February – Bob Beagrie

029ss

Artwork and photographs by Jane Burn

 

 

Glimpse

A glance out of the nearside window
revealed waterlogged fields,
ancient undulations of a hillside
a wild copse of trees on the crest
and the outline of three horses
standing still against the white sky –
living monoliths fully occupying
their own space on earth, today
during a brief break in the weather,
catching my breathe with their silent
threefold blessing before the hedge rose
the carriageway curved and the road
swept me Northbound toward the Tyne.

054s

Holding Liquid No 2

My long liquid memory net
…………of the moon’s elk ghosts

clings like restless sighing shadows
…………of Baltic August back woods,

laid out as lake itself;
…………reflection in a working cause

beyond this slide island’s final full gaze,
…………grips known effects, holds

bridge sounds of sail boats
…………on reed waters, imprinting

tight correspondences
…………to summer’s shallows,

infinite masts sea cradle,
…………archipelago beds spread

through life, tree sibling-
…………tarot outcomes

043ss

Tumbleweed
(After Edward Hopper & Hart Crane)

Like her, we make our tentative calculations
Based on the wireless weather forecasts;
Rain on the window, bullets from tommy-guns
Fired in some vintage gangster movie.

For we can still feel the threads of family,
Of home, the drone of telegraph lines
Across the prairie and the trail of tears,
The wall clock ticks, the radiator hums

Through emptied caverns of bus stations
Close to midnight, this fugitive goumada
Sweetens her fifth espresso
And clocks the headlights in the lot.

Like her, we finger what’s left of the wad
To delay the doom of the inevitable burn –
The hammer’s click, the barrel’s swivel,
Crow calls through falling leaves,
The slice of a spade in soil.

And yet the quiet stillness of the automat,
The swirl of undissolved cream
Suspends, for now, the weight of Omertá,
Grief that comes with a game called vendetta.

Like her, who fidgets with her spoon,
Framed by the surge of a dark window
A highway of lamps leading away
We prepare to change one alias for next,
On a pulp novel quest through the wilderness.

037s

Measurements
(In Ullapool)

You lap the salt of Loch Broom
from wet fingers. It tastes like
the end of the world.

All the mountains
you’ve passed today still
thunder through your mind

like dominoes click-
clacking on the table top,
gulls squabbling over scraps.

As daylight swims out
toward the Summer Isles
& the dark crawls down

from the corries you calibrate
the properties of memories
of all your favourite places;

your instruments:
a finger of driftwood from the shore,
a flat white stone from a Pictish fort.

047s

Lavathian

Between mouthfuls of beetroot and carrot salad
she tells me how she takes each day as it comes,
and how this time last year she was at The Tate,
standing beside the suspended shark preserved
in a tank of formaldehyde, the piece that’s titled:
……………The Physical Impossibility of Death
……………In The Mind of Someone Living
by Damien Hirst (who she’s not overly keen on
to begin with), when she got the call on her phone
from the hospital; and how she thought, at first
it was about her Aunt, who she knew was poorly,
but was swallowed up in one leviathan gulp
when they told her it was her son laid upon
the table and they couldn’t wait to operate.

Everything Under The Sun

“Like a thief I crept and entered a house,
And it was my own home!” Rumi

The wave’s lip
……stammers
sips dry sand
kisses your toes
……swings back
beneath the wings
………………of sandpipers

the next gathers
it’s gift of dark distance
……………in a French fold
that……..breaks……apart
……….on the sandbank

It is a breathing
………..machine
……and…..sometimes
it’s the quiet…….voice
that penetrates the din
…..to enter the brain

Imagine the angel
(the best possible you)
terribly unleashed
from the tightrope
of survival
with fuck all to lose
or gain

Try counting the swells
and your numbers
…………..will sink to roll
……rub and grind
away their edges
…………as sand grains

realising the innumerable
you
…..on dry land
you
…..the gathering swell
you
…..the synchronised flock
..of sandpipers
you
…..the wind
………in their feathers
..the vast breathing
machine
..the balanced wave
you
…..the crash……the bubble,
the sound of the first number
held in the curl
…………………….of a breaker.

