Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy

—Poems by Neil Fulwood, Nottingham, UK
—Photos by Hubble Space Telescope


We open with War Machine (injured
at the end of Captain America: Civil War)
attending his DWP back-to-work
assessment. It goes badly. A hail of bullets
cuts down a dozen jobsworths.
A surface-to-surface missile takes out
Ian Duncan Smith. The audience cheers.
Roll opening credits.

Fade in on a Stark Industries factory,
production halted over a raft
of safe working issues. Iron Man
is about to face his deadliest enemy:
the Health & Safety Executive.

Black Widow's enhanced DBS check
comes back with more flags
than a council estate during the World Cup.

Vision's figured out a means
of not paying for Netflix or Amazon Prime,
binge watching entire seasons
of iZombie and The Man in the High Castle
while the world goes to undead neo-Nazi hell
outside his living room window.

Scarlet Witch invites Jehovah's witnesses
in for a cuppa and sends them home
as fully paid up Satanists.

Thor's boss tells him for the last time
to knock it off with the hammer
and run diagnostics if he intends
on having a future at Kwikfit.

The Hulk's nursing what's left
of his spilled pint and wanting to twat
the fuckwit who spilled it
but there's the little matter of the ASBO
and what the judge said if his sorry green arse
gets had up in court one more time.

Captain America's holding down a day job
and did well in his appraisal, not that
a square jaw and rigorous moral rectitude
mean much when some kid laughs
and points and calls out that the Guardians
of the Galaxy are the only superheroes
who don't suck.


                for Paula

The architect sufficiently ambitious,
the civil engineering firm undaunted.

Foundations shot-fired, the edifice
constructed under difficult conditions.

Door sealed against the atmosphere,
staircase spiralling the inner wall.

Glass burnished to withstand the glare
of falling stars and dying galaxies.

Lamp stabbing into distant reaches,
the very definition of lux aeternae.

A light to guide ships of all classes
and cargoes: freighters, fighters,

cruisers and reivers. A light to pinion
the phosphorescence of dust and gases

and point the way through asteroid fields.
A light moving a million years later

across the night sky of what’s left
of the earth. Its purposeful strobing

joins the dots of the constellations.


     I’m only a poor little sparrow...
       (old music hall song)

Only a poor little sparrow
Only a pert Jenny wren
Only a seasonal robin
Only a clucking great hen

Only an ill-named bustard
Only one of innumerable tits
Only an owl softly hooting
Or a bat darkly practicing flits

Only a Tennyson eagle
Only a Hughesian crow
Only a Poe-approved raven
Or a vulture circling slow

This is the poem as carrion
Dead and splayed out on the floor
This is the subject as predator
Red in both tooth and claw


I'm halfway through a book on positive thinking.
It's written in a too-effusive style, the
author leaping at every situation or coincidence
like an over-eager puppy on LSD.
Me, I'm on a downer. I've been drinking.
The black dog's tracked its prints
across the wall-to-wall carpeting
of my equilibrium. Pissed copiously
up the wall. Now it's at the threshold, tense
and growling at every sound or passerby.
There's no way out when there's no way in.

Is the book half read or half unfinished?
Is the author half optimist, half happy-
clappy nut job, or more of one than the other?
Does it even matter either way?
What's the sum total of equilibrium divided
by experience times the blues? Algebra
would pin down the answer if I could be bothered.
I'll take rhyme-schemes over formulae—
but not right now. I'm on a downer.
I've been drinking. It happens, more than intermittently.
The black dog growls. The book goes unheeded.


Today’s LittleNip:

Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.

—Wislawa Szymborska


Our thanks to our British poet friend Neil Fulwood for his visit to the Kitchen table this morning, all the way from the UK!

Speaking of traveling, this evening from 5-7pm is the Poetry Off-the-Shelves read-around in Placerville at the library, 345 Fair Lane. [Note: on Monday, I posted this as being in El Dorado Hills, but it’s in Placerville tonight]. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute. 


 Anonymous "Alice" Stained Glass Window
(Celebrate poetry—and the mysteries down the rabbit hole!)

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.