Monday, April 2, 2018

Four Poems by Peter Cowlam


Your singer whispers incantations
Like a monomaniac,
But tells you the supposition
Is of endless combinations.
What’s permitted
Is an evolution, nothing bounded
By the finite
Or the ephemeral. This is the theory
You need, to recompense
Those hours expended fruitlessly.
You sigh, relieved: ‘This thing
Is then infinite?’

Or perhaps it’s indiscriminate. 

Public Decrees

All is transparency,

rose red
in the black white
squares of dawn,

a pale electric
in an afternoon mizzle,

a pattern
of charcoal type

on glass,

then windows
vectored on an emptying

where everything is velvet

After Queneau

It was him, not me, clean-shaven, hatted,
Youthful (yes), scrawny like us, and wizened
At the neck. That fool in his belated
Queue for the bus waited with indecision.

Along came an S or a number ten,
Its grim interior crammed and heaving.
He squeezed his way inside, and coughed (a den
Of fag smoke), but what was he achieving?

Commuter alienation, through things
He’d refused to learn. This, for example:
A kicked shin is what cursing a strap-hanger brings.

When, eventually, he found a seat, and sat,
A woman stood up, and grazed his ankle,
Then calmly dumped her luggage in his lap.

The Need For Austerity

Malfeasance, misconstructions, depleting
Agonies revived. The ravages since
Left behind you tell me are worth repeating?

Voices best left fractured rise again, splints
On a breaking syntax. You test a crippled
Line of argument, assured I’ll be convinced.

In bovine accents on the air
Oppressors broadcast everywhere.

Since when this hebetude has doubled, tripled,
Gargantuanised itself, with dogged
Assertions pointlessly upheld.

Ravaged – as a prophet – I have logged
The very last word, and ask (again) how shall
We dissolve these politicising fogs?

Rogue censers swinging their potpourri
Stinking of secular popery.

Peter Cowlam’s latest collection of poems, Laurel, is published by CentreHouse Press. Its terrain is love, loss and lovers’ rivalries. 

For Purchase Laurel

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