In Vino Veritas


In Vino Veritas

Last year, on the road to Pwll Ddu,
I turned the steering wheel too fast
and almost rolled the car I rented.
My mother’s ashes were in the back.

I was driving my father to the Gower
so he could scatter them on the sea,
as she had requested. “Watch what
you’re doing,” my father cried.
“You’ve knocked your mother down.”

Now, as I drink to forget her ashes
tumbling around in their plastic urn,
I call you names. Crude graffiti clings
to the wall I have built between us.

Can you forgive me? In vino veritas,
said the ancient Romans, but truth from
a bottle is a double-edged sword cutting
both striker and person struck. My love,
I sense stark darkness within you. I see
black stars exploding to flood blue skies
with their inevitable ink. Can you feel
the instant hurt behind my eyes, like I
sense yours? Here, in one of our secret
gardens, give me the pardon I never gave
my parents. Heal the harm I’ve done.
Forgive me. Break the cycle. Set us all free.




Love, what little boys
dwell in grown men’s hearts,
struggling to break free.

I want to spend the day in bed,
buried beneath the blankets.
I want to call out for attention.

Will you boil me an egg?
Bring sweet, sugared tea?
Cut my toast into tiny soldiers
so I can march them through
the boiled egg’s yolk?

Upstairs, downstairs, I want
to keep you running all morning.
Will you straighten my blankets?
Will you tuck me in so only
my eyes and nose are showing?
Bring me my dog: let her lie
beside me, warmth and comfort
in her wet tongue washing me.

Suddenly, my world’s caved in
and there’s so much missing.
Lover: be a mother to me.

Talking 4



Talking with my mother in an empty house


the room is alive with light
a halo of sunny sainthood
gilding old furniture

rich gold sunlight
sparkling with dancing dust
enhances silk flowers

polished scarlet tongues of fire
call for your presence
yet you are absent now
I am the one who dusts them
and adds to their gloss

 do they still throb vibrant
 in the early morning light?

 indeed they do
dust rises from your poinsettias
and dust angels dance in the sun

how many to each leaf?

 I bend my head to look
and sense dry leaves brushing
rough lips against my face

Talking 3



our conversation this morning
a sun-dried Roman aqueduct
no longer capable of carrying water

I envision brown sacking
lagged around leaking pipes

your words are lifeless kites
earthbound: too heavy to rise
each sentence: wasted
 of lips tongue teeth

dead soldiers gone over the top
my thoughts hang like washing
pegged out on the Siegfried Line
on a windless day

I am afraid of this enormous barbed
wire fence growing daily between us