John Wilkinson


Face the examination table,
watch fluorescence flatten
body parts
moulded as displays, consciousness
fill space
with others different from his/her
button. Her long approach
with the sun ablaze above it.

How if the trap were to open,
blue leap,
then, then
ant caps to crumble, massed
volumes to stream emissaries
for her approval, convoys for her
button. There the exact stem.
Pull forward. Further flares.

Intact as the mouth parts,
poking out its rich
biscuit. Button it, yes button,
past/present tense imagine flow
systems they stanch.
Floating consciousness
raids the sharps, fills a waste-
paper bin like a stoker’s hole flares.


Who was warm stone,
smelt of flint,
felt like moss & lichen, my
reflected mother.

Then falling at an angle
chill rain promulgated,
I claimed basalt for my so
cheerful pillow,

pillow rock or mortar,
neck brace
or executioner’s block.
All turns about –

through the night I
dissolve in hot pumice,
breathe basalt,
cooling my made mother.


Steel-plated, copper-bottomed but reflecting low
Activity, heaves a gouting cloud for this bestowal –
And in its thickening, in its involutions growls
Then pads, all too real and physical. No contact,

No direct channel, even if lightning crazing jelly
Air fills the vacancy. On earth nothing weighs,
Most like this dope fridge, what can it symbolise?
Nevertheless high airiness bestows a needed mass,

Mass bestowing weight on the dry cracked cloth,
Chalk falls and is frittering, dust jettisons in white
Seed explosions against walls, the jellied light
Blinks in time with clouds’ complicating. At best

A surveyor narrowing her eyes on a mobile screen
Chock with scurrying inaction, focuses as though
Given due weight, and such goes for all those
Who sleep in dust but definitely leave their mark.

Once more to rush at floating booms, once more
To clear the harbour. It’s a bonus for posterity
The dead should make their bed in preCambrian
Schist, that surely every last drop can be expressed

From the rustling of their sorely flattened dialects
Making haze churn. So here goes. Standards drop,
A golem shapes dust and vapour, parturient,
To lower on its haunches serving all generations:

It’s visible. This does not finish with the signature
Fantastically elaborated. What went out as a rough,
Fills empty matter between sky and inmost fire
With shocks of forces quivering still in realisation.


Milkmaids who pressed the button barn,
what within the cubicle forced back and stripped,
loosed its life-long radiance, its maddening
delivery, this non-existent tuning air.

Birds are singing otherwise. They wish to seal
hairline cracks, they wish to caulk. Leather
shines outlastingly at corners of the back stairs,
maids repeat their song on high.

Rough brick feels warmer than a powdered cheek,
rough brick and a clanking furnace door.
Air seeps through anonymous maids’
outbursts – all that’s bound shines also,

perilously near the tack-room. Guzzle away.