The Market Decides

The Market Decides

We are lived by powers we pretend to understand – Auden.

a returning ache
cold rain
and a film of damp on the mantle

feels like autumn
though the calendar and clock
show the equinox is months off

a thirst for order
normally not noticed
parches the throat

traps you in five parts to order thoughts
which had no such thought behind them
when closest to conception


shrink wrapped
all first fears coalesce
in a christmas market memory

the town     chattering
congregates in duffel coats and shellsuits
hot-rocked by sparklers and soapbar

coal dust sparks from the hearth
and petrol thrown
on funeral pyres of livestock

that ignite the barren fells
around the market square
drawing stares years into the future

now then     first of five emerges in image searches
hiding from extinctions
in a reconstructed daydream

shielding his eyes as through his own
he hunts himself by scent and sounds
these stills and scanning lasers lead us back to

fast motion over Ravenglass sands
no footprints left among beached crabs
and the silica sculptures an absent ocean
carved in Sellafield’s shadow

a mechanised gaze now
clicks between colour and
the monochrome of childhood documentary,
dazzling ions as yet
undeveloped in darkness

your own voice calling your own name
phases as it’s doubled tracked     making it
metallic when re-received

other too cold and close to be other
than you        we called it Guardian
then we forgot


the sun of sunday school genesis
irradiates with knowledge
and small feet run for shade and shelter

but end up back at the market square
built of a hundred recurring
conversations carols and coughs

the dry of december air
freezes vowels hard selling
chops and legs on beds of ice

o small world bound by cut stone and bricks
limestone scars and repetition
this and there is too much for you


the first kid hides in a subterranean stairwell
head peeping at toe height as ears tune out
the voices and marching tracks of boots on snow

tune in to the hummingbird thrum
of a heart tacchycardic for a first time
which always feels like the last

no matter how many times we others
brush this moment
from our futures


the chattering recedes
pushed aside by something preceding
and following him          and all of us

fast forwarding from the tide line
along train tracks taken
grey ribbons of road from the booster seat

past white scars of lime and fingers
stroking the ammonite imprints
that insignificance

even as this conjoining rush past
viaducts and pay phones hones
these myriad spheres to a monad

all sound reduced to the tinnitus charge
of a flash bulb reddening his scanning eyes
as darkness explodes for a fractioned second
leaving us gasping on dry light


then ghosts begin their slow and neon dance
with each blink of the eyelids, becoming
like forms we know and yet evading us

the movements we lose between strobe lights
and stressors    the kick drums    footsteps    downloads
the fixtures of cadence