Spider Spiding

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2012

I saw a spider spiding
and you know it saw me too.
You’re not supposed to see them spide.
They always know when you do.

You’ve seen them spinning thinning
wettened strands of flattened flax
and standing, guarding statue-still
like soldiers by their cracks,

those black cracks in your paint-peeling ceiling,
the ones that used to be yours
until the spiders came and stayed
and spided and left you the doors.

You know what spiding is to spiders
and you know you’d never admit it.
We all pretend they’re just trappers and catchers and
crawlers and creepers and nothing else in it

but they’re spiders. Voracious with it, traitorous,
pernicious and vicious inhuman little
blighters with their spiding, biding their time,
day and night as they wait, saving their spittle,

saving their flies, slavering hideous bile on their smiles,
disguising the spindle sharpened taloned legs they’re hiding
behind their manifold red eyes and fangs and other rattling swords,
there just to dampen the sickening silence of spiding.

If you see a spider spiding,
they’ll always see you too.
You know they like their spiding secret.
You won’t know what to do.

Old Muse

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2012

Lately you’ve been on my mind.
I’ve been thinking of you
the way old speakers think of great speeches
and hold a smile at the wall, surface satisfied.

The kind of thoughts that start with smells
and grow with every thinking,
blue or bronze flat skies that grow beautiful
by what’s in front of them

and meals that become favourites,
films filed down as hidden gems,
mistakes maturing into tragedies
and memories murmuring to bits.

Do I get on your mind like that?
Do you talk about me as though I were
funny, and romantic or something,
and thoughtful and not

the kind of guy who’d talk to you
when you weren’t listening
and would paint you onto vases, later,
with silhouette arms that are just too

long, and really, you could be anyone,
anyone special?

Dead Pigeon

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2012

Dear dead pigeon in the Longfield car park,
you’re not looking so good.
You’re spread-eagle, your neck to one side,
your deft little wings mechanically unveiled,
your collar cracked over, your beak barely perched
on the tarmac it scratched

I don’t want to move you.
It’s cold.

‘m worried about touching
your treadmarked breast, the rubber that stamped out
your pretty-in-miniature pastel painted entrails,
your swan-song, dashed through and sputtered beside
your squat, etched icon body.
Dead, bleached, ugly and unremarkable.

I don’t want to go on.
I just came to see if
Iceland was open at night.

Dream Serial

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2011

If we’d never left Eden, dreams wouldn’t be
what they are: teasing and muzzy little clips
out of David Lynch films, clumsily halting and cut
as sarcastic parental warnings,
elastic metaphorical taunting from a part
of our minds too dumb or too scared to impart
what it wants to, to us.

They’d be serials. Flashy and marvelous
chunks of adventure, no more ethereal visions,
conjecture, departure, just cliffhangered,
thrilling big-budget six-parters, beginning
on Monday and taking a rest for cartoons,
cheering us up, making us laugh until
in the morning we take a cold bath and complain,
‘Aw, dad. Pirates again! I wanted cowboys this week.’

In Case of Dementia

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2011

I’m the old man with dementia who
used to be an author.
I wrote this before all that happened. I was

that the books I’ve collected might
still be where they are, neglected,
stained with stale coffee by weary sons
too dry-eyed to read.

Carers now urge me to rhyme as
I did, as if I could, and loved ones

pushing back their lives, putting up with
mine and their passive aggression
(as they know I would for them if
I could). Wishing I would die as

now they mouth ‘thanks’
to a carer, or a lover with a petrified smile,
trying to help. Let this do
for memories.