Coal Carthage

by Poetry

This is a poem I learned
 from the hollow Face,
  a long, long
   time ago
.

 

The bars of this cage, tightening nooses now;
          still Broken britain;
          legs & fluttering wings beneath scaled metal eyes twitching,
          humming lenses; glitter and stand resolute!

wings blinking in nothing,
          rust against the wet night despite
          pleas of rattle-high footsteps ‘cross the cobblestones & the grass & the mud dirt.

moaning prayers to Bacchus God,
                                         my God,
          my friend, as black breath carries the sin of me
          & boils down the brick face baiting.

The red head’s disinterest.
          The silent love of time.
                   The lovers, sharing arms & cigarettes.

Above, pursed lips – iron-madness;
          speak – nothing,
          argue – nothing,
          mutter – nothing,
          crow – nothing, howl – nothing, bark – nothing, nothing
          the symbiotic evening – nothing in
          the moon’s fingertip abuse that plays
          ‘cross frosted experience –
          art, rottenness,
          love, perversion,
          loyal wastefulness & no thing.

Above, blind sentinel – standing
          at the familiar gates of drunkenness,
          blind pervert, blind overseer,
          blind as ragged law on dust-paper, blind.

Above, deaf orator – shouting
          self-silence at the capitalist crowd,
          deaf night-hunter, deaf busker,
          deaf as old trust engraved in vinyl, deaf.

Above, mute metal – stretching
          out an unfeeling hand,
          mute mother, mute politics,
          mute as street-poetry is speechless, mute.

                   The blind,
                   the deaf,
                   the mute –
          all it sees, & hears & speaks – imperfect.

Imperfect flesh and feeling distant steel grass,
          imperfect jealousy & imperfect breath;
          imperfect memories with blue-white electricity crackling
                   suspended on wires of wind ‘tween phosphorus cloud
                   splinters shattering the sky;
          imperfect wine and broken bottles;
          imperfect scars on the palm;
          imperfect drawn-out lifelines of laurel;
          imperfect dream satisfaction;
          imperfect air caught boiling
                   in muscle bellows too! imperfect goals,
          imperfect existence of fireplace desire
                   where imperfection is the goal,
                   where imperfection is the goal,
                   where the ragged existence of excitement a
                   Satan, ragged workplace-wound conversation-starter
                   for the middle class alone – the vast lamb held & soothed
                   alone by the sound of rotating shears.

It sees all I see;
          hears all I hear & speaks all I speak.

It knows the old men & women,
          cry cold afternoon & seeking warmth in a Raven’s breast;
                   pregnant women with wine & wedding band gossips –
                   dream of british James Deans;
                   pregnant men with all their dreams of toilet cisterns & ragged trenches in the tiles;
                   the young, cider apples beneath the bar
                   & legs of sheer, inquisitive femininity.

Frosted mirrors & light start glowing,
          shuddering
                   illuminations of Northern storms; black dust still salting the air;

                      Coal Carthage!
                            Polyester tables!
                                  Weed streets!
                                  Suzanne audio!
                               Hooded teeth!
                          Drunken muscle-spasms!
                      Obtuse candlesticks standing empty!

                    Crawling chairs!
                    Buckling floorboards!
                Simmering floods!
                      Broken sugar mountains!
Oceans of Guinness fellatio!

Endless apologies from the cock to the clit!
                             Numberless occurrences!
                         Catholic-thought abortions!
                                       Echoing whiskeys!
                                                Stagnant gin!
                                       Flower sarcophagi!
                                          Leather zombies!
                                               Office ghosts!
                                  Burned wisdom teeth!

                             Knives walking in the park!
                             Midnight shot preparations!
                                 Dead vocal chord cheers!
     Bojangles and blink back tears, little sister!
                          The lonely, social generation!
Legless souls suspended above chain-horrors!

                                    Cockless Adonis!
      Drugless suicide in the hospital bed!
                                           Alcohol rain!
Staggering ducks drowning in the pond!
                                  Teetotal solicitors!
                                 Fingerless dentists!
                   Naked women on the walls!
                           Thunderbolt fireplace!
                                       Twisted bones!

Rotten John!
Bloody William!
Bastard Carey!

                                                    Italian leather forgeries!
                                                                          Asian ink!
                                          Hometown death confessions!
A crypt of cardboard 14 illuminated by red cloth candle!
                        Melted utensil nightmare of conversation!
Breaths and high-backed chairs.

Coal Carthage sees Gods,
          drowning in the Adriatic,
          crushing British gardens;
                   caught in the channel between TV stations /
                   radio broadcasts, & knows sweat-sock talking charnel
                   house personalities,
                   the blind eyelashes flutter on memories of america & nightmares of bank balance demons!

Metal and meat together feel the pressure and heat growing on the eye;
                              a tumour, a tumour,
                              a tumour of sight-madness!
                              a tumour and every poisonous molecule carries your name!
                              a tumour that bursts and reveals me! Naked me!
                              a tumour that grows and grows again and regrows naked hate!

         This cancerous dependency!
         Symbiotes in the streets and alone in sheets of neoplastic architecture!
         Benign lamplight and malignant windowpanes!
         Acute sufferings and freedom-lovers chained to life!
                                     Crypt-homeless beggars singing in evening alleyways!
                                     Anxious poet begging for change with lyric piteousness!
                                     Drunken web developers drunk all on their own.

                   Rage!
          Rage against oneself as memory of candlelight!
                   Declare war on your memories!
          Mass-market the pleasure poisons, & hurried handshakes –
                   hands of midnight chefs with no faces on their walls of fame –
          pose, eternally, for the photograph & demand satisfaction /
                   buckets of wine are cheaper than glasses /
                   three-for-one drinks are normality.

          Listen to the tumours in your eyes,
                    to the tumours in your ears,
                    to the tumours on your tongue & beg the roar, play on –

                                          Play on, wind-spectres of the army of the night; blow on your stone saxophones!
                                          Hammer the keys of the piano cobblestones! Pluck the dreadnaught strings of your own hair!
                                          Rattle the triangle of thought! Kiss the lonely harmonicas of silence!
                                          Bang on the drums of late-night loves! Unveil the full orchestra behind the second-day of a three-day
                   hangover &
                   discover
                   their bodies
                   rotting in the seats; the sound echoes down
                                                  the alleyways; the packed bars empty,
                                                  the silent smoking gardens, ghostly suits & dark dresses;

          Broken britain, break no more.

                    Break no more upon yourself, the hollow face’s judgements,
                    no more tear your skin,
                    no more swallow the cum of the brewery &smile
                                       at the cameras’ blinding light,
           no more hide your frowns in the mirrors, & practice your smiles.

Hand in those red shirts diggers, levellers, men of the stone;
          wear numbers
                    on your necks
          & melt your picks
          & your axes
          & your spades into tablets
          & mobiles;

                    grow your beards
          & wax your moustaches / shave your heads – Buddhist slave-monks;

                    drain your pens of ink
          & stack them all in neat rows within the Chambers of the Commons;

                    needle-drain your anarchies
          & leave them hanging, suspended from the railway bridges;

                    kneel at the foot your own King Streets,
          & kiss their cobblestone boots in the morning,
          & pray for prayers that take the crosses
          & the boxes
                    from our eyes.

          Salt the earth,
                    & salt the stones. Burn
         the offices
                    & the engine-men.

         Drain the barrels dry
          & burn

                    the barrels too.

Empty the last blood of the lost sea creatures
into the veins
          & the artefacts of our streets,

                    – blink in the dawn.

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