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T

T

Taking that tooth, I trace two short white tracks
on the stone with it:
first, top to bottom;
then, left to right.
‘T’ denotes the spot.



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I've been writing poems for each letter of the English alphabet. This is one of the shorter ones. 

The letter 'T' is a descendent of the Semitic letter 'Taw', which looked like more like our 'X'. That letter in turn is thought to have derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph simply meaning 'mark'.

The poems are a sequence - you can read the first 19 on the links below:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS

S

S

So. I descend
past so much fossilised stuff
submerged in the soil:
soupcans, shirts, speakers,
strange glass structures, creased silk dresses,
sabretooth skulls,
possum’s spines, the exoskeletons of scorpions, starfish and spiders.

It seems endless – until, suddenly, I slam into sinopia sandstone
somewhere impossibly lost in the subterranean depths; the basis of all places.

I stand cautiously – seemingly I’m unscathed, except that seconds later, that shepherd’s staff I’ve been schlepping
plummets after me
slaps me on the jowel
lands on the floor below and shatters into fifty pieces. Shit!
Struck clean out of my mouth is a fifty-first –
a small, whitish lumpen stem –
a cuspid.

Inside my mouth there’s no pain, but I can taste the blood. I think of those in the great maw I stepped into to get here.
Stoop to gather my erstwhile tusk;
a scent of sugar fills my nostrils when I touch it.
It’s a little sticky.
Staring closer, it looks just like a stick of chalk.

Strange.

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I've been poems for each…

R

R

I often remember another dream I had, even longer ago when I was a child. I had dug a pit in the sand, on a beach.
I was trying to go as far down as possible. It worked –
I fell through a crack of red rock
as deep as the world.
Rushing down, I passed a mirror,
and for the briefest moment saw my own reflection, wherein –
horror! –
I was a werewolf.
I realise now that - to my younger self -
my face today, glimpsed in a mirror 
for less than half a short breath, might have struck me as lycanthropic. Relatively grizzled; sprouting dark hair from cheek and chin.
Perhaps it was only my future appearance that startled me.

Right now, my prehensile rudder wrapped around some root or other, way down in the crevasse, I can linger
and stare at that mirror. Once more, the reflection parts from my reality.
In there, I am resplendent,
leonine.
Rose-coloured locks spring from every part of my face and head.
If, right now, I really am the werewolf I saw years before,
then perhaps this creature is some future incarnatio…

Q

Q

“Queerer and queerer”, quoth the quester.
Question: what am I, now?
I seem to recall I grew a tail, a little way back.
(J’ai fait pousser une queue) So - I’m a squirrel monkey?
Muriqui? Toque macaque?
‘The aquatic ape’?
Quis sum?
Quid sum?


I'm falling quickly.
I’ve fallen quite far.
My tail is a quirt, whipping the air,
searching for something to grab.
It finds the spot.
It ties a knot.


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I am writing a poem for each letter of the alphabet. The letter 'Q' has questionable origins; its originally thought to have depicted either something threading through a hole (a knot or a needle and thread); or a monkey with its tail hanging down.
The poems are a sequence and you can read the first 16 on the links below:
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP

P

P
The lips press together, then part: it’s speaking!

“I AM THE INKPOT! ARE YOU THE PRINTER?”
I prepare to respond. Though I’m puzzled by what’s put to me, to progress on my pilgrimage, I presume I must be positive.
But, just at the precise point when I open my own mouth, I’m interrupted:

“ARE YOU A PEASANT?”
Again I prepare to answer, but each time I’m stopped  before the words can reach my tongue.
“ARE YOU A PILOT? ARE YOU A PIONEER? PROCLAIM!”,
I’m given no opportunity to do so.
“HAVE YOU A PARACHUTE?” and the lips part wider, opening  to reveal a pit, into which, it appears, I am expected to jump.

Reasoning that actions speak louder than words, I step up to the edge of what was once a pond, is now a portal.
Now I am stood on the lip of the lips, and as it speaks it is the ground moving,
myself thrown violently back and forth with it.
I am at risk of being catapulted in involuntarily,
never mind leaping.

“ARE YOU POLLUTION? ARE YOU A PEST?”
Perversely, it’s only now, being propelled one way and then th…

O

O

Ouroboros. One whole loop.
The enormous cobra goes around the pond, holding its tail in its mouth.

Ouroboros. Omega.

Once, I dreamed I was at the Old Oaks in Glastonbury – those primordial mothers of acorns known as Gog and Magog. Two sheep stood on the path – one black as coal, one white as snow. They were both ovine ovates. Owners of knowledge.
The coal one spoke words of portent in an otherworldly tongue.
Its voice was a rumble of thunder, spilling across normal borders.
I could not comprehend. I woke.
I look at my crook:it’s shaking. It shook.
It will shake.  I look at the lake.
The surface of that pool is (will always be, has always been) a reflection of the sky above. Right now, as I stare,
the clouds that had grown into towers while I stood
have also grown down in that mirror,
have also grown dark in that mirror.
Surrounded by an anaconda hoop
those onyx clouds below look bottomless, a void.
For all the world it could be an eye.
I look at the sky. The surface of that ceiling is
(will always …