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Silence Exile and Crumpets
 
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Roz Kaveney's LiveJournal:

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Friday, July 29th, 2016
12:04 am
This is probably all to do with Donald Trump
SHROUD

Fool's mate fool's mort so early in the game
eye's water sting that this is all we get
sand smashes spills from turned time glass. I met
our death upon Samarra road. My name
from under shroud bass spoke and yours as well.
Thought we had years. Polite I offered seat
Thick cloth makes bones perspire in end-time heat
Death labours hard and honest and his smell
More blood and sweat than mausolean dust.
This it? Above our heads the sky was red
with final fire. Suburban privet bled
black sap. High towers fell in gravel rust.
Death took our hands the world what might have been
Our work undone we burned we ate the green.
Thursday, July 28th, 2016
11:03 pm
A picture poem
ISLE OF THE DEAD after Bocklin

Ruins so old that cypresses a grove
have grown. The island was not always there
the water rose around it. Stone scoured bare
of signs and busy windows. Some force stove
and sheared the sides away. A city stood
this is the last. One day it will be gone
under the cloud sea. Somewhere there is sun
but it does not shine here. Dark in the wood
some shrine in which veils serve the last faint god
but hardly worship. Hope's gone. Millions trod
streets hundred feet below. The bad the good
dust sea-dissolved in foam. It's here the last boat rowed
last coffin corpse. We reaped the death we owed.
10:19 pm
A friend was talking about Keats on FB and this just came
FOR JOHN KEATS

By its persistence water carved that name
He thought would be forgotten. Drops as slow
As time when you are dying. When you know
One of the gasping breaths that seem the same

Is different because it is the last
Then you are gone and there is not one word
Left in your mouth. The bedside watcher heard
Silence and your death was in the past.

He thought his work forgotten. He was wrong.
Ironic time has used our loving tears
Refute his epitaph. So many years.
Among the English poets I'll belong

He also said. He went into the night
Not knowing which his hope his fear was right
Monday, July 25th, 2016
12:20 am
A second
Halfcut we stagger. Blood storm in our eyes
hair slick and stinking. Something in our hand
we did not seize. The trumpet snarling of that band
raucous tears ears. Charged each of us denies

we were involved. There is no alibi
clears history. Our race our sex our class
some boy we liked who patted our firm arse
was monster later. Sometime you or I

accused and guilty. Also innocent
process our trial. All of us arraign
each other, point the finger for our pain.
We love we hate but mostly we resent

times we cannot escape because alive
some piece of work we do may yet survive.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
11:44 pm
Events dear boy. The dead rat in the road
a bomb; the stupid random screw
derails career. Fathers a bastard too
a painter of repute. Nothing is owed

to reason. Fortune giggles turns her wheel
And yet we try we must to work it right
fire waits and after fire dead dusty night.
Sometimes our foe our own excessive zeal

justice that trips our feet. And sometimes sloth
We did not make that meeting. Or were late
Things turned to dirt on that specific date
angry or tired or something maybe both.

And yet we try. It is not through our will
Best comes. We hope we help it somehow still.
Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
12:57 am
Current affairs
A CANDIDATE

Not the barbarians. At riverside
mounted with stirrups they are waiting still
patient and deadly, quite prepared to kill
but not yet bothered. When their leader died

went under grave loot with a slave or two
strangled they wept and shrugged. Perhaps their hearts
no longer in his war. They'd played their parts
later it seemed. Done what he paid them to,

Our Caesar who explained what he would need,
Absolute power to start. And all our cash
He made us slaves. Citizens felt the lash
or cross or cutting knife. Chanted his creed

It did not save us, But he'd save the town
cost us our lives, our freedome and his crown.
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
1:25 am
Third poem
FOR A STATESWOMAN

