Leon Brown

Man With Telescope and Mouse

Premonitions in skein-slashed night,

Scratch sleeper’s scabrous eyes.

Wine glasses clinking on conscience,

Sitting ducks slip on ice.

Dreary dream daub of orange sodium

On wall: a street lamp monologue

To passing stranger. Darkened front parlour:

Séance of thick mouths in train

Conjuring decades of danger.

Communing with ghosts conjured

On Devil’s Land between Thorndon Cross

And Holsworthy. Bungalow burgher

On blasted heath seven years on:

English children’s tongues still wag

Nasally in waxy, deaf-aid ears.

Here Is Now from time to time,

And Now Is Often Then. Flagged down

By big city indifference;

Anonymous whip hands at night.

I listen to stale water flowing

Down throats; manhole covers

To subterranean diasporas.

Jeers still heard from

Jesuit priest holes,

Now colonised by a timid mouse.

Reminders of a laughable life

Sent on its way to stillness.

Pendulum no longer swinging

Towards morning’s boombox.

Only handprints are left

In calice soil, clumsy, concealed

Traces. As the minute hand ticks

Thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine,

Engraving its motion around my eyes.

Checking at intervals that Northern

Europe is closer to the Sun;

To the crevasse of dawn into which

Cradle and Hearse slide together.

Once more I keel over on one side,

Turn a back on prick polarities

Of conscience. Legs doused in cold:

Locked into scarlet chambers:

Pumping, gurgling pressed to the ear.

Face those eels of compulsion

Writhing in their mazy grey ooze.

Sprouting with flowers of purgatory.

Stumbling over lines perfected years ago

Old tunes regurgitated

In washbasins at seven.

Teacher sits mulling over a teapot: politely stewed.

Time to unlock the casket, let light pour into me.

Dust the telescope down, focus it

Over shoulder; last left hook to the infinite.

Then rise from bed clutching slide rule:

Gauge loss of proportion

In ratio to loss of height.

Leon Brown © 2010

The Incense Angel

Six summers spent in nomadic drift;

A cloud across moor, stone circle, seaport,

Funnelled through black refineries of the heart.

Bereft of two quarters of a self,

The enigmatic mirror goddess to whom

I never whispered in imaginary heat;

Never wreathed limbs with in definitive dark.

I have moulded a purer sense of shame;

Crafted a better sense of self;

With a clarity which comes from slipping

Further below the curve of the earth

Between the creases of a frayed collar shirt

Down, down into the last dregs

Of an ever-present bottle of Dao.

She lurks diaphanous, yet crystalline,

In a dark, cloister heady with scented smoke.

The silk skeins of her tangled hair

Spinning from the altar; wildly

Weaving from the bosom of faith.

Her urging, relentless body dances

One hundred miles down the South Western

Claw of the land. Lurking and beating:

A second drum inside my chest.

Psychically unaware of the host.

Mine is a delusional connection

Left unplugged from my brain.

Like the mosquito she buzzes,

Ecstatically stinging on a plain.

Seductive and wild; a cartwheel-spinning

Athlete of bondage, and release;

Pirouetting across dance halls

Of imagined memory.

Now she sits six summers on in her

Executive swivel chair

At the top of an exalted tower

Built by her own dedication.

Savouring a city’s emerald expanses

Built for her; dispensing random orders

With a charming overbite, a flutter

Of petal eyes; diamonds on steel.

I lie grieving in my woodpulp eyrie,

A grief only growing with wrinkles, stubble,

The first peppering of grey hairs.

Hunched over the postmodern magician’s box;

Limbs jiving to a mute romantic soundtrack,

Limitless, exhumed possibilities:

Now dust – dispersed into fresh, wet air.

Trees and grass throbbing with green electricity,

Or a perspiration prickle on a ripening life.

Rumours circulate on trade winds,

Inject the sky with their fatalistic blue.

My flame never sputters, it keeps on rising.

As the liver grows back next morning;

The heart snaps its moorings, drifting

Towards the garden, crucifying

The mind on a tree of remembrance;

Its splinters of fantasy finally smothered

In a winding sheet of ghosts.

We are all dead, lady, in the same way

I was never alive to you; rather a

Firefly burning so brightly for a day

Then immolated by memory, erased

Before the wings have fallen back to earth.

Leon Brown © 2010