Fate’s Catalyst

You were Fate’s catalyst and now the moon roars
Out your name. The ground has shifted;
Tectonic changes;

The leaves have already fallen.
Nothing here can move quickly.
Constant rain. Perpetual drizzle.

This is the climax of brooding sky:
The world in an arthritic cast.
I sink deeper into my chair

And into nowhere, remembering
Our epoch opening like an atrium.
I sit alone. I separate

The night’s black veil to watch
A rabble of stars that slowly appear,
Submerged and drunk and melancholy

Tumbling out of the dark.
I think of you as though in seance
And our last night rises up from the air.

I have never heard a more
Honest and open cry
Than the rising howl you made that night:

Our last night, when I held your hand in the rain
And you held not just mine back,
But everything together –

And I never even realised,
All that time that I held you,
That you were a moment

That I let fall into nothingness.
You were the planet’s core, you were magma-glue,
And that’s why the happiness stuck to us.

If it was raining then the sky did not bother your tears.

The Ballet

The light collapsed with the weight of dusk
As we went to watch the ballet.
We only ever went that one time.
A special performance. In fact
I had never seen ballet before
Or since – it wasn’t me. But you,
You had. You loved it, lived it,
Regularly. It was a childhood dream.
However you had missed the chance;
Apparently “You have to start when you’re young”.
The opportunity had departed
Like a missed train. No second chances.

But I remember that night because
It was the first time I found a bad evening.
We had left the bedroom overturned,
Littered with arguments over nothing,
But your barbs were like arrows
Craving the sight of a Sebastian.

Suddenly you didn’t seem like you –
Or at least, not one that I knew.
It wasn’t. The first of many.
A temporary distance.
Your face clamped shut to barricade you in:
Your voice hidden as a pearl.
You described it as your mind becoming
Untrustworthy.

We arrived and entered the theatre
Quietly. It echoed like a church
Without the crosses. Hushed voices.
It was already not going well;
We were always late and lost.
We searched for our places in the dark,
Repeating our seat numbers
Like the combination to a safe,
Relaying up and down the aisle
As though hunting for lost keys,
Until the right row finally appeared –
We had somehow lost a letter from the alphabet.

We sat down.

The ballet teetered on the precipice.
The curtains quivered like lips
Of the Red Sea. We awaited a Moses.
I tried to pry open the silence
But every time I spoke, I saw you
Shrug away my words
Like they were only air.
The lights dimmed further.
The music opened floodgates.

Dancers poured out from the wings,
Spilling onto the stage in a torrent
Of song-spun pirouettes, soaring jumps,
Blurring into more than humans.
Their black feathered costumes combining
And undulating like returning birds.

The room rumbled with awe.
The air swelled with approval.
The audience reinforced grace.
And I didn’t understand a thing –
Nothing more than childlike-mesmerised;
Open mouthed, as though held
By a magician’s watch.
Occasionally I tried to whisper
Something meaningful, non-elevator.
Mostly I blinked forwards.

You understood like it was home.
Awakening gradually,
Eyes like sparked coals,
The dancers pulled you out from your depths
And lifted you up like one of them
To the surface on the tide of red velvet.
Your face beamed; sunflower joy;
Turning to find the sun
Just as you couldn’t imagine
That it would ever reappear.

Eventually the curtains closed
And I found your smile, resuscitated
Inside of some clothes
That you don’t usually wear.

Hawk

Nothing owns the air like this hawk
Before this here kill. He commands the air
Like a sovereign to a subject.
The cloud hunter, outstretched

Feathered fingers holding back rotations.
He waits for the death moment –
No thunderclap, an ominous cloud
Of silhouette congealing above

Carefully hung from the sky,
Blowing in the breeze like washing.
This is his birthright.
He is honed by a million egg-cracks.

A hovering executioner;
A sprawling of God.
Steady as a surgeon’s hand,
Shadowing death like a drone.

He surveys his surroundings,
Readying his eye like a strongman’s muscle,
And prepares to conclude life
And roll away the world in revolutions.

He toys with the perfect kill.
The evening is alive with anticipation.
The heavens breathe in.
Seconds pass like tremors

While he makes us all wait,
Bobbing and brooding
On the sky’s surface like oil –
A black buoy.

He holds my gaze like a prey,
Ricochets against the wind
Like the swing of a hammer,
And then plummets only to make the skyline fall.


This poem recently arose after travelling through France when stood by the car during a petrol pit-stop, I saw a bird of prey (I believe it was a hawk, although I’m not completely sure) seemingly levitating out above a field in the near-distance while hunting. It was quite something: motionless. It could have been hung from the clouds. It was probably quite an ordinary sight, however the image of that bird, stuck on the sky, also stuck with me – following me over the next few days like the predator that it was.

Consequently I tried to capture the suspense in that moment, the tension in that air of sky, the metaphors that lurked within, and the power of that hawk as it controlled the air – it became, unavoidably, my own Hughes ‘Hawk Roosting’.

Enjoy the poetry, and don’t forget to like and follow for more new poetry every Friday.

Luca

Our Winter

That winter looked too good on you.
It adored you, like a mother –
Birth certificate confusion.

