Leon Brown

Ceremony of Glass and Water

(Aldrin’s Thumb)

Here you stand

erect and breathing,

monument of living clay.

Surveying and surveyed:

a creature ascendant,

hubris shouting the score:

a one million year run for mankind

before it was bowled out

by a race of lizards.

Your fingers peel the skin,

Maybe twirl a hair,

You and fellow nosferatus

Mint mouths by moonlight.

Noses pressed against glass,

breath scorching the carapace.

Grey flourish of flesh below iris

Swells with octopus pride

before churning a tsunami of doubt.

As it does….

the orb gyrates wildly,

maddened by burning anthills

in its bowels.

6 billion squatters in a blue house:

The first spasms of eviction

throwing each day out of step

with diurnal motions.

All harvests arrive at once;

commemorated by dewlaps,

hairs withdrawn

by conglomerations of the chimerical.

Despots of nihilism

inflate voided souls.

The wretched questions:

what haven’t I done?

how little time have I in which not to do it?

Spool their mantras to Psyche’s Revox.

Questions teeter in stacks

of roulette chips

on squalid coffee tables.

Magpies mock in birdbaths

stripping glass cellars bare,

turning them to spanners

tossed on suburban patios.

Anglo Twitter maidens shriek

Tattooed studs scale Filton Road:

bling bling midriffs

their carabenas.

Pharisee rage

upholding the natural order

of snobs, blobs and yobs.

Anxiety chafes scalps.

You strain to seem taller;

head level with the termite crowd.

Invisible from the vortex

Where Aldrin’s thumb blotted out

that cracked, misted marble

where we swam unblinking.

Leon Brown © 2009


(Mr Darwin’s Ghost)

Downward escalator

Upward escalator

Equals a circular motion

A  trapeze tied to higher things.

That saucer balanced

On the tortoiseshell.

The vast arc of the galaxy

Whose stars stud the tight, coarsened belt

Of human imagination.

Where all things and beings

Throb carnal

In synthetic fibres

All parts snugly positioned

Except the same old assortment

Of redundant faces

You see sloping around town.

The passion for order

Laughing lust for cruelty


Dripping with their own justifications.

Are as relentless

As the self-conscious embraces

Of twisted young lovers

In the city park

Torn between embracing

The sweet, scented moment

And pitching a tent

In a paradise

No one else but them

Clearly had the wit

To lay waste to.

The gamut of human emotions

Basks in a pair of golden scales

Claimed exclusively as the property

Of greeting card corporations.

While even the suits

Those charcoal men

Those evergreen,

Tapdancing choreographers of hierarchy

Wildly search for

A patent for the immortal

A cure for human behaviour

A manufactued plague on instinct.

Oh see them strive ceaselessly

For a science of commanality

A new creed for the drones.

Blithely ignoring the chemicals

And biology

Swilling around their knees

Slowly closing the gaps

Which loop us all together

So easily liable

To warp and bend

Then snap

Sending the beads scattering.

To all corners

Of the infinite.

I prefer to laugh at

The quarry of rats biting their own tails.

By tossing them crumbs staled

By a youth wasted

In saloons of hollow sentiment.

Down here it is always lunchtime

Dark and warm and murky

And where nature abhors a vacuum

There is always


To bluster in before last orders

Are called at the liars bar.

Soon enough

Pushy, loud, inescapable

The relative you tried to lose

At parties

Where you wanted so much to shine.

Is shaking hands with the ghost of Mr Charles Darwin


Champagne corks popping

Before both glower down at the guests

Smiling proud amidst the applause.

They  sussed the answer long before

The people reading this

Were born.

Leon Brown © 2009