how the end will begin

The beginning of the end 

will be a woman pushing a supermarket trolley 

full of plastic bags

screaming at birds 

 

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after two days in the trench I put my head over the parapet and they clean shot the cigarette straight from my lips

           

                mud and grime 

                drying to cement 

 in my head 

 

          I returned home at night my wife said I’d changed 

I was beginning to fade 

to a grey facsimile of the person she fell in love with

— drained and washed of colour 

a slow death in front of spreadsheets 
I still hadn’t written that novel 

or made it to the edge of the continent 

     

     and in this new landscape

 it was so easy to get lost like the blind tourist who touches his way around the world 

    finds his way back home by following the smell of cinnamon 

    the roar of traffic won’t put him off

    the Doppler wail of the red fire engine moves around him 

easy

like flowing water 
       milky ovaries and we smoked autumn leaves in those days that failed to appear on a calendar and the lunch time barber found a secret door in the back of my head
unlocked and looking in he advised me of what he saw

500 families and forgotten memories and posters of David Bowie 

I paid and left and made an appointment to return in a month 

longest January 

outside 
everything was damp 
kids in massive coats
lost gloves litter the floor
the trees all look pathetic 

naked and shivering

 – de-robed of splendour 
not looking their best 

not looking like their summery selfs 
all colourful and glorious 
   with birds tweeting in their branches 
       the only birds I see now are high in the air
black specks

like shadows on a cancerous X-ray 
circling above 

homage s.24

helicopter over a smokestack spitting out a bilious tar 
your face is beamed on to the moon
– clothes : models own

– 

the clouds are gathering from afar
verdant Albion where the street fighters kick 

full of knife victims &

lottery winners 
in the snipers scope 

in the snipers scope

            bellicose eyes 
the sick clog up the corridors
              the submarine remains 

a submerged skeleton capsule 

remains 
 

algorithms 

     defined by a series of multiple choice questions 
– online quizzes: what member of the Beatles are you?

                              if you were a vegetable what one would

 you be?

            what historical figure are you?

defined by algorithms and people’s opinions 

  a tick list of emotions 
all sexually history erased 

cookie crumbs hoovered up by an 

amnesiac pimp

she insisted 

  the only consistent thing 

was my inconsistency 

    it was a full and frank assessment not a misguided assumption

   a victim of multiple choice questions 
a basketful of useless clocks with 

their little mechanisms inside

mis-firing little pins 
– the well was running dry

– the drought followed by famine 

the first egg 

embryonic chickens inside perfect shells that are as fragile as a babies skull 
– I have nothing but respect for the first man who saw a chicken pass an egg 

and then thought 

“I’m going to eat that”- 
good lord that man had guts 
and a brain full like a filling cabinet with topics called;

-school memories, June – August 1986

– favourite albums 

– conspiracies theories of North Korea 

– etc etc 
he knew the lucky ones were mainly white and born into privilege and wealth

(an ugly chasm was beginning to open up, nasty and brutish)
    sneaking away, a few hours after the curfew you could hear the loud music 

it stayed with me for days 

a constant hiss

I pushed ear plugs in 

I pushed them so deep my eyes became dislodged 

I could see round corners 

I could read two pages at time 

one eye for each page
it was a useless skill
I added it to the list