The summer was almost obvious.
Winter was better. Lurking.
You could camouflage in the cold.

But it was also something more profound:
Months followed you, mirroring.
The skies seemed to shiver.

A world hiding in hibernation
While I watched your cheeks blister;
Dimpled red apples, licked by frost.

The tarmac crunched like rubble underfoot
As you spun away, plucking out the air
With the premonition of blossom

Concealed somewhere deep in your smile.
You knew the eventuality of change
And I opened each day like a gift.

God. You were gut-punch beautiful.
In the devotion of those short, dark days
Nothing could stop you.

But like the snow, tumbling
Down altitude’s umbilical cord,
It all soon would be fallen.

You Sleep Between the Sighs and the Sunrise

You sleep between the sighs and the sunrise:
Scratch marks running down your back like train tracks,
Chasing the curvature of your pale spine,
The memories of the moans in the black.
You wake each day with fresh finger traces,
Repeatedly healed in the night until new.
Different; distant. Slowly, you are time-changed –
A concertina of hands holding you.

But not mine. Now I just stitch the remnants
Of what is left in the dark of my dreams,
Wearing your aftershocks as a pendent,
Oscillating wildly between extremes.
The doctors would call my love a crisis.
My lips condense heartbreak into silence.

Voices

I want dull, full-fat vowels
And my words like hammers.
I want to hit you about the eyes
With a broad Yorkshire birth-twang
And let it resound like a vow
In the inside of your head.

Nothing refined or polished.
I want real: I want earthy.
Not planned hendecasyllables
Or genome-mapped love sonnets –
Give me shaman-muttered rituals,
A world with peripheries.

And yet the acid-wash BBC RP
Clings to me like wet denim.
I hear myself slowly moulded
By a coca-colonisation
That restrains my conversation,
Suppresses a guttural tongue;
The inexorable pull
Of the next, wet rung of the ladder.

I reach for my Northern drawl
And find a voice that is air-locked,
Dolled-up, maimed and cut-glass,
When I want simple like cut grass.
My identity drummed down, beaten back,
Vague, beige, imprecise, unmoored –
Like a touch of gentrifying plague.

However the child-sounds are still there.
Like hidden birthmarks.
A lurking bloodline moor-wolf
Waiting to be found, nurtured
And drag me back down
To the autochthonous, muddy roots.

To the urban grey, the cultural downplay,
The howling wail of a sectioned city;
Sanguine heather, tobacco grass,
Crumpled-paper hills buckled at the knees
Sighing ice-white vein streams.
But now, it’s at my feet in a mongrel heap:
Decaying Viking grunts and growls: fuck:

Inject them back in, give me origins
In my throat thudding like a jugular,
Caustic verbs like errant sparks,
Burn down dry wooden shacks of poetry
With a pyromaniac pen and knuckle cracks.

Love, love, love.
Come, step back together –
Just to look, watch, bask
With our charcoaled hands like iconoclasts
As the house we built is engulfed
With licks of tongue-fire.
Let it all burn in a bonfire
Until there is nothing left but sulphur
And the stone heart on the pyre.

Smell the smoke. Hear the wet dirt vocals.
Feel the charred, ancestral gasps of the locals
And the low groan of forgotten gods.
Here I am. Hear – I am
With you, too. I didn’t do it alone.
You are with me like an accomplice;
It falls only because you give it sound.

You see, we need to strip it down
Until we have flayed the flesh pink
And hit granite.
Each page a flint, rocky outcrop
And each poem rediscovered bones,
Architectural bones,
Ajar like a skull’s open-mouth jaw.

This then is a reclamation.
And when the fire-fallowed lines
Have plunged down like mines
Reaching for something pure,
In the flickering ash and cinders
We can gaze at the smouldering
Words: ripe with original sin and true-raw.

Underwater

I caught you once, trying to dissolve.
The water cupping you with candlelight
And the flames flickering incantations –
You punctured a quiet ring of shadows
As a dwindling in the dark.

You had sunk yourself in the bathtub
Trying to escape, kicking below the surface
And shaping the sinless fluid around you
As your last compromise: an urban night-lake.
You bathed between the porcelain lips
And bubbled for rebirth.

The surface tightened above
Until your lid on the world was taut
And you were sealed away.
And then you pushed, towards breath’s edge.
Immersed in a warm vat of underworld,
Disappearing into pale ripples
With your eyes closed.
I watched your hair wave goodbyes

While the tiles echoed like sirens.
I stood there, almost alone
In that airlock of cascading waterdrops,
Scrutinised by splintering futures
As condensation dripped down the walls
Like freely abseiling wet spiders
With refracted hyena eyes.
Each enclosing droplet, a tear
Brimming with imperatives.

You needed me to embody saviours
With my trembling hands –
But you were womb-smothered,
Submerged, dulling heartbeats, lost
Weeping naked-open from your wrists
And my body was a still purgatory,
Hearing the muted thuds reverberating upwards

While you waited; underwater, urging
For me to become the same shade of void
So I could join you in the below
And we could dissolve and emerge together.