The perfect manner of the crocodile
faceted glinting eye that never blinks.
Somewhere behind the stare there's something thinks
old venom malice. Not so much a smile
though teeth are there and blooded. Maybe smirk
self-pleased and praised. And hungers not for blood
but bone crunch and she waddles in the mud
unresting. Values gold and pain and work
and armour wrapped around. In grids and swirls
hard leathered nodules nothing can bites to bleed
A tail that she can bludgeon smash at need.
And round the neck a perfect set of pearlS,
the queen of death she squelches through this bog
we made her queen believing her a log.
1:05 am
Second poem of the night
LAST THINGS

Braid blend her kiss and someone else's breast
you don't remember you were drunk that year
hair snagged on stud your finger twists that ear
another night. The small hairs on his chest
soft silk folds lemon sweat of his kind dick
the scratch of that rich bastard's well-ironed sheet
quick ache contraction that time that you meet
her you were with for years. The smell of sick
you stroked out poison finger in her throat.
Salt char and blood and mustard tanging steak
with fuck under the table that same night
she scratched blood jagged neck during that fight
that one last time was really a mistake.
I love these words. I do. I hope to try
for shrieks and moans remembered as I die.
12:35 am
iT'S ALL PRETTY APOCALYPTIC ISN'T IT?
DOOMDAY

Summers of vintage sweat damp down pale skin
picnic ham artichoke salt on the tongue
licks kisses hand. Even the old are young
In memory. Their sepia photo grin

code for the last good fuck before things fell
tunetinny halfremembered whatsitsname
fourteen or sixteen it will be the same
friends die one day and then you die as well

in mud and gangrene blotches on your face
no food in gut you emptied all your shit
scraped it with rat bits in an open pit
you never get to walk from this last place

gold set your death escape was not a chance
smile fear and love. And then you turn and dance.
Thursday, July 7th, 2016
1:06 am
First poem for a while.
ENCHANTING

Not to seduce. But look straight in her eyes
mostly relieve her boredom as you leave
she's on the door. With words you try to weave
a little spell. Maybe you will surprise
her with a feeling she's not felt before
for moments though you're old and rather fat
nice skin and piercing eyes might outweigh that
recite a poem. Saints might well deplore
this moment's conversation. There is lust
there somewhere in the mix, at least a thought
of how she'd moan. But even if you've caught
her webbed for just a second. Do not trust
your own behaviour, what remains of charm
Smile a goodbye. Don't even touch her arm.
Monday, June 27th, 2016
10:19 am
Yet again.
ON A CRISIS

There is another dance. Knives fully drawn
They stand in line and click their booted feet
Swap compliments and wives. 'Her lips are sweet
But mine fucks like a ferret'. As the dawn

Breaks bloody. They all turn and take a bow
To us who watch. One carves another's spleen
Elegant bloodlessly. This all has been
Prelude to fast fierce murder. Starting now

Pattern dance ritual and politesse
Laws somehow though we do not see their sense
Payment for slights that no one sane resents
The dance floor sodden soiled shit guts blood mess

Dead all the dancers following those rules
Dead all who watch those bloody minded fools.
Saturday, June 18th, 2016
11:20 am
AGAIN
FOR JO COX

How did we get to here? We know full well
Each step along the way? Each curse each blow
Each shame unblushed for. This is how we go
Step stumble down the broad clear path to Hell.

Intending badly. Wanting others' death
Or just not caring that we save their life.
He shouted killed her with a gun or knife
So many drowned. We could have saved their breath.

She tried to. Never frightened to offend
The selfish hating put one country first
Above who starve bleed sweat and die of thirst.
Who pleased appeased still never sated. Friend

Remember her. She did much. Just enough
To die for decent kind and basic stuff.
Monday, June 13th, 2016
5:09 pm
Again
ORLANDO 2

Hole star crack shatter in the mirrored glass
lights dimmed but not as mourning music still
plays as it played when he came into kill
not dance but reap with gun the living grass

young men and women mixed black brown and white
who breathed and danced and suddenly they bled
who lived and laughed until he left them dead
their pride love lasting more than that last night.

