Bear Grylls: The Island

His oar rubbed squeak along the rail of his boat,
the shuffle of tennis shoe on Davis Cup court
echoing out across the mangrove rain forest.

Grylls was afloat with no Internet,
no knife,
rations were low,
the buttons on his shirt blown,
shot through,
his torso bare behind broken stage curtain mid-part before opening night review.

There was a sign stretched across the horizon.
Grylls was hypnotised,
the tides drawing him closer to the
bedsheet, made by kids, written on in Crayola, bamboo pole handled banner:
I'VE LOST A FATHER AND I MISS HIM EVERYDAY.

Bear held his gut in his palm, a
n
e
e
d
l
e
branch had lashed out of the no surf
puncturing his lung
and he died breathless in his boat:
the Amazon is as lethal as it looks,
this sign makes sense now.

world poetry day 2016

we were stood where petrol station forecourts go to die,
Jason and his rocket arm too,
kicking rubble into rubble fires,
mumbling, Turin couldn't crack it either, over the silly things,
yoga mat rolled back up ripples bleeding from mouths, exorcising chuckles every so often,
putting out the wound of brief recalled playtimes below,
and all of them, there,
in the haze of Nevada or where ever,
Peckham, perhaps,
amounting to nothing more than the tips they had once collected,
standing 10 meters away from the fireworks instead of the intended 25 the packaging recommended.

Some danced, really lost themselves in it,
some sat, really lost themselves in it,
but most sang a song in their head,
withholding calls, withheld their caller ids,
catastrophizing every syllable until the score became unreadable.

One Born Every 22 Seconds

One Born Every Minute tears from fathers who didn't know they could love something as much as that as just then.
There.
On camera.
The, you can breathe now, sir moments that politely jab you in the side every time you see a plastic bag in the wind,
or hear Kevin Spacey narrating some space stuff,
seeing people helping older people across the road, it's all there,
weightless in the back corner of their gaze, mane black and tidy,
every how-to manual from Haynes Ford Transit Connect to wiping tears from tired faces
memorised
and rehearsed,
ready to impart to a smaller version of them:
a somewhat man about to become an somewhat Cezanne who's just been given a paintbrush.

And the birth goes without a hitch,
they're unmarried, but it's fine
because I think this kid's in good hands,
look at how much they can't believe their own luck.

You did that.

Zumba's a Killer

Shed the bootstraps,
who needs laces now you've got a desperate hallway
under the influence of two toy guns
and your vague idea of vogue;
they're on their knees in the corner over there
yet you've set boundary field borders forcing them into new area codes
but you still want to be president of their Zumba club,
prevail into local history bought-at-a-Post-Office books
as, the woman who didn't give two fucks about anything,
always wearing boating heels in every picture she was surprise-faced in
yet, again, she'd only worn them once on an actual boat,
their boat- her boat in fact-
moored just off of Dunkirk because that was their dream they'd never dreamt of fulfilled by a salary she didn't know how she got,
her Drake Passage hips,
slipstream wind streaks for football club's worth of men, always warring,
and her makeup from the night before is less curated now and more a raw storm footage from the bridge of the Queen Mary 2
and she's screaming inside of the hull,
hating the weather
and the pull of everything bringing her down


and I'm no better.

She loves the wine a little too much,

holding glasses half whatever too close to her already short of breath chest,
and in her head she mimes the tambourine as it's the only silent instrument she can play convincingly with real, Keith Richards and his fingers, passion
that can so easily slip into a self-destructive pattern of fingertips and match heads at the foot of fuses leading along to a girl who might never wake up unless she gets three hundred likes an hour on a photo she took two years ago in a place she doesn't remember that well,
and you'll see her in broad eleven light before some lecture or wherever
and it'll look like her eyes have been skipping shots over the backs of weekdays hoping to sleep off her hangover before the week starts back up again,
her lashes matted like a breakfast fruit bowl, more debauchery and sugar on top of those please moments of nowhere despair
and in her head,
overseen by her Bambi heart,
drip, drip, drop
little April showersplays
behind,
all the time,

and the UPS man has just delivered a cat
to the door, a Shadowfax male treading gently around the floor
looking for catnip and romance, and maybe the girl with the wild wine obsession.