Parenthesis

The plane trees turn
Disillusioned leaves


Quite early this year
The Dutch elm bug is on his holidays
While we sneak out 


To the dregs of seaside towns
A breeze, gull-hollow in the mouth
Of a tipped over flagon


The day has that wormed-through look
Of driftwood and premature age


The gulls flock
In that senescent, rough drawn game
Of wings unfolding
In hearts and crosses


Someone poured out petrol on the sea
Bursting when the sinking sun, dissolved
In match-flare quickness
Dragged down with waning hostility, a smoking sky


As if no-one, in the semi-dark, could still be inflamed


I know you know the stars are embers
There is a parenthesis somewhere here
Time will only take you so far
From the edge we see the remnant light
Why – I don’t know why
That died in self-effacement
A shoreline’s length ago 

Amanuensis in declining summer

We slow, walking into water
Lapping salt, uncertain how to speak
Arched words, in the face
Of an amniotic resistance 
To advancing life

Remember how the Madonna grieved
When her child rose again
Counting days like seagulls
Above a garbage shore
On your holiday towel the stains
Of eggs and leavened bread

Sister what’s-your-name
Can you spare a coin for love?
You have a gravid face
Breaking open sunshine

Just a quiet deception
Something fragrant in your mouth
Crushed sweet seeds, a flower
An azure sea, a breeze below
The moon when summer
Turns, more or less, as the hand
Before your smile
Bent as it repudiates

God does not write home
With platitudes and dreads
Homilies about these dismal
Seaside coloured days
Sandwiches quite stale
How the scavengers are blessed
When they steal and beg
Other frail beatitudes from your disregard 
The deck chairs bellows semaphores 
In candy-coloured cyphers
A breath as light as new-made saints
On convalescent afternoons