Cowboy holidays

We are going on our holidays

Never going back

Through the apocalypse traffic

The vaporous mirage 
A dissolving dragon’s breath

Of steeples thin
 as falling glass

Spilled tropicana cordial

On the strangely serene damask

And leatherette upholstery

The boats all turtle-backed

Marooned above the shingles

Sea birds stalking on the keel
Crusoe desperately waving

From the shadowed underside

Level crossings and cattle grids

Iced-cream coloured songs

Droning on the radio

The static full of summer lightning

Not quite knowing why

We are dressed as cowboys

When we prefer the Indians

Nested in the back seat

Breathing deep
 the plastic old car smell
Smeared in grins
Tears and sugar
On squalled faces

No, we are not there yet
We have bows, and Colt 45s

Caps and arrows

For passing threats

In Clint Eastwood voices

We are gone
Lost as lariats 
On our cowboy holidays

We are never coming back


What the dove said

In my bird garden
I asked a dove
If she mourns lost winter afternoons 
The sky furiously balming 
Your brow against the glass
Breathing shallow
But, with that reluctant mist
That warns of life in mirrors
Fast evaporating


The bird replied
Though we are 
Neither not so cold
Nor defined
by the shape of rain
That we would forego
Our easy days
Still, when the magpie sings
We will find an eave to hide behind


Life is fraught
Bridges far between 
The house you build
By tumbling roads
Will fall one day to the bright stars
Of soft, emerging asters
You think a bird a fool, but
How she watches, how she waits
On her flimsy precipice 
The magpie is a winter mountain