Arraigned Excelsis in Suburban Winter
The boundary of infinity, its horror void contained in an anthrax picture frame, This archetypal death in life, this concrete in motion, this conjoined voyeur, This tundric countenance, This obfuscation of reclusive handsome, This recent aversion from habitual preen, pick and comb in the hallway mirror, This slipshod, wall-grip, trudge-drudgery, This thaw to laugh at his fails, fall and falter; Don’t destroy yourself in a little bit of snow. The pocket crumb memoirs of long chomped snacks afloat in streaks of mustard mastic, The micro-discordant, cyclonic schluppety of coked nose, The hunger it staves, The breaking of background nations and foreground hearts, The amplified ice-crack-alike of the shoring apart Of the two sides of a pre-sliced frozen muffin. Home is a hope for the future and a surety lodged in the past: I’ve been thinking of you all my life But, you’re not what I’ve been waiting for; Don’t destroy yourself in a little bit of snow. By This Or That Street Or Bench Or Gate by this or that street or bench or gate, privet channels wrought by the stomp and trample of kidlets en route to dens within dens within the density of municipal park boundary delineating thickets; by this or that street or bench or gate, eschewing the ‘No Ball Games’ cul-de-sacrilege, the ‘No Cycling’ signs hammered aloft by the ‘Bureau of Cut-Throughs’, the riven floes of summer Sunday mirth overspill, on overspill Estates… just as that brazen, criss-crossin’ o’tit-bits and the rat-a-tat of jaw-jaw are now recalled as the molten motion of a golden age, so are the freeze-frame, discoloured, Disc-Camera photographs, 35 years on, reclaimed from dusty bottom drawers for the mantle of a ‘Northern Heritage’ exposé in which we were the crust and core; cut adrift, thencefrom, the coltish, kiddy-clan, brick-built bucolics by the severity of severally meted teen-gang fist’n’flicks from which I still, in mid-life, twitch from the witness thereof, by this or that street or bench or gate… incoterms (poem also in Bare Bones Writing Issue 1) There are no incoterms for smuggled, cut narcotics; You’ll pay in bouquets of necroses And spindle-pinscher, tweezer-tease Of scabs where syringe pricks hath pitched and roamed To foam the cauls of laced, iced, blood on fire. Each draw a dull microcosm of ‘endgame’ That disequips motion from churning stases of belligerence; Have you noticed no encore called for you, Or your presence, or your bore-jaw; ne’er no more. And, if your teacher smacked you in the mouth For a verbal rout with the pastor in ’84 As he cupped your puber balls Calling you out for indecent exposure. Some o’erseer suit’ll write your ma ‘n’ pa And say you’ve been wanking in class And then the beatings will alternate Betwixt centripetal and centrifugal force majeure! And the wavering flesh turns sclerotic And the trackmarks anthracitic And the mind to a doughty blancmange The flavour of which is undiscerned: And the ‘base-mix’ powder tamped And the groundswell gullies of comedown earned And the hackling hawkings of crows unknown Slow in their circlings, swoop in predate to confirm There are no incoterms at all. Bio: Barney Ashton-Bullock is the poet in the hybrid poetry/pop projects Andy Bell is Torsten and the Downes Braide Association. His poetry is widely published in cult journals in the US, UK, Eire and Canada including in Travesties, Queerlings, Poetry Bus, both of the ‘Avalanches In Poetry’ tribute anthologies to Leonard Cohen, the Dreich pamphlets ‘Famous’, ‘Ismism’, ‘Pop’ & ‘Response’, the Pilot Press ‘Queer Anthology Of Healing’ and in the Broken Sleep Books Aphex Twin anthology. His recent pamphlets are ‘Café Kaput!’ (Broken Sleep Books, 2020), ‘F**kpig Zeitgeist!’ (Cherry Red, 2021), ‘Bucolicism’ (Cherry Red, 2021), ’Geopoliticus, Pupsy!’ (Red Ceilings Press, 2022) with his latest collection, ‘Cul-de-Sacrilege!’ due for publication by Polari Press in October, 2022.