knit

she knitted fine clothes
 for the baby in her head

 every night her husband
 rammelled in drink
 like a confusion of thread

 till one night she saw him
 collapsed on the marital bed
 wheezing in alcoholic haze

 she took out her needle
 and thread and he awoke
 as the first needle entered skin

 she knocked him out with her
 new frying pan, then knitted
 his fat skin to the mattress.

 saw him awake while her needles
 clattered and smiled at his shouts
 and the blood of his struggle.

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the oaksongs

How can you be in two places
 at once? I asked. A Christian
 friend replied ” You can have
 one foot inside the door
 and the other foot outside.”

 You would be forever
 on the threshold, neither
 one nor the other, or both.
 A fence sitter, neither
 Summer or Winter
 God or Man.

 Would you sacrifice the other
 to be wholly another? To step
 in and close the door
 shut out the weather
 from the other side.

 Are you coming in or what?
 Your letting in a right breeze?
 Put wood in the hole.
 Decide whether your in or out!

*******
I watch the traffic lights
 consider a walk this way or
 a green man allows me
 to avoid bloodied bone

 my mouth and ears
 thresholds and doors
 full of oaklimbs and leaves

 reborn I stretch down
 to deep dark moist

 I stretch up to cloudlight
 barkskin palmtouched
 I let others breathe
 shelter and endure

*******

moors were once forests
 national parks heavy industrial
 this oak headland a pitsite

 lads snap off livelimbs
 anarchic coppicing
 black dogshitbags sway
 on limbs left alone

 don’t visit in a storm
 oaks are lightningtrees
 people can be oaks

 oakgroves of druids
 duir means a door
 exit and entrance

 raw open wounds of sacrifice
 still bleed sap

 this hand has molded
 a garden out of wildlife
 words out of nonsense

 she used to say “when
 one door closes
 another opens”

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one door closes (oaksong 3)

moors were once forests
 national parks heavy industrial
 this oak headland a pitsite

 lads snap off livelimbs
 anarchic coppicing
 black dogshitbags sway
 on limbs left alone

 don’t visit in a storm
 oaks are lightningtrees
 people can be oaks

 oakgroves of druids
 duir means a door
 exit and entrance

 raw open wounds of sacrifice
 still bleed sap

 this hand has molded
 a garden out of wildlife
 words out of nonsense

 she used to say “when
 one door closes
 another opens”

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two places at once (oaksong part one)

How can you be in two places
 at once? I asked. A Christian
 friend replied ” You can have
 one foot inside the door
 and the other foot outside.”

 You would be forever
 on the threshold, neither
 one nor the other, or both.
 A fence sitter, neither
 Summer or Winter
 God or Man.

 Would you sacrifice the other
 to be wholly another? To step
 in and close the door
 shut out the weather
 from the other side.

 Are you coming in or what?
 Your letting in a right breeze?
 Put wood in the hole.
 Decide whether your in or out!

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the hill in the light + audio

 

 https://m.soundcloud.com/paul_laurence/the-hill-in-the-light

in the hearing of pigeons
cooing in the twilight
you can hold out to the dark land
make the crunch of your boot
squelch in the hard washed
and screened lives of miners

all to be buried again. Beneath.
If going beneath into pressured dark
who but the ghost of ‘Jacksy’.
All to be buried like Gary Jackson.
They called him ‘Jacksy’ in the showers.

It was on a Wednesday. Seven days
after his thirty seventh birthday
he did not want to spend three quarters
of a shift cleaning the belt. He was
spading muck from a belt wheel
with his mate seventeen year old ‘Big’
Mick. His spade got caught in the wheel
he should have stopped beforehand.

Belt drew him in. Cut his head neatly
into two pieces. In a snap of the fingers
Mick simply watched it happen.
The slow cut. A second passed.

It took seven men to peel and carry Gary
from the belt. The funeral took place
on the third day. ‘Big’ Mick was given
a month’s leave. He never recovered.

After his leave Mick had a seated job
down the belt on which Gary had died.
Suddenly and throughout the day
he was called on the pit phone by another
miner calling himself “The ghost of Gary
Jackson”. He could tell it was another
miner. They put a notice up in the showers
and the phone calls stopped.

