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Ten Poems Iain Britton

The Red Ceilings Press

The Red Ceilings Press MMXI [rcp 17]

Ten Poems Iain Britton

bloody-minded torn mugshots /

/ hang by folds

a mummified genie (half unwrapped)


the shop is in ruins and a goat herd

clatters on the trot to be milked

## upside down over capitalization enables homes to be quilted into streets movies for adults in Aegean technicolour screen nightly

biographies alive in plaster


from God’s right finger

and onlookers crane their necks gobble anything that’s going like manna from high places ##

worn antiquity

shows its flakes a wooden horse has been wheeled in for an all-expenses-paid escape for those who want it the sun is elsewhere being argumentative resistant to change / bloody-minded the shop is in ruins ## going nomadic is an excuse for reviving superstitions talking to oneself /

/ gesticulating wildly

burning hard-earned sacrifices on rock piles in the desert

lunar contingencies it /


over the big G supermarket

James Cagney sugars half-rounds of grapefruit

for some female’s breakfast

I listen to shoes tapping and pick up on routines / rhythms the show must go on

a boy

about so high

swings like Tarzan through the leaning tower of the T&G clock he wears a flag hands out

hamburgers /

/ french fries

to hungry cars it / hangs (perhaps

an eye in the sky


perhaps that’s how it sleeps


nods off or indicates /

/ sex after death

the swinging is contagious/students take to the T&G/like supplejack it / dices up city buildings for fodder/pedestals grow beards/ multiple fingers play Rachmaninov on formica table tops/ a faith healer topples ignominiously pushed by a child it breeds humps like a cloud a body mass of change rolls a cricket pitch for night’s soft landings I’ve been sworn in to maintain common courtesies like don’t spit on the lawn

the footpath

on this chipped mosaic face don’t abuse this stone which leaks my birthright

lost in transit in a cacophony of verbs double-jointed twigs sprout and the day promises but what to give concrete beams curve through cranial arches faculties flood and you paddle the blue-lipped water I row this boat stuck in sand I row this boat which is stuck I row but you’re only good for giving orders directives /


you never stray too far from confrontation


light up

mop-haired willows the lithe legs of couples doing press ups in cars inebriates lean against pissoirs of green and gold you cross out the who dunnits who dun who who dun what who got dun propa dun good ‘n hard I dismantle the page numbers of a book a serialised extinction and a calendar gets buried

you flicker facets of yourself to passing viewers to and fro is the action

is the cut a cup of tea a scone

the take

and if there’s time

a quick suck on a fag you shout and a hill shimmies 2 steps to the left

3 to the right

a cathedral punches a hole through the father the son and the holy something photogenic sunflowers savour the moment

looks /


1 the gritty mnemonics of a handprint reveal a life what life? 2 after the rain capture

puddles looks


intensities you’re easy to forget easier when I want to believe you’re not real

because I’m compelled to

I prise open that enclose us nightly

the knotty appendages of undergrowth

encounters weighed down with rocks this pool

like a huge boiled eye

soaks in its own solution

the sea comes knocking

reflections stare upwards a Pepsi drink hangs in the balance and a girl


past encounters splash across people

as the tide cleans up

my path constantly shifts

so when

do I follow catch the man with the truth serum shooting up in the dark? when do I strike out?


I walked into a hill shaped like a dome into a church shaped like a hill I created from a mind seizure incandescent particles

wanting absolution is about reading the fine print carefully

elephant 1 then

who walks the concrete carpet

picking up garbage foliage a he-man’s lopped-off hair? it’s a dizzying state of internalised strife who cries elephant

in my room in this hollowed-out epicentre

of perpetual motion 2 cry elephant and you squat in a teardrop of shimmering sunlight you squint

at distortions trapped in tinted glass 3 a ceremony

breaks black bread

I join the party celebrate

(with others)

the soft-bloated idols of a painted procession


my room creaks in the wind

in the balance

of where it rides precariously on its chunk of bone I once had long hair straighter than a sundial

