Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Mustard Phone

Mustard yellow 
telephone of the 
nineteen seventies variety 
keeps its silence in the sunlit hallway 
and further down the way 
where raincoats and hats hang from pegs 
the souls of the dead decide to gather. 
The phone, with a heavy receiver 
sprouts surrealist red cuboids 
and slowly changes colour. 
Quite why, 
these souls having left this life 
sixteen and seven years ago respectively 
choose this particular moment 
to congregate in the hallway 
is not clear. 

Miles away, 
he lies bare chested in bed 
and wonders if he might be 
having a heart attack. 
Not at this precise moment of course. 
There is no pain 
or indications of anything being wrong. 
It’s just that he can imagine all too clearly 
the red muscle pulsing in its slack sack of membrane 
like a light going on and off and pictures how easily 
it would be for something to go wrong with this process. 
He takes another drag on his rollie 
then puts himself in the recovery position which has a calming effect. 
If a heart attack’s coming at least he will be ready for it. 
Who knows? Maybe the whole thing will pass by 
without anyone realising. He forgets about his heart 
and sees the phone, the cuboids bubbling out of the mouthpiece 
like a froth of blood, the ghosts in the hallway
they look like particularly solid lines of dust motes 
that become more apparent or fade depending on the brightness 
of the sun. Ghosts are like busses. You wait for years, 
and when it does finally arrive there are two of them. 
He drifts into the place that precedes sleep 
and listens to the ghosts - he knows all too well who they are, 
and when wakes he finds the entire country gone mad.

© Su Joy

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Interchangeable Chameleon

Indian chief in full plumage, 
air-brush profile on a metal sign, 
fades through the decades, 
tractor red to tobacco brown 
and rust bleeds from the screw-heads 
that fix him to the mower machine shop wall 
beside a silent path that follows 
a line of chalk pierced with flint, 
fringed by heart-shaped leaves 
coated in ash-grey dust. 

A wave of earth, gold and mirrors 
in severe farmhouse windows, 
a weight of clouds 
and cold wicks 
in white candles 
as the light notches 
and lowers 
resistance to the onset of night. 

Visible breath, vapour… 
the surface changes, 
the wheel of the bicycle 
prints snake back v shapes 
in the sand and green towers 
over the grey thread 
that leads onwards 
into solid black. 

After many false starts, 
wild-goose diversions 
that still gum their transfers 
onto the view ahead, 
you arrive, perhaps, 
at the beginning of your journey. 

Heavy boots, steel toe caps 
and black leather, one step after another, 
the cold light of pinhole stars 
offer a glimpse of the other side, 
feather shape breath, tick of spokes, 
whisper of tyre on sand, 
molecules gathering in the fibres 
of your long black coat 
until a flame in a jar 
swoops across 
the darkness ahead.

You are not alone. 
Steps mirror your own. How long 
have they been following you? 

The presence beside you 
is the interchangeable chameleon, 
difficult to fix and for now wears a trench coat 
and heavy boots to match your attire 
as if dressed in sympathy or comradeship, 
two foot soldiers on the road, lost 
and separated from the battalion 
after a tree exploding skirmish. 

His breath smokes and he stands 
a good head and shoulders above you, 
a wisp of beard on his chin, crystal blue eyes 
that have a far off look as if seeing what really lies beyond. 
The words that he speaks cannot be transcribed 
except to say that they are filled with cast-iron and fire, 
stealth and transgression 
as they mingle with the scent of pine 
where the trees stand in columns 
with pockets of cool air filling the spaces between them. 
His coat has no buttons and he wears a thin shirt, 
chains and pendants hang from his neck 
and the flame in the road ahead approaches, nearer and nearer.

Moths and flames, 
the light leads onwards 
and the chameleon man 
has done all he can. 

His hair turns to snow 
and he extends his scarecrow arm, 
you take his hand 
and he says good luck 
and nothing more needs to be said.

Sunday, 19 June 2016


Within the warehouse of lost time skylights mottle and motions 
of racing against the clock provoke daydreams and the light
fast fades, dreams within dreams within dreams
that get let loose in the crystal hotel with walls
like Rothko paintings with a forbidden door that leads
into another party that’s easy to gatecrash
because everyone there is the same as everyone here.

She snores like a telephone left off the hook
the key for Room 13 still in your pocket.

The morning mirror and the space between your ears
is transformed into a nightclub where green elixirs
get sucked from straws dipped in inverted isosceles,
the imbibers float in a boat on chemically enhanced oceans,
after all, natural sea water could never be this raspberry blue colour.

She stops snoring, hangs up on her dream
wakes to see a flash of gold, like a heliograph 
message coming from the top of the mountain

events unfold…

We drink wine, our words
like tentative stones
dropped in forest ponds
to see which way the ripples run

Friday, 10 June 2016

Aroma Simulacra

a sun fades
burns black sticks

a red sleeve enfolds the sun

black red 

patchouli sandalwood
red sticks burn

a black sleeve slides over the moon
a poppy fades 
in the blue rain

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Promenade Of Silk Powders

A bleached beach
sand like silk
silk sand silvers
the promenade 

the promenade of silk powders
where the green sea
tilts her mirrors.

In the revolving restaurant 
the circular cave of glass
slowly adjusts its windows.

Winter transforms
the sea smashes her mirrors
spills foam, spews kelp

ghosts dine 
in the glass cave
where the windows turn to clouds.

With an E.T. phone home finger
you score
five green letters
over and over.


Morlock Oil

Morlock Oil
A new collection of stories available now . Click on image for details.

The Quest Of Great Celtic Mystery

The Quest Of Great Celtic Mystery
New Chapbook Available (email rockinahill@gmail.com for details)


Bunchgrass Press

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