the poetry that matters

James Mc Laughlin

James Mc Laughlin is from Dumbarton, Scotland. His work has appeared in Stride, Otolith, Blazevox, Greatworks, NthPosition, Blackbox Manifold, gistsandpiths, Poetry Scotland, Poetry Now, TLS, the beat.

from Odes


curbs on an aspect: elimination
floats and dances along moons, stars, fills a
sack and sets it gently upon the tide, perhaps
heaps it over a cliff, throws them at the
clouds for ravens to catch, bird dust
shrouds and inclines, catch me if you can -
be my denunciation or fortune or empire,
dismissal hobbles along empty paths, eats
a solitary and meaningless banquet, suppers
way after midnight on it’s knees and face-
soaks a grim reality into twine and everywhere
flowers come out  seas leap and colours return, ice
eases in the streams along crag lines, thaws in
bushes and regrets - a lush rectitude walks through
each new beginning, crackle and hope vie for
proposition to a numb cheek and staring eye -
fascinated by obsessions and cares - revealed
on the external always.


there’s an appetite a proclivity of sorts:
it sails on a gloze of moisture, leaf
sighing in low voice and whisper,
hurdle - capering up from a familiar
nuance a leaning to and fro as partiality –
can you hear it, or taste it smell all
those discarded memoirs on crack
and shoe movement, always
around a bend a sun slash -
that never really was, embarked it
takes its fancy overwhelms,
a tazer etherized upon a table,
stark lamp - like certain half finished
words, footfall rainfall come a
little closer touch it ‘feel it’.

what was it that sprung eternal: an
obfuscation and it’s assortment of deputation,
thus so innumerable - myriads of globular
glass jars, all sorts of colours and aromas -
dead treasures in sugar, an embarkation
on a lemon field, an upland headland
woodland dreamland ruse, gliding in a shaft
of newborn radiance, faced and acrid on the
still cut moor the burning fells and downs,
a ship drops anchor in this ocean so
blue so spectacular that the gulls shy away,
the mariner tots and rubs his tired eyes –
a silver shore, an azure sky, palm trees, the
sun so hot that the monkey’s freeze and
all is green and lush and – tranquillity -
a human breast lingers in the warmth turns
it’s bones over and over in the sand, rejoiced
in oyster shells and a barking glare – come
tomorrow deluge a single transmitter, fasten
or release - vertigoing each leaf and experience


I can see an outline of some ineptitude: a
release, a laitance of ability or something
restless, even on the wooded floor, a shaft of
magpie wing and paper, lifts at futility –
a panorama that laughs at gratification, as
foot fell one after another in the white, I’m
in the imagination of a moment somewhere –
can you ever feel it, again there’s some
effort that can’t be satisfied, an ineffectual
rainbowed onion, a man is balancing a wheel
spending time on each spoke, taking small
steel tools and adjustments to rotation, all
around they couldn’t quite put their finger
on it – never the birds and the flowers that
wept for Lazarus - for a semblance of something,
anything. the snow lit up the whole wood,
it was amazing that Christmas day, I
imagined tanks in the Dordogne - tan
and black crosses, crashing through trees,
today no more of ode or epic, listen to
the walls falling disregard any form of grace

An omniana of intension or tension or a curiously reluctant  half light – returning turning through twigs and extensions of branches fingered  river well worn and comforting fibre - rattan caned gives under foot gathering how secondary thought transpires to inclination or a distant spire diffusion of rainbow light a rain drip concludes in a mottling omniferous always the great trunks seem unimpregnated - sending horizontal and lateral obfuscations foliageous some skin love of sorts a baizing moistness filter and light defer cede then generate once more increasing in a concern of viviousity  capitulated or acquiesce water over rocks echo in a silence seeking a some gone surrender – gather along trenches and dark places that eventually find release nothing remains contained flanges and lifts appear as normal compatibility skates on the underside of plants and fauna red dots and a grill vein taken – a parting of extremes – condition and contrast a path opens towards a track over fields and hills.

As granuling or laccolith as texture rough or jagged approximate in lines given through green as gestation inter pruniferous glass bulbs sodden black  listless peripheral slightly tangential perhaps a waxen or  ineffectual radiance weightless or wispy balls and encumbrances contorted darkness  insubstantial drifted memory faulting desire some mystification oscillations or an organogenesis and degrees lachymiforms in a sudden aspect  logic  or agile interweaving networked through air a semblance or wishes gently inhaled taken deep something relaxes grains consistency a racemiferous refulgency of light gathers in all the recesses of this physical and non physical tendon - black digits drip like dead eels on stalks sending neurotransmitters seeking a rekindled solace seldom is little compared  much accepted taken is the sharper edges of ferns and extremities of holly  vibrations and the sound of tyre noises somewhere eases and dissipates  black or blue speckles flicker wing tips and magpie s by streams effodient as the forest floor filters water and sediment all is giving and warmth it could be summer.

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