A great mound of slag is being reseeded.
They have spread the difficult earth.
Taken him from a birth in the pressured dark
and scattered his broken body as waste
and reseeded with hawthorn, fern willow
and couch grass. These plants knit
together the broken flesh. His pieces
reassembled into a hill in the light.
His broken body held tense by roots
fed by rain and light. He is different now.

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Chapbook : ” The Work Pieces And Other Terrifying Tales of Work Life”

. competence

 As if you could
 work without fear
 of making mistakes

 the “Paul, I’d like a word…”

 work without worry
 of targets not reached

 the “Paul, are you happy here..”

 work without the dole
 and it’s keen edge

 that hovers
 .        above
 .        your
 .        head

 because you are unimportant
 easily replaceable
 a bum on a seat

 because you have to pay
 for your home
 for your insurances
 for your illusion of steadiness

 the “Paul, I’m sorry we’re going
 to have to let you go.”

 .                   ********

 .                          let go

 I am cold toast
 left in the rush

 I am unused loo paper
 left on wet floor

 I am spilt shampoo
 left in empty bath

 I am a crisp new
 P45.

 I am a warm hand
 in my child’s warm hand

 I am needed.
 I see that now.

 ********

 In England a P45 is what your employer gives you when he sacks you

 .                    ***********

 .              The Actual Office Rules

 You do not have a designated desk or computer or chair.
 You will have to find one and ensure you are ready to receive calls when your shift starts.
 As it takes fifteen minutes to set up your systems we recommend you get to work half an hour beforehand. You will not be paid for this half hour.

 If you have to attend the funeral of a close relative we will call you the day after to ask why you are not in work.

 If we do allow you to arrange a funeral of your closest relatives a team leader will phone you every day you are absent from work to monitor your progress.

 .                  **************

 .                         crapper time

 You can tell
 temper of our times
 in my crapper at work.

 Times bowl brims
 with bogpaper
 and shit

 Lads flush once
 find it won’t go,
 flush again.

 Have done
 leave without washing hands.

 I need to tell ’em
 ‘pump it lad’
 but we’re all
 timed by work
 computer

 and three times late
 two warnings, late
 again ‘investigation’
 in another room.
 Late again, dismissal.
 They march you to gates.

 .                          ***********

 .                      annoying

 all you can hear is them
 all they can hear is you

 how can I help you I say

 you are the annoying person
 I spoke to before

 I do not think I am I say

 please speak up.
 I cannot trust
 that someone will
 do what they say
 they will do
 please speak up
 and clearly
 please chase this

 I explain that if there
 are any problems
 we will know but
 we cannot test it now

 you are the person
 I spoke to before
 and you are annoying

 .                   ***********
 .               workaround

 some systems don’t work
 so you have to do
 a work around

 when this becomes the system
 I don’t know

 my bus
 takes a detour for roadworks
 or accident

 something tells me
 this is not temporary

 .                     ************

 .                           headset

 is a dark link
 on his head between patches
 of grey and crows feet

 chubby fingers
 he touch phones
 using an eraser
 on the end of a HB

 thin gold framed bifocals
 peer down
 at a computer screen
 angled lectern upwards

 he cannot afford retirement

 .               *************

 .                        working is reworking

 sunlight
 warmth makes me
 even less interested
 at work

 she is retiring
 already has a date
 she is older than me
 she will get bored

 I need part time
 use space to the full
 not used to applying
 rescue my cv

 writing is rewriting

 living is reliving

 working is reworking

 .                           *************

 .                           missell

 I have not
 spoken
 to a customer
 through the frown
 of a headset phone
 for three years.

 I follow a process.
 I cannot improvise.

 I smile
 so headset frown
 and mouth’s smile

 make a customer
 lifecycle
 prelife, inlife
 new package

 make a customer
 complaint cycle
 define, investigate,
 solve, redefine

 I put customer
 on hold
 then eff and blind.

 I need to go
 part time or retire.
 This is the time

 I need
 a kick up the cycle
 of my arse.

 .                      *************

 .            The Apologetic Life

 late exit

 late bus

 apologies

 broken down bus

 apologies

 late entrance

 apologies

 penalised

 pay docked

 angry callers

 apologies

 late home

 apologies

 restless night

 .               *************

 .    .            shift change

 new hours
 of grind

 not yet comfy

 arse fidgets
 till it finds

 a settled place
 for cheeks

 then they change
 your shift again

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