What’s the point of jellyfish?

I asked another jellyfish
who being all curve and wobble
could not compute the concept ‘point’

direction was a problem too
we float we float
our liquid selves within the liquid sea

and then I understood something about tears
and grief
and oceans
and remembering you were lost
I cried for you

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In a name

I read it in a book      bubble&squeak
they ate it                   I wanted it


how could you not want bubble
on your tongue         to chew squeak


my mother gave me a look and gravy
on Sunday veg         fried up on Monday


she never said as she dished up
this is it you fool       I grew out of stories


with hard boiled eggs and lashings
of whatever there were lashings of


I never tasted their other life
though I’d been eating it the whole time


today I learned that Bengal candles are sparklers
maybe it’s time to meet a tiger in the fire


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Via Sheffield

Three blokes on the over-crowded train
are teasing the woman in the sober coat
who’s taken the fourth seat at their table.
When it’s tickets please they grin
and stack their pile of lager cans in front of her.
She should not be on this train,
power lines are down,
she’s been re-routed.

They shouldn’t be on this train.
They should be in their transit
halfway up the motorway,
but their full load of booze and ciggies from the Carrefour
weighed heavy on the axles.
The chassé didn’t sit right.
They tried for personal use and family party,
that didn’t sit right either.

So Customs took the lot.  The van an’ all.
We thought we’d be all right this time.
This time?  They swap a look
part sheepish part bravado, we did it once before,  
six weeks back, we thought we’d double our redundancy
and lightning doesn’t strike… not twice.
This time they’d used the Christmas money.

She wonders how she looks to them
leather briefcase, city clothes.
They’re hoodied, baseball capped,
the sort of men you might call ‘lads’
who HMC at Folkestone would call ‘chancers’.
You daft sods, you bloody stupid sods
their wives will howl when they get home.

And there’ll be hell to pay.  The last steel works has gone,
the furnaces stand cold.  Trade hasn’t cut it for these three.
They joke about Lord Sugar –  we were giving it a go,          
we fancied wheeler dealin’ but…
They leave one stop before the city.  She wishes them good luck,
they’ll need it.  Light from the platform
spills on debris by the line and wreckage from the winter weather.

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Mr Brough   

brisk                sharp
has been elbow deep in me
I imagine my intestines          lilac blue
and steaming gently in the unexpected air

unravelled they can stretch
the whole way round a tennis court
they told us that in school
I never thought I’d put it to the test

the bowel reacts to being handled
can be skittish might flounce
peristalsis – that squeeze that starts as swallowing
then ripples sweet and regular right through –

must settle down into its proper rhythm
meanwhile strange surges flutter
as if a trout is netted in my belly
and now it flexes slippery and strong

I think of Mr Brough
and riverbanks
of skill honed by practice
the sly gutting of a fish


Jan Dean


Posted in A poem a day for April | 2 Comments

Cleaning Up

A new poem appearing here:

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I  will make shift

make              shift
move              build

let the making           move me
the songs lift

I will shape the space
watch the light          dapple
my placemaking

involved         inloved
I will find the blessing in it

Jan Dean

Posted in A poem a day for April | 2 Comments

That Moment

there are stars in him
and suns
everything that shines
from metal in the mountainside
to the yellow scales of small bright fish
shines in him now

all this overflowing light
every raindrop in this cloud
is rainbow, mirror, lantern, lens,
doubling and doubling
until we cannot look,

until man and mist are shining as one thing
and every universe that spins
across the vast deep sky
is here

Jan Dean

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