Grubs

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

Nob Ed.
He’s a grubby little bastard
and he lets the grubs out, dun E?
He wouldn’t keep the blood flow out
of his grubby little tuber spout if he could, wood E?

He likes to pitch a big top
tent and in his white make-up tin-pot head
it’s meant as a compliment. Ignorant
wanker is what E is innit? Wham bam thank you mammy
when his clammy little mussel’s slid its way down your neck
and you’re sleepin with the fishies swimmin in your keks,
hung out to dry like his shrivelled little swiveller,
grubby little fuckwit in E?
Not like me.

He let his little chicken-bobbing, apple-handed,
izzy-wizzy-let’s-get-jizzy, smutty, silly putty
bouncing turkey baster masturbater out din E?

Like that bluebottle you swatted but it didn’t go flat
on the window, did it?
And its abdomen cracked and a million grubs came out
and it was beggin to be burst.

Dracula’s Really Dead

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

Dracula’s really dead this time
and he’s not coming back when
you bleed on his bones. He’s still
in his tomb this time, still as they
go and when the wind moans
on the mountainside no-one cares
but you and no-one’s behind you,
no-one’s there with a big
bloody
smile for you.
No-one knows that you got scared.

Dracula’s neat black suit is slung-up
and will never be steam-pressed again.
You can put it on and cry on the sleeves.
This time tomorrow you’ll be still
there by the window, still in a frame,
hunched in an arch, eyes red, rolled
back, scrunched-up deep in lid skin,
wishing on a certain
star
and thinking of him
and how he used to watch you sleep.

DRACULA (1958)

 

Hatchets

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

The foundations of the house were brushed iron and wood
– hatchets we had brought and slung, then
dutifully buried, forced into the ground, pushed against
’til the bones in our palms were whittled weak,
and then stamped down by one of us
while the other stomped hard, must-covered soil
off the shovel.

The practice had made the walls stand strong and stay up
– the soil was thick as clay with hatchets
packed into space, lumped in, crammed like a pattern
’til there was no white left showing underground.
And we had made the minefield of their
edges – barely blunted, hardly missing their factory shine
– flat as a flag.

Manly Man on Tarmac

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

Who’s the stubbly man with the big neck
and chest like a wardrobe full of wet coats –
Desperate Dan in all but name and desperation
and boots – and hot feet in his heavy frayed socks?

That’s me. Manning it up, manning what I’ve got

and what I’ve got is two thighs, weighty
as King Kong’s sinewy, salty grey eyes
and hailstones hitting my hard-up fatty tongue
more melting than bouncing as I wait to drink

what’s left of black crystal molasses
from a tiny red can, but it’s not Christmas Coke
not today at least, today
it’s a different bearded rogue spread out

on the front – Captain Morgan –
and what tastes like Panda Cola, his mate.
Dirty.
And you’re not supposed to drink outside.

No Hallows

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

Tonight your kids dress their hooves and yellow their eyes
like Satan, like Pagans with tridents, like sirens and fallen,
begging for chocolate from strangers and secretly
dreaming of razors or hoping for razors
and wanting a razor
in the chewy black centre
waiting to cut their teeth
tonight
before the moon wanes and the wax pools and the wick is lit
for the slippery parades, the cold-curdled festivals of light.
One more night.
And elders – elder than eighteens – wait
in exhilarating silence
for realistic blood and a knife and a violin scream
and slashers and old Hammers and things that are alive
and wings out the window and living dolls that die
and the strength of the one girl
who reds
the plastic mask man and shames his dull white.
She’ll buy it in the sequel and he’ll be gone in the morning,
climb out from under the rock.
It’s all right.
There’s no fear of damnation tonight.

Shark Woods

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

I want to go to that shark infested forest –

you know the one?  The shark forest?

It’s in Guam or darkest Peru
or Vietnam or somewhere like that – the one
where stray knocked-off branches canopy the floor
like so many chopped-off bones and they’re covered
in shredded leaves and shark sweat and chipped teeth –
the one where thick finned beasts slink through trees
looking sideways like tigers and hammerheads wait
in the bits of the blue to sink quick onto your head,
split your cheeks and rip you from eye to chin and say
Smile you son of a bitch! and mash your pulp to
mist with the same serrated paper shredders they
use to say it. You know,

the woods where you look up and the sky’s sliding
with fat-middled bodies and lithe grey lumps with
empty eyes, a spring in their slide and nothing
in their mouths and I don’t know how they got up there
you know? Suppose they just push their way up through
the green-wreathed pale oxygen like human beings climb
into coral when their eyes slip back and their teeth are wet
you know the way I mean? The kind of feeling that
makes you jump backwards into the black and seeth,
I exist to eat smaller fish and mammals if I have to-
and you make your voice cut through the blue sap
inch by inch until you’re in — until you’re swimming in air,
breathing without thinking,

probably something like that.

