We three kings

What can I give you
But words from my lips
A breath for your lungs
The breadth of my hips

To feed you and clothe you
And shelter you there
Our hope for the future
Small star that we share

In misunderstandings
All foster more strife
Too coy for the joy
Of a conflict-free life

No formal pronouncements
Of greatness to be
We limit announcements
To those we can see

In feeble concealment
Until you are grown
We’d raise you for strength
A mind of your own

And watching your progress
Will whisper as one
The charms that may comfort
Your sorrows to come

With hands in my pockets
Concealing all pain
I’d walk through the desert
To find you again

Zarafa, my love

With your tiny fingers and toes
Nails so sharp to rake new lines
In your young cheeks
With the fresh sensation
Of shock and awe
We welcome you to this place
Unknowing how to tell you
But with soft touches
Gentle words and careful
Rubs to soothe your stomach
As it navigates for the first time
Those aspects of life
That are harder to swallow
If we are not perfect
Trust us when we swear
We will try ever harder
To understand and be present
For and in all things
That matter to you
Please know that
You are wanted, and needed
And best of all,
You are loved

Giraffe

What kind of world
Will you inhabit
Once we are gone?
Will it be one
Of your own choosing?
New landscapes built
To youthful specifications,
A virtual world, or
Precarious solidity shaped
From the concentration
Of old-fashioned
Children’s toys – perhaps even
Those blue-and-red-stained
Wooden blocks
Of my infancy?
Will our groaning,
Grown-up legacy
Of piecemeal policies,
Poor housing, health,
And knee-jerk reactions
To old threats,
Half-remembered
Leave you with
Too little freedom
And too much responsibility?
However our teachings
Soak into your bones
It will be your turn
To roll the dice
And seek advancement
Or oblivion.
I hope we leave you
Prepared
And with sufficient
Tools to survive
What is
And what is yet
To come.

A Little Number

Before I was born
Just a twinkle
In the universe
Of possibilities

Reflected in eyes
Both bluest grey
And olive green
Did you know me?

Or was the I of me
And mine all one to you?
My seedling promised,
But unplanned

Was a meeting of
Hearts and minds
Foretold in song
To bardic strains

Or merely Cast
Upon the plain and
Simple lines
That sprang and pranced

This two-fold dance
Of fire and ice
Your foreign couplings
Kept apart

By Mother Earth
Who did not dream
Of feelings torn
From the widening

Womb-like walls
And shallow shores
Of an underground
Kingdom

Nuts and Colonels
Carried away
With crowns of pine,
From slender hopes

To careful, caring
Tender traps in
Wadded cotton
Whose snoring sheets

Wedded Pluto’s
Darker dreams to
Persephone’s Oblivion
Before there was me

Trad Family Values (Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault)

Just lie down and take what is coming to you
You are what you did, so we’ll do what we do
It’s justice in action, reaction that’s true
Too carefree? Consent! That’s a license to screw…

So grab her and hold her, we’ll strip and unfold her
To shame her and mould her until she is colder
And never, forever, will she dare to tether
Her hopes to a world run by men for their pleasure

For women are worthless, a hot mess of curses
Who pepper discourses with breathy remorses
Before we’ve an ear for our sisters or daughters
Let’s hear from a father (who’s worth our resources)

We’ve room for opinion from lowest caste minion
But suffer no slights from a beardless cotillion
Whose lips tell us lies underlined in vermilion
Until our frustration will brook no Brazilian

Aesthetic. Pathetic, we seek an emetic
For things so erotic they threaten ascetic
Erratic, and segregate tastes so prophetic
We hasten to hide how out-dated our ethic,

Our very existence. No matter the million
That march to a man to protest latrocinium;
We lie on our laurels; inviolate vision
Society’s structure investing our mission

For power that lingers for hangers and clingers
On scales that still favour us dissolute whingers
We’d rather waste time and resources on mingers
To hide behind preachers and ponces’ long fingers

As patriarch beams in the light of the dawn
With funds for a future of cultural norm
Where birth heralds gifts for the fortunate pawn
Ignoring the cries of their less favoured spawn

The female, though fated one half of our destiny’s
Much underrated when it comes to progeny
Gains more of Percy, than man’s greater mercy,
Imprudent, heretical, breeds controversy

These creatures that litter the cracks of society
Were cast-off to bear any bare impropriety
Innocence spares them no bolt of anxiety
As toys for affections of gendered variety

And what of the male as he wanders the land
Silver spoon in his mouth, and a viper in hand
Teasing Eve at his leisure, all going as planned
A man for all seasons, the first of the damned

So clothing was tattered and fluids were spattered
By elders and betters, by people who mattered
Unwanted attentions that blistered and battered
Assault is a compliment, you should feel flattered!

