Stephen C. Middleton

Collapse (Question Mark)

…this synapse not sparking
Or arc of ambivalent flight
(Lent gravitas at random)
Stress this / emphasis
Goaded to control / contain
Swollen pathways, helter skelter
Run with currents
Main channels & delta veins
Landmass & overloaded brain
Redundant maps what terrain?
Lambasted by slights
Eroded by echoes.

Pinched at the Margins

Dropped stitches / rejection slips / lost saxophones (the taxi just took off). Lip gone (no gloss) / empty club. Decline – pitch & strength, sagging. Connections / recognitions – erosion / the slow lane. Still moments in real time. Link in the / blink of… now tardive dyskinesia. Reflexes lost to paresthesia / ruled by other imperatives / lives lived on the margins / in our prime – turn on dime or pirouette to rimshot / harmonics / noises off – you get the gist, or do you? Even when my antennae still functioned there was a disconnect. So far under weather & water, below the radar, so far behind the curve, & workload. So restricted – nerve damage. Pinched at the margins. Resistance – shock & shift a fixed point, perhaps. Missed the trick, to riff off. Stoppered / to whatever degree. Never easy – does instinct still kick in?

Praxis (Hopeless)

& it’s
This is so far from ideal
It’s not even on the same page

On the stage
Interrupting something
(Lest it congeal & curdle)

Exhausting (this) grandstanding
Slight returns (all ways)
Flayed turns & praxis
Dull aftermaths
A graph descends
“I can’t watch”, she says.

Stephen C. Middleton is a writer working in London, England. He has had five books published, including A Brave Light (Stride) and Worlds of Pain / Shades of Grace (Poetry Salzburg). He has been in several anthologies, among them Paging Doctor Jazz (Shoestring), and From Hepworth’s Garden Out (Shearsman, 2010). For many years he was editor of Ostinato, a magazine of jazz and jazz inspired poetry, and The Tenormen Press. He has been in many magazines worldwide. Current projects (prose and poetry) relate to jazz, blues, politics, outsider (folk) art, mountain environments, and long-term illness.
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