Leon Brown

Waltz of the Lobsters

(England 2019)

 

Lobsters have slipped the berths of their senses, 

And blithely set sail for the moon,

Dogma serenades dogma across the ballroom of winter,

To a siren's song named 'Doom.'

 

Now sons and daughters of random despair,

Squat beyond circles of Future.

Impaled on shards of austerity dreams; 

While casting around for a suture.

 

It is time, across Europe, to dust down crates,

Hoard crazy little things called 'Hope'.

They may come in handy one night in March,

When we eye up the hangman’s rope.

 

O England you are lost! As never before,

But then you were never really found. 

So chase opium dragons of dark past glory,

To which, like Prometheus, you are bound.

 

Do you remember Grandpa telling you about Dunkirk?

“The war was won on cups of tea”?

“Keep Calm and Carry On” or panic and give up,

This rock of insensibility.

 

"And did these feet in ancient times walk..."

Along shores of desolation?

Waifs washed by waves; teeth biting sand,

Mistaken for doorway relations.

Leon Brown was born in Dorset in 1973. After graduating from King’s College London in 1994, Brown taught English as a secondary school teacher and as an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Portugal and Greece and later at Bristol University. He retrained as an Occupational Therapist. He is also a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Brown's poems have been published in Emergency Verse - Poetry in the Defence of the Welfare State (Caparison, 2011), The Robin Hood Book - Verse Versus Austerity (Caparison, 2012) and on The Recusant. He is currently writing his second novel, The Heart and Soul Army, a dystopian political thriller spanning the years 1970 to 2070. His interests are writing, literature, politics, psychology, film, music, walking and travel.

Euroman and Woman are here but…not for much longer.

"We are better than them and their kind,"

We’ve reclaimed our country after 46 years, 

For golden lobsters gone blind.

 

Hurl that Empire mug against the wall! 

Turn the spoon on invaders to the castle!

Morlocks, Mordor Orcs, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, 

Pass smelling salts or pass the parcel.

 

And then the three deaf mice: Boris, Nigel and Jacob,

Scurry from the skirting boards. 

See how they run! See how they run!

To their hedge of delusional frauds.

 

And once the wrapping paper has been ripped away?

What do you find underneath?

Something wicked this way always a' coming,

In a season of endless grief.

Soap Burns

(Love In A Time of Covid)

 

I turn to face the gurning visage of death,

Firing his darts down my back and left leg.

Entity incubates within my chest and groin,

Upper extremities consumed by

Delicious languor

Sensual stupor.

Gorging on hours slurred to wine glass sedation

Bottle uncorked every Friday night to steal

An oracular breath.

 

All hands upon deck,

All knees to the neck!

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”

Ice-crevasse sweats at the witching hour

As you wake howling from sleep

Into bludgeoned fatigue

Without a top or bottom

A Beginning in search of an End

Jacob’s ladder stabbing your feet.

 

Town with the wind sucked out.

The centre cannot hold or else has gone AWOL

Abruptly popped dirigible

Pricked by absurdity’s hollow laugh

And all because one furry little mammal fell from its perch

In a market in far-off rising Cathay.

 

All hail Entropy!

 

Here I sit in my command module,

Off-white walls foaming their blizzard of nothing.

Shooting a crystal gun through temples  

Sterile, clean, privileged, white

Alone.

Unable to locate the off switch let alone press the ejector seat.

Inoculated against the germs

Imperial Leather and anti-bac our hand maiden’s tales

Each of us now facing our own private Gileads.

 

Here I sit scrubbing and a rub-a dub-tubbing

While they clappety-clap, bish, bosh and bang,

Awopbopaloobopalambamboom!

Hoary-throated, gammon-suckled, beating tin drums

Outside front porches

Freshly swabbed with vinegar

Every Thursday at 8.

Now is the spring of our smug self-content

Made glorious by this festering

Cut-price leg of Great British pork.

They know not why but yearn to be part of something.

Despite placing a cross in a ballot

Against a better society last December

Red cross on a nation’s door.

Bring out your dead only when safe to do so.

And don’t forget to starve the poor.

 

I dimly yearn to be part of nothing

But myself

Whoever he is.

Grimly stifling yawns within my maws,

Soothing soap burns on knuckles

Flesh red raw, raging with volcanic vents;

Legions of lesions.

Yes, Soap Burns

Love hurts

Kisses kill

With an unfurling of lips like a flag.

And fairness and humanity are a blotto-lotto,

In a Season of Death

A land where critical thought is chimera

Decency a mirage in a desert of sloth, dearth and drought  

Typified by big-beasted, blustering, untamed heads of blonde

Holding court in oxygen tents in South London

Or bunkers in old DC.  

 

Here I sit waiting for worms to nod and pay last respects

Hermit-cocooned in atom age cowl

Face mask – CHECK

White Apron – CHECK

Latex gloves – CHECK

This season’s must-have work and leisure wear.

 

Strolling in a daze through mental cloisters

Of words, reflections, laser-queued nostalgias

Lazily scrolling

On a high definition screen

Punctuated by music and uneasy silence

Listening to “Unknown Pleasures” for the 18th time

All roads for the constipated artist scroll back

To that May 1980 evening

That taut washing line

In that Victorian terrace kitchen in Macclesfield

Back to the barrel of Vincent’s shotgun in Auvers

Virginia’s lifeless body floating down the Ouse.

Doggedly determined to ward out a world,

Burning up beyond my window.

Carve it with my sword of encrusted ideals

Sparking against this flint of a misanthrope’s heart

While suddenly the most casual of friends, part-time relations

Hammer on the walls of my solitude

Cracking them, punching through the plaster

Invading through the screens of Androids

Dusted down Skype - in camerata significato.

 

A banal procession of statistics

Invading the living room every night

As I hungrily eye the larder

Half-finished meal balanced on one knee

Bottle of beer on the other,

With only breakfast then lunch and dinner

And an evening stroll by the Styx (Or is it the Severn?)

To look forward to.

 

The riots of spring have ended

Statues have fallen

Sensitivities swoon

More in stock soon.

Sleep pretty wantons do not cry

And I will sing a lullaby. *

 

A ceasefire in the endless chatter of birds.

Electric green and sapphire canopies once erupted above

Now dulled by slate-blanded skies.

Trailing their grime

Tracing the effluvia of a species’ rise and fall

Through an atmosphere which dies once only

Now gorging breathless

On an air supply painfully finite.

 

The wailing and moaning and gnashing

This wrestle between life and death

Must not be for one season only

It must immaculately tattoo the future

Not to be erased

Until something

Is finally done.

 

*Taken from Thomas Dekker ‘Golden Slumbers’ – Patient Grissel (1603)

atos
Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars
spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset
triangle_small
spikes
bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"