Tradition dictates we must buy them by rite
Postponing delight for our own wedding night
But those who are wayward and troublesome might
Be the better for all that you force on them. Right?

By the width of her bosom or breadth of her seat
You can tell what she wants in her life is your heat
Just ignore what may pass for false modesty, cheat:
If she struggles, you’re stronger, why beat a retreat?

What use is a woman that beggars belief?
But an ornament, decorative, for relief
(And it isn’t a rape if you aren’t a thief
Of virginity), so she’ll submit to your brief

And untalented fumbling, your grunting and mumbling
For out after dark, her experience humbling
Is nothing she doesn’t deserve, just a tumbling,
Yes, shame is the answer, to curtail such crumbling

Societal pillars, though riveted girders
Are challenged with change, so before we go further
Afield for our leisure, let’s talk about murder
And those whose encounters may help feed our fervour

But careful, what soft thought may break through this wall –
The footsteps grow louder, the voices still call
For a change to opinions, stacked for a fall
Bring an end to such violence, once and for all

Scotched Stereotypes

What’s your connection with Scotland?
Well it seems that I owe it my birth:
Mum met dad in Dundee.
And they later had me.
Could that be connection enough?

I’m afraid I have never been back there.
Perhaps you were hoping for more
Of a recent connection –
With local inflection?
I’m sorry to seem like a bore.

Though my parents went touring the Highlands
And they both played to Edinburgh crowds;
Spent some time up in Perth
With old friends and much mirth –
Still, I’m not sure it could be allowed.

For I never have eaten a Mars bar
That’s been battered and dunked in a vat.
I don’t fling, or toss cabers;
Quote Burns to the neighbours;
Wear kilts with no undies and that.

So perhaps you cannot call me Scottish;
More a botched-up attempt at a clan.
Though my dreams were conceived there,
I won’t be believed fer
A wee bonnie lassie o’Glen.

The Overlooked

The frostbitten urban landscape equals poetry for the unequal.
A land of opportunity, of quick fixes and slow deaths.
Coated in slogans, we make our way through the world,
Cushioned from the harsh blows we are dealt by our velour-clad thighs,
Our Nike, our Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger.
Waiting around in the cold for a better future,
Watching hope fade away, going up with the smoke rings we blow.
Banded together, we brothers and sisters, by a common goal
It is not our apathy that sets us apart from society,
But society’s abdication of responsibility towards us.
And we wait, some in hope, some in fear,
Some having lost the will to fight, some only steadfast with faith in failure.
Whether our own, or that of others on our behalf.
It’s all one to us, marching without a banner, fed on an over-rich diet of empty words,
Our minds undernourished by rhetoric, and our hearts raw and bleeding.
Our ranks swelling with every step, every door closed to us, other avenues barred,
We gather together in a column, with low morale and high birth rates,
We shall yet overcome, but what will we win?
For to conquer the world is not enough.  One must also learn to live in it.

To know peace

Your kiss surrounds, envelops and overwhelms me.  Like a drink of cool water in deserted climes, you bring me to life.  As oxygen to a mountain hermit – I have lived so long without you, but now you awaken my body, breathe fresh strength and new wisdom to my limbs and my mind.  I look upon you and I am reborn.  I look upon you and I know beauty in its true form.  No platonic fancy, this, but love.  Of a depth to drown out all the world, and with time, a gravity to outlast the stars themselves, returning over and again to itself, refreshed, renewed, remade in its own image, and I fall – twisting and turning, over and over, toppling, spiralling – I fall in kaleidoscopic dreams and I know peace.