Poetry: Selections from David Hay
(To the Duke)
My dog is dying,
His legs have let
Him down and now he
Can't get up without help.
For Thirteen years
We have been brothers
Barking on the precipice
Of some sweet doom,
Mournful as Frank O'Hara
Shaking ash off our coats,
You with your Mark Bolan
Plume and tiny eyes filled
With your melancholic mystery,
Me kicking rocks
As petulantly as a child.
I try to picture how you used
To lie in the garden
Staring at the birds,
Barking at them when
You could be arsed;
A mockery of your deep-delved
Oh brother, our mother has been
Bludgeoned into thoughtlessness
By an illness I have never heard of,
Which now defines the course
Of both our lives,
And our dad, well
What can you say about
A man trapped in the maze of
His own anxieties.
You're all I have
Of that old family life
And when you go,
In days, weeks
God make it months,
I will kiss you on the head,
Let your last breaths
Stitch the last notes of your heart
And walk, alone,
Drinking coffee as memories
Cascade down from the peaks of
All my present thoughts.
Above monuments of ash,
Fermented leaves cascade down the sky
And eyes thick and buttery
View nameless landscapes
Made of shadowed dreams and blue-bottle wings
That create bridges in the sky,
Leading to regions unknown by vision or touch.
Magicians of the social shroud and strut,
Eyes smeared with futures comfortable and predictable
Whisper dark nothings to the heart of every star.
With my homeless stare,
And clothes styled on the dead,
I pick up a worm,
Raise it to the sun,
As if it symbolised all man’s fragility
Before tulips drenched in the orange blood of the sun
Erupt out of his eyes,
Its stems burned into the smoke of sorrow.
I breathed in my last childhood dreams
And coughed until my throat slicked with fire
Birthed from the devil’s first laugh
Spits out dust.
Eat the open wind I shout,
Madness kissing my eyelids
Until their like sardines dripping with autumn sadness.
Gone! The pigeon cries,
Notes clicking against the stars,
Fastened on the lightning,
Slicing through thunder
Until its fruitless rage is held in my bowels
And expelled until I see myself an old man,
Unable to discern the toilet from the sink.
The hours cannot contain my grief,
I get up, go to work, smile and pretend
My brain isn’t throwing up toxic fumes.
Oh lord, when did I become predictable,
Swifts pour down the black hole of the sky
Into my open mouth, becoming one with my blood
Cells within cells within cells.
Goodbye mum, goodbye forever.
This morning the woman long-drenched
in my sweat and dreams
walked out and left the door open.
It will be open all night,
sentiment forbids its shutting.
A sad song makes its way through the opening
unhindered by language;
it speaks to me as much
as the flowers blooming in the eyes of the dying,
and the mouth once full of empty words
vomits not scripture but grass upon my naked frame.
Bodies too long arched in 9 to 5
and the lonely shower masturbations with warm beer,
are the imaginings of an unloved mind and nothing more.
Our T.V is half-buried,
it props up the apple-tree
recently planted with our hands,
mine more feminine than yours.
The cats are sleeping in their self-designated places,
committed to thoughts unheralded by human tongue.
I think of your eyes as alcohol makes madness tangible
and the cold of the house emboldens thoughts
The morning opens,
I push my head through the window and angle my face upwards,
the horizon swallows me whole.
When she comes home the door will shut,
the cats will be pulled to the centre of her orbit
and my eyes smarting from a lack of sleep will blink
with the quiet return.
David Hay is an English Teacher in the Northwest of England. He has written poetry and prose since the age of 18 when he discovered Virginia Woolf's The Waves and the poetry of John Keats. These and other artists encouraged him to seek his own poetic voice. He has currently been accepted for publication in Dreich, Abridged, Acumen, The Honest Ulsterman, The Dawntreader, Versification, The Babel Tower Notice Board, The Stone of Madness Press, The Fortnightly Review, The Lake, Selcouth Station, GreenInk Poetry, Dodging the Rain, Seventh Quarry and Expat-Press. His debut publication is the Brexit-inspired prose-poem Doctor Lazarus published by Alien Buddha Press 2021.