongue, equivocating,
drops news of a football coach
murdered by his son.

Next day,
papers are ablaze with
images of him chiselled strong
from stone but gone. I

cannot forget what
his daughter tells the press:
Nothing will be right in the world
again, she says.

Boy-and-dyke, we
galvanise pipes against
corrosion, insulate wires,
superstitiously give time in mind to

battle half-expected calamities
— metastasising cells,
treacherous blood hosting
unwanted foreign visitors,

le coeur en panne,
hours lost in doctors’ surgeries,
wearing hope like a homemade badge —
even as we butter toast, make

renovation plans. We house our dreams
like caterpillars hide wings,
imagining flight
set against a

horizon where the sun won’t stall
broken and fizzing one day
in all that lawless water, its
wires exposed.