And when men came to wash the blood away
friends loves and parents love wailed like a choir
a hundred ringing phones. Killed for desire
concern past death. They will not fade to gray

in memory but speak. ' It was not fair
that I should die in pain for being there.'
4:57 pm
TODAY
PREACHERS

Who look into the glass and see His Face
Bad angry father with a whip or gun
worship stroke beard where most would scream and run
think of their hatred as a sign of grace

limit unknowable to simple rules
know tiny fraction of what built the stars
bask favoured in large red and sharp-lined cars
grab wages from poor people they think fools

cast out the stranger, do not mourn the dead,
blame sickness and on prisons turn the key.
Wish worst misfortunes upon you and me
and have no loving thought within their head

Leave holy books unread on a high shelf
And hate their neighbour as they should themself
12:54 am
Today
ORLANDO

How can I speak or sing when not one word
Nor note can fill the silence that is left
When shots and screams are ended? We, bereft
Mourn do not even moan. Stunned. If a bird

Should chirrup, we would hush. Perhaps we dance
As they were dancing. Tango or pavane,
Solemn and sexual. Forget the man
Who shot. Forever. And those who preach prance

Before him after him. And do not hear
Their words malodorous and empty wind.
They have no place. Remember to be kind
For all the dead. And also bleed a tear.

My words are little more than adequate.
A scream of love confronting so much hate.
Sunday, June 12th, 2016
11:54 am
Modest clearing of throat
Amd while I was in NY, I won the Lambda for Transgender Fiction, for TINY PIECES OF SKULL.
10:36 am
I'm not a believer, but I once was...
... and I know what belief feels like and still have those feelings, just not attached to belief.

STAR OF THE SEA
for Aoife Assumpta Hart

We kindle at old sights as we come home.
The street sign, street lamp. Smell of rainfreshed grass
Of well-remembered lawns. And as we pass
On childhood paths, life now is foam

And evanescent. Lost in Her embrace.
Ocean is vast. We stretch and yawn and drown
Warm as our blood. She does not need a crown
Essential Queen. We always know her face

Welcome in dreams and giant as a cloud
Floats unconditional and healing balm
Held firm soft triangle of pillow arm
Accepted vast in glory never proud

We wake we leave and know we will return
Grace warmth praise love we never have to earn.
10:33 am
Another NY poem
LOWER EAST SIDE

LIght rain. A cream cheese bagel. Salad stuff.
Outside squatting a bench a mad trombone
Chunters and whines off key. A sort of drone
Never quite musical but dour enough

To be communication. 'Screw your art,
You pretty people with flamingo hair,
Baristas, poets. I was sitting there
Just there with an expresso when my heart

Jumped slightly. I saw failure as the bride
Who sought me out. I blow this horn to tell
Her tatters black and veil seek you as well'
And as he blew his sorry tale he cried

In tears as dark as coffee. And we knew
For most of us it was our tale he blew.
10:32 am
Written in NY
MUHAMMAD ALI

His fights were dance and force. The sheen of sweat
On muscle. Wit in eyes. Sharp angry tongue.
He was so beautiful when he was young.
Still so when he had started to forget

And faced his maimed old age with equal grace
As on his day in court great to refuse
A war a name his people did not choose.
His art was punching people in the face.

And being punched. The insults to his brain
Accumulate. We watch we can admire
An energy destruction brilliance fire
And hope we never see his like again.

The greatest and the best his vicious skill.
But greatest when he said he would not kill.
Friday, May 20th, 2016
10:13 am
New poem
Some leave so early. We just get a taste
Of who they would have been. Perhaps a song
Or a novella. They were not here long
Enough to write much, scrawled it down in haste
A breath behind their ear a warning twinge
Death teeth at neck a shudder in short hair
A bat so small that it could tangle there
A squeak that might have been an unoiled hinge
But was not. Maybe pledged themselves to die
By hunger needles love or evil chance
Tore from our arms into black ragged dance
Yet not. Romantic imagery's a lie.

No consolation. Just the brutal fact
They're gone.No time for metaphor or tact.
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