I don’t know. But you know there’s no time to
work it out down there, deep in the reddening midst
of it, lost in the shark woods down where the bears
daren’t have their picanick, no bleeding body dare risk it,
and everyone knows the sharks don’t share their
splintered wood – if you step inside you’re after your
own hot blood, you’ll be tasting it in the great white’s
slipstream breeze – it’ll rush right through you,
tear you to pieces and scatter your scraps in the bracken
bits of stripped ribs and hands and knees on the muddy bed
below you, you’ll look like a lifeless mermaid lying
sidelong in an indoor fish tank, the paint licked off your
matt-black skin, and buried.

That’s where I want to go. The shark infested forest.

I want to sleep with the dead and live with the big fishes,
make people scream when they see my head crop up, chopped up
loose and changed, fleshy, hanging like languid meat in the
shallows, open like a doll’s eyes, like a dogfish flies – slack
maw, gulping gasps of air like water backed up to the stomach
and bounding up and down and every way through it just spitting
and swimming and chewing whatever I want. That’s what I want,
I want to meet the maneaters in no-man’s land and catch their eyes-
taking sick red chum in my hands and snow white flakes in my
fingers, and grind, like a mad Captain Birdseye who’s dived through
their table and shattered it, upturned the surface and wrecked it,
come to Hell with high water and sucked it in and sunk it down dry,
let it settle. And circled.

I want that. I want to feel as full as this and never have to talk.
I want to breathe in my sides and never see the tops of trees.
I want to swallow
deep and smooth
cool as a copse
and not have to stop.

Dirt

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

The man tying the bag over his head,
the small of his back sore against a stair,
his lips gone numb and white, waiting to spread,
his legs tight like a mystic’s crossed in prayer,
his words like pulses wrapped in too much wool,
his neck that sometimes nicks him when he swallows,
his past like something catching on his skull,
his train of thought too stop-and-start to follow –
this wet-nosed ass who can’t quite tie the strings
is going to do a really selfish thing.
Before he goes he’ll guess at what you’ll say.
He’ll try to count your grief in weeks and days.
He’ll scare you half to death. This one will hurt.
You’ll drop and look for answers in his dirt.

Yin Yang Man

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

Peering, I hold her like an alien,
trying to do that two become one, reunited
and it feels so good, perfect circle
made of cushioned angles kind of thing
in the dark.

A foreign nipple presses my front
and my cut wire hairs raise the silent alarm,
I uncoil, tense my thighs, black out my pupils
and stiffen like Juliet and think of Trojans,
not moving

until a breeze soothes my feet-skin
and hers, presumably. Her body – her small,
not mine, not brother, not male species –
willowy, pet, pettish, baby, honeyed, celestial,
prods at me.

She gives me a look I don’t know
and we laugh and kiss, shove our half-moons
back in, redouble our impression on the bed,
cover our mismatched colours, relax,
slip
away.

Perfect

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

I roll to his side,
to my elbow.
He warms the space
with some breathy
moment’s compliment:
he just now noticed
my eyes, my smile,
my place in his life.
He can barely mouth it.
I laugh
like a proud mother:
not a giggle, heavier,
more assured, assuring,
kiss his lips shut.
He mumbles a grunt,
token resistance,
exhales. His palm
touches some part
of me, his chest gives,
folds in, lets a scorecard
stick out from the skin,
halogen hot and tanned,
the muscle holds it up:
a ten.
I did this right.
He’s pleased.
Very good for me.

Some People

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014
Published in The Bolton Review, issue 1

This is a gay marriage poem and yes
we are shoving it down your throat.
Some people

are making a stink, yelling at you to think
and cringe. We’re on our knees, begging you to vote,
nudging you and slipping you the ballot for legalised
fudging and lady-things with fingering that
you don’t want to learn, just yet, and
asking you to tick it,
shoving it in your Facebook page, picketing
your inbox and sticking it in your head.

And we know you’re okay with the gays. You’ve no fear
if we’re here and queer, and everyone’s used to it
now but now we want you to thumbs-up our petitions.
We’re rubbing our issues on your television
screen, wiping your politics clean with Vaseline
and all because we want some dumb special day,
a ticker-tape parade with our balls and chains
and lips smacked all over it – ruin our lives, as you say,
be our guests, some of us want that, want you to
shake our ring-fingered hands, eat up our cakes
and just say live and let live. Say it’s okay

because it’s you that has to. At the end of the day
it’s still up to you to give us away, to give it up and
let us have our way, leave us free to do
whatever it is we really do behind closed doors,

without your eyes and tuts and paws and more
all over us.

That’s in your hands
and we don’t like it.
We don’t know where they’ve been!
It creeps us right out.

Some people want to get married.