The University of Essex

1. gone to lunch back in five minutes

night closed in on my letter of resignation
out in the square one of my threads had broken loose
the language i used was no and no
while the yellow still came through, the hammer and the drills

occasionally the metabolism alters
and lines no longer come express
waiting for you what muscles work me
which hold me down below my head?

it is a long coat and a van on the horizon
a bird that vanishes the arabic
i learn from observation is how to break the line

From “Mankindness”


Because he, because she,
in so far as
she (in so far as he) exists

is on the way
to battle.

Not what is your name,
but what
the battle?


“Each one of us has come
here and changed” —

is the battle. Born
a loved one,
borne a loved one.


My father fought in this war, thus I can speak of it.
My mother fought in this, thus I can speak.
My friends, my lovers have fought, have worn
(like the tree) their several directions at once. And I,

Words Are the Sum


As so-called quarks, so atoms before and through
And after molecules, which too
Constitute us awhile, pluming

Through our slowly changing shapes
Like beachscapes
Through a duneless sandglass, say

(I said, once) — all these
So utterly forgetful, wiped clean
As numbers with each new use, lint-free.

How not so words, which pass our minds
And mouths and ears from hind-
Most elsewhere, on their way to elsewhere — why

A Summer Garden

Several weeks ago I discovered a photograph of my mother
sitting in the sun, her face flushed as with achievement or triumph.
The sun was shining. The dogs
were sleeping at her feet where time was also sleeping,
calm and unmoving as in all photographs.

I wiped the dust from my mother’ s face.
Indeed, dust covered everything; it seemed to me the persistent
haze of nostalgia that protects all relics of childhood.
In the background, an assortment of park furniture, trees and shrubbery.

From “Coleshill”

The deer racing across a field
of the same clay and tallow
color they are — if they are:
or are they tricks of the light? —
must feel themselves being poured
and pouring through life. We’ re not built

but become: trembling columns
of apprehension that ripple
and pass those ripples to and fro
with the world that shakes around us —
it too is something poured
and ceaselessly pouring itself.

February shakes the fields
and trembles in each yellow willow.

Urban Eclogues

Adrift in the middle of my years, I sit in a corner and drink. I eavesdrop
a tableful of girls romancing their cell phones, workshopping
love’ s abstract particulars,
while football plays on the big screen;
I listen like a thief in case the women know the score.
But I never could tell. At fulltime I walk home like a motherless child.