Poetry

Grenfell 1
© Phil Cosker 2018

On the radio
A man said
The two young lovers’ bodies were infused by the fire
This is beyond my imagination
I have held my lover tight
Our bodies infused with delight
Infused with another fire
Not one of blight
The two young lovers died
There is no reason
There is no rhyme


 

Dream Number 1

© Phil Cosker 2018

A telephone bell rings. Is it in the hall? I don’t know. What hall? Where am I anyway? The bell is analogue. It’s still rings. Insistent. Hello, is anyone there? From the past? Everything is here. Timeless. Present. No. Prologue? Not in the hall. That was there. Then. This is here. Now. The room is familiar. Dining room? Unfamiliar. When? Impossible to tell. Vivid. Real. Colour. Vermillion. But faded. Someone is with me, someone known. Or am I alone? No, there’s someone else – a stranger. Intangible. Ephemeral. Solid. Not a ghost. Real. I lift the black Bakelite handset. Hello? Who is this? A voice whispers, incoherent, diving bell distant from beneath the sea. A place beyond. Beyond what? Somewhere unfathomable. Sonar bleeping. Echoes. What are you trying to say? Speak up! The stranger takes the handset from me and holds it high above his head. A voice booms. Deafening. A man. Bullhorn loud. Words. Unintelligible. Urgent. A ranting demagogue. Strident. An unintelligible football commentator screaming in delirium. Imperative. What do you want? The stranger, suddenly a looming Disney genii, evaporates with a bang puffed in smoke. They’re coming, the genii’s voice booms as he spirals into the night sky’s stars. Who? What for? You. Doom. Soon. A doorbell chimes. Nearby. Westminster rhymes. Far away. Where? Near. I open the front door. An elderly man, gallows white, stands shaking in a cold wind that blasts up the lane from over the cliff edge and the valley far below. His ragged Harris Tweed overcoat flaps towel cracking in the gale revealing blue and pink striped winceyette pyjama bottoms held up with a piece of string. His chest is a dense jungle of curly jet black hair. Unshaven, his metre length medusa dreadlocked beard whips and lashes all about him. He opens his mouth to speak. Nothing. Silence. What are you saying? His lips move. Slow motion. Becket spooling. Spool. Announcing. Silence. An elderly woman bursts out from the open flies of his flapping pyjama trousers. The wind whisks him away. Chaff. His scream fades. Or is it laughter? The woman is no more than four feet tall. Fiercely permed white hair. Brown eyes. Rouge. A fluffy caramel camel coloured poodle knitted coat reaching down to her tiny shiny brown court shoes. She smells of paper. Paper? A small white bristling barking dog scurries into the hall past the old woman. She slams the door behind her. The room shudders. The dog runs out through an open door onto a striped mown lawn joining other white dogs spinning barking running in a frantic whirlpool. I turn back into the room. Over my shoulder I see the dogs scampering on the sea-green blue grass before they vanish down into the spinning garden. Sonar bleeps. The door to the dining room bursts open. Another elderly woman, identical to the first, appears. Another small white barking bristling dog rockets out from between her feet into the pasture of sea where it stands whimpering, shifting from foot to foot, at the water’s edge. I turn back into the room. Another woman materialises identical to her predecessors. What do you want? No reply. She duplicates. Replicates. Now there are five. Smell. Paper? Ten. Paper? Fifteen. Paper? Multiplies. They are legion. Silent. Smiling. No air. No breath. Coats coalescing. Amalgamating. Cumulating. Purling one to another. Seamless. Becoming the living pulsing walls, floor and ceiling. The light is bright. There is no door. Smell. Paper? They chatter. Smell. Lavender? Overwhelming. They are the room. I am alone within them. Who are you? Their chatter, deafening. Sudden. Silence. Everything is gone. I am in an empty room. Silence. A telephone bell rings. In the hall? No. A GPO red telephone box. Where? Outdoors? I don’t know. The telephone bell rings. Strident. Insistent. I pick it up. Yes? You rang? What? You rang? What do you want? Who are you? Framed in the lattice work of the phone box door an old woman carrying a small white barking dog knocks on the glass. Will you be long? I need to call an ambulance? A telephone rings.

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In the Cyclades

In the Cyclades from taverna kitchens enticing smells elide swirl eddy in the breeze as dizzying as ancient history while bottles of beaded Retsina wait in fridges all along the waterfronts on the quays of the Aegean sea where white houses golden in the setting sun reside beside glistening deep blue cupolas of island churches while gardenia blossom intoxicates in the warm evening air seasoned by the salty tranquil swooning sea where harbours fish net stacked on blue and white wooden saint christened fishing boats while locals promenade to the white painted trees of ouzo bars while in tavernas checked plastic tablecloths elastic banded to tables cling in quayside squares where hungry cats scurry hunting for their nightly scraps amidst the feet of gin palace travellers who self-glorying preen as cats dance between their high heeled and deck shoed loafered feet to piped bouzouki melodies as two women at a table wait glittering gaudy their Gucci bags at their ankles sit as they kick their feet and shout skeet at the dancing cats as the women selfishly gorge upon their starters of little fish a single cat takes the lead and on gentle paddy paws purrs as he sprays piss upon a Gucci bag and casually sprays the second Gucci bag and sways aside as a second cat takes up the bouzouki beat and sprays the bags both once more to be sure the memory will linger long of an evening in the Cyclades.

© Phil Cosker 2018

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Vanishment
© Phil Cosker 2018

The torn raiment of lives
Worn lightly, well used
Invisible as silent myopic time
Not conscious
As in banishment
Instead mindless carelessness
Vanishment
The creeping unseen canker
Eating at the core
Of being entire
Made eunuch rams
And barren ewes
Lingering without pasture
Or the nurture of company
Bereft in high backed chairs
Amidst the piped muzak of care
For us in vanishment
Quietly avoiding
The embarrassment
Of being visible
We embrace ourselves
For lack of others’ arms
Love’s labours lost
We wait at idle leisure
For what they call passing
As if it were a game of footie
Or an exam to take
To rise victorious cum laude
Our own arthritic hands clasped
In pyrrhic triumph
Sitting in the waiting room of
Vanishment

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