Martin Stannard

The Distant Lights

Snow is falling but is already melting before it
hits the ground. It seems like a lifetime since last
we traded opinions concerning the quality of
our respective behaviours. “Heaven abandoned us

like an aborted world”. Your lashes flicker in the usual
coquettish manner and it’s all one can do to ignore
meaning. There are many ways of saying this, but
they all add up to the same thing. If only we had

remembered to bring our sun block and other
outdoor gear. But to be ill-equipped for the world
is our default position, apparently. Trying to fix
the problem will pass the time, although there isn’t

much of that. If it’s true we are really over-heating
at least we’ll be living nearer the beach. The livestock
have wandered off on to the moor and are at risk of
disappearing into dives. Bring ointment for the eyes.

The Puzzler

The enlightened approach would be to allow
Mr. & Mrs. Everyman access to the world’s treasures.
This is not going to happen. Every afternoon we go
for a walk in the park for exercise. Sleep might be

rubbish and the waking hours are not much better.
There’s a pile of bricks where a pile of bricks should not
pile. It’s not simply a case of opposites attract. “… and
here the first time that ever I saw women come upon

the stage.” Eventually one grows tired of always being
expected to enjoy the unexpected. Yes, the food was
indigestible but that’s more than the hostess will admit.
And yes, we were able to clean the carpets. A dash

of delicacy becomes the older lady or gentleman.
It is dull and grey outside in real life, but a degree of
grace is not really much to ask. It is not forthcoming.
Tonight’s movie is “The Invasion of the Bee Girls”.

The Voice In The Head

Once upon a time a handsome prince fell asleep on top
of a handsome princess. Is that a lark one hears singing
among the chimney stacks? And the Hungry Giant is
a figure of fear in all the villages around. The smart devices

appear to have minds of their own, and have started
making up their own excuses. To be not of this world, or
the next. One can be inclusive or exclusive, sociable
or unsociable, right or wrong. “In general, I do not draw

well with literary men: not that I dislike them, but I never
know what to say to them”. Nothing requires justification
in this poem. There are always terms and conditions.
He thought he had fallen asleep upon a field of green.

That story, the explanation of why things have turned out
the way they have, it’s all made up, right? It’s up to you
what you believe. It’s only our entire future at stake. Did
the impossible happen yet? Mmm. Oh. Aah. — Yawn etc.

The Plumbing Company Ltd.

Sea levels are rising but we’ll probably be safe on
this traffic island. Never mind the tap on the door — all
laments are a version of The Communal Cry. It’s not much
good sitting around waiting for “vintage” or “classic”

to arrive. The afternoon’s cello lesson is about to begin
and the weather — rain — complements one’s rather
sombre mood. “And words like swords and thunder-clouded
creeds”. Too much frivolity causes warts and boils and

pustules to break out in awkward and unspoken places.
Diversification is the name of the game these days
according to Trixie and Joy and all the staff at Lux Massage.
Mondays always seem a little bit wetter than the other

eight days of the week. Although what people do can be
explained, they also seem determined to leave you bruised
or a little bit stained. And having been once marooned
one does not wish to be marooned and alone again.

Martin Stannard lives in Nottingham, UK, and has been publishing poetry and criticism for some 40 years. He was founding editor and publisher of joe soap’s canoe (1978-93) and poetry editor of Decals of Desire (2016-17). His poetry and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Stride, International Times, Tears in the Fence, and The North. His most recent full-length collection is Poems for the Young at Heart (Leafe Press, 2016) and a chapbook, Items, was published by Red Ceilings in August 2018. After more than a decade teaching Literature and Culture at a university in China, he returned to the UK in early 2018. A collection of his versions of classic Tang Dynasty poems, The Moon Is About 238,855 Miles Away, is due from Shoestring Press later this year.

Home Page: http://martinstannard.com/

Elephants: http://martinstannard.com/elephants/ (updated daily)
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