That false phantom step that bruises your hubris,
that landmine disguised as a welcome mat (and…
as often happens with a sharp shrug of shrapnel)
a can-can kick capable of crucifying even the
kindest Christ upon the bones of a broken umbrella,
and by all means pause, if you think it will really help
then cry me a river of bitch beneath the claws of sore
cat scratched lightning, for a bit, but only a bit
because shit, if you sit in that darkness for
long enough you will learn to fear the light.
Magniloquent, astagger, blood puddle drunk,
but scribbling a babble of unbalanced revery
(lost somewhere amazed and uncheesed labyrinthine
between bent corridors of plush embryonic catastrophe
and the short halls of successive simple breezeway days
sculpted triumphant in the caked icing of my boots),
armed only with holy primrisen promises aglow
from a quiet exquisite quibble of heart lights
whose tangled majesty I yet wear as hope’s
plastic whistle on life vest, doggy paddling
abuzz to and fro through mine heat stroked mirage
that conjures a bejewelled drop of a dream awash
in the carnivorous flames of my own familiar,
which arrives in startle via some Minor Arcana
high skywritten by a stormy centaur of cloud
and hung in hyperbole upon heaven’s hat rack
a pinpoint of pathfinding as baptism clean and
straight stemmed as golden thoroughwax to
guide my climb’s reprise (dear Horatio be with me)
into the picked handcuff hurricane of her heart
Dodging and weaving between where I am going
and where I have been, doing what I have done,
I know and I have seen how flawed fun burns.
I have had to look up from some low haired holes
damnatio memoriae, so I keep my pleasures simple
with a sidestep prepared and I don’t ask much
but I really must ask, what have you lot got?
Another limp rabbit pulled unsurprised
from a battered top hat; a tick in your knickers
or is it simply a tear that you can’t fit back
into your lachrymal sac?
If this thorn in my side turns out to be cancer
or, or it may even be the spear of destiny,
either way you know, if you’re ready,
whenever you like, if you look,
you can catch me in the crossfire.
Somewhere between the laugh and the cry
of it all I have spent more than a little time
taking a knife to the knots in my life and
having reached a point (done unhooking my
ghost train carriages all full of trundle)
(having felt the sun fighting free of the
frown of the cloud) I dared to step back
and make a frame of my fingers and thumbs
(for the director’s cut), gynaecologically
examining my work, tapping my chin with
the butt of a paintbrush, peering with ‘portance
(like I know what the bloody Hell I‘m doing),
taking off my glasses and chewing the end
of the arm nervously, intently surveying the
clipped jack-in the-box thus newly unbound,
and after a time nodding slowly and
agreeing that, yes, now I can start.
Making a buttered choice of galant bruises among
the sorrow dogs forever begging scraps from table,
‘til happy kick or snakebite, a brittle little denominator
switching my is to was just because you said so.
The permanent hostage of some chuckling sideshow
Christ and tidal moans. Recalling always that
the only time you ever REALLY listened,
I was talking to myself.
Lindsay McLeod trips over the horizon every morning. He has won several prizes and awards and stuff for poetry and short fiction and published his first co-authored poetry collection, My Almost Heart, in 2015. He currently writes on the sandy Southern edge of the world, where he watches the sea and the sky wrestle for supremacy at his letterbox. He prefers to support the underdog. It is presently an each way bet.