Borderland by Ben Davis

A foursome seen from playground restaurant furniture,
Meet under an umbrella in the ne’er trodden middle of a car park.
Through pre-raphaelite reflections of children and coloured balloons,
Each couple cranes two necks over the other’s bag.

Round here, carts before bargain shoppers,
Full of furniture and tins and odd companionship.
At light my windshield is clean enough to be invisible,
And in-front pigeons score across the violin blue sky.

Exit through the sucking noise of an automatic door,
Walking from the foursome tonguing your coffee-scratched raw lip.
Drive forty minutes inside the powerhouse,
To feel safe with romantic poets and Italianate hamburgers.

A father, son-in-law and girl step in front across the road,
Ignoring Pret-a-Manger’s gluten-free night hawk impersonation.
To Let signs of failed corporate simulation jut into the night void,
Boxing in imagination like a pair of BMWs.

Early morning watch a rubbish truck make full use of road markings,
Stared down by a mannekin lit from over its pocket square.
The cocked hat and felt mounds of its sassy companion,
Give drowning men something maternal to chew on.

A Week by Ben Davis

It was outside work at the Business Park,
The weather had begun to throw seagulls around.
And walking the country’s B roads of scrapping plants,
I saw the chain link fences and stunted pines.
Who couldn’t see all this forgotten land
As romantic foreground to forgotten crime?
With sinister intention, strewn on urban duff,
Gas canister, extractor and corrugated iron.
The damp air brought hikers at Ingleton,
And one man sat in a car too quietly by a rock face.
His dry cagoule still has the price tag attached and he waits
Until damp air dries out too late.
That morning all these dark ideas for a Friday
Were presaged by the pussy foot of a scaredy cat.
Tortoise shell he was, and his eyes entered the kitchen
When the corner pots crashed.
“Watch behind you lovey” said the lady in the caff
As she carried plates into the back.
And from the indoor outdoorness of a Tesco car park
I regarded box hedges that would surely last.

Squares by Ben Davis

The young in Bloomsbury wear their favourite t shirts,
As playful as the lion or unicorn.
Sweat beads, fitting sleeves to shoulders, and bare arms
Dropping like ammunition.

Unexpected spring sunshine reveals the coyness in bodies
That dream of student rooms.
Or of walking in the evening to Angel by Mount Pleasant,
To meet an older friend in different clothes.

Therapy by Ben Davis

I had my head massaged by Leanne in Treatment Room 2.
I’ve never been a fan of numerals.
They’re uncouth, about shortcuts and proof.

Massage exists in a grey area.
The laying on of hands.
I looked forward to it as the most elementary of pleasures.

Treatment Room 2 – a cleanly named room. In a bad way.
What else can you call it?
Like an office? ‘You’re in Niagara today.’
How many waterfalls can you name? Angel.

You’re in Victoria today.

We all meditated together after porridge.
And got rid of our toxins.

It seems Yoga is a way of staying dry.
It’s a comfortable cult.
As welcoming as a franchise.

Donatello and Masaccio Confused by Ben Davis

So much kowabunga-inducing drama,
In its own surroundings, united by perspective.

These four figures stand apart and also united.
Colour and shade all that picks the anchovy eater from the non-.

Splinter is here in the lightest relief under the vaulted arches
Of the sewers where he hides out, ashamed.

Such character in the strongly outlined bodies
Of Beebop and Rock Steady.
The anguish in their faces so opposed to the grace
Of earlier, pre-mutant forms.

No flowing robes and towered castles,
Just the gritty world of televised crime,
The Christian story arcs, yes, but a parallel narrative, too,
Of love and longing for a future past.