Super-Awol

“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.”………………..Jean Paul Sartre

Don’t ask me where on Earth I was when
the planes speared the towers and the titans toppled,
spilling bodies like ticker tape across the streets;
cos I wasn’t anywhere on your world that day.
My cape wasn’t stuffed in the dirty laundry basket
in Clark’s tiny, fourth floor apartment. I wasn’t
curled up in bed with Lois’s fingers tracing
the curves of my steel hard pecs. No, and I wasn’t
chilling in ice cold, hiber-meditation in the replica
of Krypton up by the North Pole. Just for once,
Old Lex didn’t have me out-smarted, calling me
a dum-assed redneck and making me rush headlong
(faster than a speeding bullet, mind) straight into
a secret, subterranean vault lined with glowing
green stones knicked from my Dad’s garden rockery
by a gang of bored, disaffected youths, the night
before the shit hit the fan back home. Truth is,
I had a crisis of conscience, (who wouldn’t?)
playing Guardian Angel day in, day out;
at the beck and call of every Tom, Dick and Perry
just cos they’ve got themselves in a pickle
not looking where they’re s’posed to be going,
speeding, not reading the warning signs
for the bridge that’s down or even checking
the instructions on their freaking food labels,
taking too much of this, talking too much of that,
all wanting the next bright new thing, and that’s
before the right messed-up-motherfuckers,
who’ve been handed a sharp chip from a cross
to bear on their shoulders, start seeking some
means to redress the balance of inequality,
poverty and generational oppression and reaping
a series of masterminded acts of hideous revenge.
When everyone’s claiming a lead vest of victimhood
It’s difficult to know where to look. Don’t say
my attachments decreased with knowledge,
but God – those glorious years of unquestioned sides,
the bright red, white and blue of it all; but
even a redneck-raised blue-eyed boy like m
from Smallville, whose never been into history
could see that The Terror was back on the cards.
The continued contact was making me feel dirty,
y’know the kind of grime that don’t wash off?
I needed space, so I took some Time Out,
cut loose with comets, surfed across Andromeda,
crashed out in a black hole, sprayed my tag
on The Universal Wall. And now they’re all gazing
at the big blue yonder watching, waiting,
with the old cleche balanced on their tongues,
‘Is it a bird? Is it a plane?‘ ‘fraid so!
If only you could hear these stars sing
you might begin to understand. I’m sure
I’ll be back, someday, but in the meantime
let all the other heroes rescue stranded kittens
from your topiaried trees. Give a guy a break!
You can’t live your life presuming I’m
always gonna be there to save your sorry ass.

When a Sound Pretends to Kick a Bucket

The bend pretending to be straighter than ever it was
The Cheshire moon’s bluff at an imbecilic smile
The tarmac appearing to be dryer than it should
The pub, settling into sleep, some three miles back
Had fallen head-over-heels with the old canal lock
The trees spanning the route a threadbare tunnel
The curve in the road snuggling for comfort into a rise
The verge a split lip, the fence the baleen of a whale
The tyres four burning war pigs, the gully a throat
The car a tumbling tinker toy, the footwell the ceiling
The blizzard of glass, the stars the sparkle of frost,
The bell of silence the sound after the world forgot,
The driver a floating foetus suspended in a seatbelt
Moments past and those to come seeping into soil
Clogging worm holes, passageways of blind moles:
The boy building sandcastles, the bite of a dog
Crude doodles scratched into an old school desk,
The awkward mistakes of the first day on the job
The one night stand that slipped into a marraige
Tears at a birth, promises, mortgages, orgasms
Arguments, apologies, a few pints out with the lads
Sunburn blisters in Prestatyn, snowmen in the park
Picnics, tail-backs, barbeques, break-downs
Her face, up close, till her eyes swim and merge
Fiery clouds over the dark spots of the Hebrides
The one eyed tiger that prowls his fever dreams,
The mind disrobing before the gates, disembarking
Passengers after a once-in-a-lifetime cruise,
The field the flood once the great whale has sunk
And something not pretending to be anything it’s not
Just loitering with intent to reach out and touch.

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