The Giraffe-Necked Woman

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2020

 

Pretty sure no-one else can see
the giraffe-necked woman.
She only sees me:
she looks no-where else,
waits for me motionless behind blinds,
walls, trees, the dark, closed eyes,

her lids are relaxed, always as if amused,
lazily leaned into laughter lines
and her open mouth smile
so distended, her jaw
must be long broken, lips long gaped to
sticking that way, fastened, aching
long open, cartilege stiff,
the look never breaking,

Sometimes I meet her eyes,
stare her down, scrabble for the magic words.
Her reaction is resting there ready,
on me before I speak.

The neck is so I can’t forgot, I guess:
she’s never explained any of it.
I get the impression I wouldn’t get it.
Or it’s funnier if I don’t know.

Big Red Dog

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2018

It’s dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog

up there and the last dog is massive,
pained with the weight of it, outstrained
and bleeding out, impassive.
Red seeping through and thickening the mane,
a Clifford of sin,
breathing breaths so deep to tear the skein,
stretch the skin.

One day blood will pour down redwood bark,
tons of it,
pour through the scratches and rain down thin

’til the ground is filth and the skies are clean
and the seas are filmed, filtered red
like the backs of breeching sharks
and the wings’ll be all too heavy to reascend –
unsolemn silence will smother the holes we open up –
and when no-one comes to help
no-one will cry again.

Me Manifesto

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2017

Here’s a manifesto for the crowd
who’ve come to clap it –
and the rest of you can clock it
between laugh tracks and ad traps
and bulletins and sleep and shifts
in re-tweets and clips –

I’m a strong leader-

That’s basically it. I’m strong, like a bull
and full to the brim with it –
fit and trim, heavy with lustre so
big up my bluster and sing with it –
trust me –

Love me and I will love democracy –
stick with me and maybe
I’ll do something new –
lasso the moon and bring back the past –
lower your taxes too – maybe
whatever it is that you want –

You’ll see –

The Boy from the Badlands

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2017

Rob McFadden, he’s a bad un –
he’s a nasty, gone-off pasty
full of sweaty brawn and internet porn.
Steer clear of his beery back streets
and his alt-right tweets.

He’s a bad lad
an his dad said he’s a mad ed.
I’ve seen him eatin cod and chips
with skeevy teeth and rotten lips.
He dun’t have salt and vinegar –
he just has crack and poppers –
and his eyes are bleedin beadier
than Roy fuckin Cropper’s.

Rub McFadden’s lamp an he’ll chew you
in his greasy gums –
do you in the slack of the black eye
and keep the good un for your mum.

Gumshield

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2015

The Kingston Crab Fighter was
a real contender, they said,
but I killed him on the sand.

The beach, they said, was what he had done
to shells, cliffs, cartilage,
maybe all beaches
with his hard, constant-curved
glaze cherry red
Everlasts –

he smashed the rocks, ground them
every time he chose not
to lift the fists above the land – –
imagine, they said:
every time he let his flex down,
beneath his heels,
sand in his wake.

I saw he was all glass jaw, I called him out of the
salt-grit water, sweating from somewhere soft.
I just roped a dope and
cracked him with a clench,
took my money and went.

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.

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.