Two Poems by Ford Dagenham


shall i attempt to describe
what over-pilled and hanging writers
written? - the filths black animal blanket
your reason away?
no - i shall describe tuesday when time was still on dry gears,
when my voice shrank small as a mouse's,
when, too sane, all faces were intricately lined by artists,
when i touched the slow lumbering large things all around me
so conscious of being on the surface of a populated planet,
and i, too sane,
clearly knew and felt the earth’s solid girth and soil heft under my feet,
all sky's painted in
hollywood watercolours.


well, up later than usual
modest place east of town
8 AM
read my detective novel in hot bath drawn from tank in the attic
heated overnight
cigarette smoke mixing with steam.

on green rusting washing pole
cord long gone to coil in the winter border
sits a white dove lit glowing by the low sun,
looks soft,
no hint
of his noisy oils
in the creamy feathers
he ruffles and smooths again.  long shadow of his beak stretching along his back.
framed in the window perfectly like
in-laws on the mantelpiece.

well, at the back door i light another cigarette
i wear a damp towel pulled tight
in the draft.  quiet/ one man mends his shed roof
bent over behind
the bare trees
higher than fences
hitting nails in threes.

on the bent aerials monochrome magpies impossibly bright against
the heavy grey storm clouds
nod and twitch and pace
smaller birds scattered
lost like seeds till shoots sprout
showing themselves again
in spring.

well, i'm not in west texas anymore . . . are these birds omens i wonder?
this year’s nearly done with me.  its mistakes and endurance and drool tailing off
like dawn mist on the choppy lakes where the
small boats creak

well, i decide to decide the birds are omens.  why not?
and i stretch out
on the old bench picking at the weathered peel
looking at the churches.

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