The smelter at the southernmost tip
of the island
is an industrial vision.
With a pier that swings out
into a curving ocean that's all
bluster and choppiness.
To watch a cargo vessel
limp up the lanes
and deliver its hold of ore
is absolute voyeurism.


You place a tumbler
of chalky water
by your bedside lamp.
To sip with your insomnia.
Which stalks you.
Which only fizzes out
when the stars wink out.
Then your mind,
tighter than a meat safe,
greets the morning.
You wrap your crocheted quilt
around your shoulders
and heave yourself up.
It is laborious.
Being alive.


The stink of detergent.
Industrial strength.
The place is a morgue
of dribbling men
whose war medals
mean nothing: shuffling
scarecrows society forgot.
And my old man
is among them.


My books are ranged quietly
on the shelves.
I open a cover,
they speak to me
entrancing stories.
Their split spines
show they've been loved,
rocked over in the small hours.
They are lovelier, fuzzier
than the psychotic medicines
prescribed to me.
They consume me.
When my eyes fade and die
I shall boom their first lines
from memory.


I shall never see
the blue towers
or walk the cobbled beach promenades
of surreal cities
sweltering under tropical suns.
I am cursed to mooch
the fringes of marshes,
the raw places that befuddle
mapmakers. I shall never
top up my tan.
Only the mosquitoes
shall sing to me.


My pen is plump
with some scrollwork
round its middle.
With my thumb and forefinger
squeezed at the tip,
I delve with it.
Into the secret acts
which leak from all my
pores. I am in love,
watching the looping handwriting,
the heavy nib
into the ink you read.
Your sainted mind
shivering with my vision.


We hid our bikes
in the bushes
ate some blackberries
from scratchy vines
till our fingers were sore.
We giggled wildly
at nothing,
the purple juice
trickled down our chins,
we whooped with laughter.
I cannot explicate
the crazy happiness
we felt: we were alive.