The matriarch

The matriarch

Crows fly out of my mouth,

And starlings, and riots of tuis,

Adding to morning’s clamor.

I am the forest that lives inside the city,

This office tower is my eyrie

And my steel gaze on the steel sea

Is the hawk’s squint piercing

The wrinkled hide of this harbour.

All of the above mine to command

Should I choose it. I am of the flock

And the cloud. The hard sea bore me

In on the gale-struck tide.

Sailors and wise men fear me

When I lower my glasses

Down my beak-hooked nose.

The Town Belt is my dogskin

And your sculptures adorn me,

Metal in my hair and eyes,

Plastic ringed around my neck.

I am your fire at night, I bring shape

In the wallowing dark to you,

Adoptive home, you, womb

Beside the seaside. I reach out

With great grey wings to catch

Your peach-tipped sunrise

And bottle it for the winter.




Shoes stack up like promises in the closet.

I wonder how some of these ever fit me.

Must be a time to cast away stones:

And so that’s how I came to be here,

Bag of old rag and me by the street corner

Figuring how best to obey the road rules

As I wait for this natty red roadster

To figure out what the fuck it’s doing.

Whatever you do, mad little bag lady,

Don’t act the Tarot card you resemble,

Fool and his knapsack. We don’t hunch,

Not like it was when I was teenaged

And all chin and shoulders, Quasimodo’ing

My invisible way across danger and out of it.

No no. Be a man. Stick out your shoulders,

Pretend those tits are pecs, pecs, dammit,

Muscular motherfucking Hercules

In a leather cuirass, pumped up with steroids

Till he looks like Page Three.

Stand with your hips wide, too, let them see

The nothingness that is somethingness,

At least in your mind’s eye, down in

The trouser parts. Oh he’s gonna notice you,

Dressed like Ronald McDonald and Santa’s

Crazed delinquent love child, sack of boots

Slung and ready to deal out Krampus style

Thrashings on his bumper if he doesn’t.

And what if the trick fails? What if he sees

Right through your motley and goes, hey,

Wait, this isn’t Loki trying on new names,

It’s just some bitch trying to out-butch me;

Well what then. We wait, as we always wait,

To let the fools pass us, till we can carry on

With slow steps, towards a place where

We can let down all our burdens.