A family lay framed upon the walnut,
Dust collecting, isolated in neglect –
A room, ivory and gold, cleansed of dirt,
Empty of soul, the Emperor sits in wait.

Glass, crystal, clear visions of the towers,
A mirror of the powers climbing up
to take his throne – woollen armour,
chain mail of silk, his sword signs paper
white as milk, a list of crimson fit to spill
by the bullet of the phone.

A family lay hidden within a drawer,
Skin now framed upon the walnut;
Sweat dripped down with every thrust,
The Emperor, yet to conquer lust,
Looked across
a room so full of wealth,
And in that threatening mirror,
Saw an empty, frightened self.


He sat on the bench
to look over his sanctuary,
Ignoring the cold metal
like he ignored his armchair
of sandpaper steps,
Or the piss-stained mattress
of an underpass bed;
It smelled of flowers here,
Not wet brick or brake dust,
But roses he had handed,
Heart bounding in its cage of ribs,
To a lover he still tasted as
the breeze past through his lips.
A wave of quiet conjured memories
changed the landscape of the park –
The tree with a knuckled bough
morphed to his mother’s callous palm,
Leaves thrown by a playing child
moved like lines that, when she smiled,
Seemed to radiate her calm;
The fountain trickled with her tears,
Collected from the years he’d spent
running from her arms,
Then through the iron fencing,
The city called with howling horns,
Roaring running engines that
when blended transformed,
Into an insomniac cacophony
that soaked over every pore;
He walked out from his sanctuary,
Like he walked out from her door.


I could hear the whisper of your
war drum wing,
As I lost myself in slumber,
Tapping at the window pane
Like a stone thrown by an
ancient lover;
You both hold a painful sting.
I watched your dance a
little while,
The energy of the trapped,
In front of you
lay all you knew,
An entire world
Finally, I lent my hand
to you,
And pushed the window back,
I didn’t see the flow, the ebb
of a waving net – the spider’s web
that I’d placed within
your track.
Stuck fast within a steel
silk wall,
Tissue wings no use,
I left you there
and on I stared
In the silence of
the brute.