I Sing the Body Acrostic

Hidden under a hat,
Aiming for altitude,
Ink-stained, intent, irritable,
Ready for anything.

Scabby and lovely pate
Crusted all over, I'm
Aching to scratch it, to
Loosen the skin and
Pick the patches till I'm placid.

So often, I want to
Know what you're thinking
Until you let me
Listen to your innermost thoughts, I can't
Lessen the pain of only guessing what's on your mind.


Forever and ever means
Always, I told her,
Clapping my hands sarcastically as
Eve spat out the last of the apple.

Every time I close them
You itch me in a most peculiar way.
Every time I open them
Serenely you scamper away.

Not another birthday gift
Of perfumed candles
Sickly and Cloying,
Endlessly polluting the air.

Everything flows in, birdsong, orchestral music, rustling of leaves, voice of a lover
Acting on the mind on an emotional level
Rising and falling, the buzz of tinnitus, hiss of a blown stereo speaker,
Sounds cut in and out: the screaming mind getting locked in

Mother says
Only speak when spoken to.
Unfortunately I have a lot to say.
The words just keep coming.
How can she think silence is golden?

Chaps have a choice how to furnish their faces:
Hipsters have beards, long and surprisingly
In vogue; in the eighties, designer stubble was trendy, but
Nudity of the jaw is ever acceptable.

Now hung in bright jewels of jade.
Elongated in circlets, gleaming gold against the light,
Cameo necklaces, strung on silver chains,
Kaleidoscope colours, where gems shine in the night.

Strong enough to
Heft an axe, a bat or baby
Overarm and
Lean on me
During those
Emotional times
Requiring comfort.

Anyone else want to have a go?
Remember this next time one of you thinks you can take me.
My name isn't Mad Dog Douglas for nothing.
Stop shaking now.)

Long ago
Sneaking through Canongate
Nocturnal acquisition of corpses meant sales
Especially to

Hammocks in miniature,
Arches of fingers, a
Nest of protection to hold you.
Digital guardians, knuckled shelters:
Safety-nets made to enfold you.

I light the flame.
Escaping through the cavity in your chest.

Behave you rebellious
Engine of digestion filled with
Lovingly cherished
Lamb, beef, chicken and pig
You'll eventually expel in a mess.

Not to be confused with the
Adjective "naval". Instead, this is the
Very centre of the corpus and
Even, in some philosophies, the seat of
Life, learning and consciousness. Go contemplate.

God, it feels so good when you do that.
Everything goes all tingly.
No don't stop.
I'm so close.
Touch me right there.
Love you.
So sleepy... snore...

Long and short, made for a purpose
Eating up miles in leaps and  bounds
Going and going, for metres and miles
Speedy or slow, we walk every day

Elvis's corpse
Starts singing

Follow us
Everywhere we go
Easy does it 'til it's
Time for you to put us up.


(Clockhouse London Writers who contributed, listed in alphabetical rather than appearance order: Dev Agarwal, Allen Ashley, Madeleine Beresford, Gary Budgen, Rima Devereaux, Sarah Doyle, Mark Lewis, Robin Lupton, David McGroarty, Stephen Oram, David Turnbull and Sandra Unerman.)