had a shadow

5 you ring the changes grab

the best hearts for yourself

the best lungs

in the soul

the hardest iron

great animals fascinate looking on

the wannabes amongst us

spiked yesterday’s globular consumption isn’t lost – the mountains will cough it all up

with a bang

as regular as a sun chant

as Easter

as a spiked fish

what is this intimacy? my head is lifted into a clear space /

/ the river

rubs against my face

it floods paddocks

of wasted tribes

houses in retreat

the bodies it guts itself

on jagged rocks on an island sinking in mud the river uses me as a thoroughfare I feel the squeeze of through traffic

a cleansing agent

a preparation for some kind of upheaval I feel an intimacy the sea is close

a topsy-turvy of grief and ecstasy is closer

the sea pounds at shells

the sea

is a carnivore spiked by barbed-wire a sheep’s afterbirth is laid to rest a dream is coughed up longevity is measured by a spark

dialling she

who travels

on the sniff of a vision

is anybody’s

a year is anybody’s

she passes all understanding

glides silently higher and higher in a circular motion the night


on this unsuspecting planet-gazer

lifts her up drops her like a hot coffee spoon

and I make ripples /

for her coming

---------------she admits she’s only available from 9 to 5 phone first and (please) supple neck

she asks fondle temptation’s

before dialling she likes to sit astride her high horse on stormy nights and ride the war zones the poppied paddocks the earth’s rough edge she likes to hoof her pedigree

into the ground

players their stance is fixed what is




bed buddies wrapped in blankets

they can’t see where I’m coming from / or going to my trip takes me through one door and out the other the hill in the backyard is different from the one growing in the front I notice something new everyday trees flowers rocks they’ve been played with toyed with some stolen some put back fun is nightly under a dome of action hemmed in

roped up

I think vast spaces hear a clock a shadow stretch shoes on dry ground I think vast spaces the hubbub of a street a collision of players going back and forth artefacts disappearing on a battlefield ladies in white satin what was a repository

is now stuffed up

with shredded copies of too many people

earmarked 1 she tramples on field coordinates on paths earmarked for urbanised heavenly delights she lights up a system of caves (the bats long gone) it seems intrusive but generational habits still persist a crawling upwards is still the only way out 2 I’ve written my version of events (in triplicate this morning)

of suddenly last summer

I’ve watered down my part to a spectral observation she

the red-wrapped drama queen

an ice cream


hugs local panoramas talks me through pornographic slideshows through guest lists drinking from the same glass she holds me up to airborne nuances 3 her favourite people repeat good-byes /

/ hellos

a kind of primal saturation can be read into what we hope for

Iain Britton Iain was born and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He spent many years living and teaching in London followed by a spell as an EFL teacher in Bournemouth. He now teaches at a large independent school for boys in Auckland. Since 2008, Iain has had four collections of poems published: Hauled Head First into a Leviathan (Cinnamon Press), Liquefaction (Interactive Press) (AUST) and Cravings (Oystercatcher Press). His poetry has been published widely in such magazines as the Warwick Review, Wolf Magazine, Nthposition, Blackbox Manifold, Horizon Review, Leafe Press, Great Works, The Literateur, Harvard Review, BlazeVOX, Drunken Boat, Zoland Poetry, Jacket, Upstairs at Duroc and the International Exchange for Poetic Invention etc Kilmog Press (NZ) recently published his latest collection.

Thunnerplump And so, we say, friendship ends here in a tidal column of cloud that crumples the sky. Today has the saddest eyes, a tick of rain before the thunder swallows us into a house roomed by chance. Raw edges of what might have been scrape my metal fillings. Magpies people the light like an old movie devoid of sound but for a theatrical pianist. We close the book on the last brick of the story as dark paint swathes old weathered wood.

The Red Ceilings Press

MMXI [rcp 17]

ten poems  

by Iain Britton