Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Overhearing a Conversation in The Flowerpots, Cheriton

There was a power cut in the pub last night. All light but the fire's glow went
Out, and in the discontinuance, I mumbled, murmured, "Winter of Discontent",
"The 70s" and "Jeremy Corbyn", to parody the two men at
The next table, who, up until this outage, had been enjoying a chat
About the economy, each affirming the other's assertions that
All employees in the public sector are over-pensioned, indolent
And unprofitable. No one knew me well, and, excepting the fire, this veil meant
I could beard, and would satirise, bold enough not to belie the charming
Ale, as I am loath to misrepresent the pleasure I get from drinking,
With these barely-barbed rhubarbs, without fear of someone identifying
The source. Peripety-lumen, propelling the dark forward to foment
Uneasiness and consternation, my presence murmured darker yet, excrescent.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Adopted Road

They pick at my cuff and pull a wiper from my car's tonsure,
Atrabiliar and surly, they explore me with censure.
Reason falls short, favours the non-subtle extrapolation—
To those not open to the concept of appropriation,
Someone who wears an army jacket must be in the army,
Or an impostor; and the part of the road that happens to be
Outside their house, is their own, by camber and corollary,
Not for the common; and thus they seize, when they do not get me,
Onto the cuffs, the sleeves and collar of my camouflaged smocks,
Uncomprehending of incongruous fatigues, orthodox
Of war, being worn on the school run; and when my car is parked
Outside, they act up, at dawn, undisturbed at dawn, foreheads marked
With entitlement, and they make my windscreen wiper acute.
Peaceable in isolation, I would merely institute
A basis for enlightenment, a parable to digest:
I started to help him dig his car from the snow, but left the rest
For him to disperse, alone, after he mused tentatively
That I had sound practical reasons, other than charity,
To aid; he could not puzzle it, how someone could just be kind,
Frivolously neighbourly, on this adopted road inclined
To flood, though not on my side.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I lower the door of my car boot enough to see, approaching the yoke of cottages that join Well Road and The Borough, a woman walking slightly ahead of a little boy on a bicycle. My spectacles are on the dashboard; I cannot determine if these are people I know. The boy lingers next to one of the garden gates, and gazes through the slats at a barking dog, whilst the woman continues walking, looking directly at me. I recognise her as someone from the school run.

I lift the door fully. "You will find this funny," she says. I greet her with a "Hi," my face's quizzical expression inviting her to elucidate. "We were talking to Rufus last night about what people in the village do for a living, and he thought you were in the army." She can see that I am mystified, and so tugs on the cuff of my jacket. "Because you wear this army jacket," she adds, laughing. "Oh. Right," I say. "Yes, well he didn't believe us when we told him you're a house husband." I am about to say "I'm not a house husband," when Rufus, having caught up with his mother, points to the granite blocks in the back of my car, and says: "What's that?" "It's granite for our garden," I rejoin. He cycles on without acknowledging my reply.

I wonder if he has been taken on his rites of passage trip by now. His father once told me that, when his son is old enough, he will take him for a drive through the "estate parts" of the village, to make him grateful for what he has in life. He went on to say that he only drives German cars.

I am unloading granite from the boot of this Japanese car. Infrequently, when there are no other spaces along The Borough, I have opted to park my blue Honda Stream on the road outside Rufus's dad's house, but recently, on such occasions, when I have come back to it in the morning, one of the windscreen wipers is jutting out reproachfully.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Suggestion of a Standing Being

Upon which inferences seesaw from spectre to score,
Some shade, inert, extending recumbently from the fore
On the track ahead of me, rises, stands as revenant,
Lies as gouge made by a tractor's wheel in the sediment,
Again seems upright, then once more flat on the plane, to roil—
Hard to tell, till this hatch false-flipping on perception's coil
Moves off! It steals, as I run towards it, into the wood's
Yardley clearing, where lurk more anamorphic shapes in hoods
Of iridescent, black oil. A trumpet sound fills the sky,
Leaves fall at once. They call to me, "What is it you want?" "I
Am just looking around," I dissemble. Once more, they call,
And I cower down low, for a hatch’s stature is tall,
Is tall, or flat and angled away—it is hard to tell.
You will reassure yourself, but it is hard to dispel
The suggestion of a standing being, who holds, ahead
On the track, in between the lobes of its morbid wall bed,
Those who give chase.