Last Lick

WELCOME to Last Lick –

A fifth collection  of poems. There will be the usual mix of poetry, new and old. New poetry from me and a selection of some of my favourite poems by writers I admire, as well as contributions from others in a variety of artforms.


New poetry – So it Goes. Beasts and Serpent.  Ilinx. A Sigh for the Impermanence of Life. Blood Spots On The Eye. A Darker Mirror (part 2). A Darker Mirror (part 1). Thundercats are go. A Last Lick. Pleasure. Storm. A Man Takes a Photograph in Santa Groce. Dark/Light. Geology.
Other titles – Extract from Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. When the Mantel Clock Stops by Martha Sheppard. A Waiting Room in August by Julia Darling. Hedauville by Roland Leighton. Sonnet (1928) by Elizabeth Bishop. The Twins by Judith Wright. The Soldiers Death by Anne Finch. Casida of the Rose by Frederico Garcia Lorca. The Precept of Silence by Lionel Johnson.


so it goes

So it Goes.
It was what it was. Unstoppable.
Precious moments running away
like beads of mercury.
Nothing saves you from yourself.
So it goes.
The necrotic impulse, the malign force,
a shadow wrapped in a transient skin,
tangled and sacred,
a theatre of physical torment –
Cold to the touch. The speckled tips
of meaning and connectedness –
“and his soul from out that shadow, lies floating
on the floor, shall be lifted – nevermore”.
Viewed from the other end of the telescope
he set out to erase the shadow. Helpless,
he had observed the jet black marbled eye
blinking out of oily feathers,
perched on the goddess of wisdom.
So it goes.
Viewed from the other end of the telescope,
he saw a world in retreat.
The ink dried up; extracted from skin,
sucked by the point of the tattooists pen,
returning to its well of pain. Chest and upper arm
clean again.
Under her left breast, her heart beat once more,
her burnished ring cooled, slipped seamlessly
on to her finger. She regained
her poise, her shape, her breath.
Babies retreated down narrow channels,
bellies shrunk, spermatozoa swam in high tailed retreat.
Free verse and rhyming couplets flew off pages,
became thought, became nothing.
Whispered words of love were sucked back down
twisted wires. Where love blossomed, love faded.
The complexity of colour dripped
from the canvas, became caked
and cloaked in mistrust –
a box of artless memories,
a graveyard of passion –
Yet the black marbled eye
blinked at him still –
Perched on the goddess of wisdom.

(lines in italics from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe)

——— ♥♥♥ ———

slaughterhouse 5

The following is an extract from Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. It imagines a world seen backwards by its hero Billy Pilgrim and forms the premise of my final poem to be posted on this website.


Billy got out of bed in the moonlight. He felt spooky and luminous, felt as though he was wrapped in cool fur that was full of static electricity. He looked down at his bear feet. They were ivory and blue.
Billy shuffled down his upstairs hallway knowing he was about to be kidnapped by a flying saucer. The hallway was zebra striped with darkness and moonlight. The moon came into the hallway through doorways of the empty rooms of Billy’s two children, children no more. They were gone forever. Dread told him when to stop. Lack of it told him when to move again. He stopped….
Billy padded downstairs on his blue and ivory feet. He went to the kitchen, where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the tent. Somebody had stoppered it again. “Drink me” it seemed to say.
So Billy uncorked it with his thumbs. It didn’t make a pop. The champagne was dead. So it goes.
Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this.
American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb pay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers and lifted the containers back into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes… 
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from their racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During the Second World War he served in Europe, was a prisoner of war and witnessed the destruction of Dresden by allied bombers.

——— ♥♥♥ ———

Adam Fuss
Adam Fuss “The space between garden and Eve”
Beasts and Serpents.
Beasts hidden in clouds,
serpents in caves. Your shadow
climbed out of it’s fear.
No final turn or smile, just your shape at odds with circumstance.
Under a winding path,
a weeping tree and a bloated moon.
The clouds circled in beastly shape,
picked you up with nimbus fingers, leaving me with nobility of the soul
and a serpents fire.
In his cave
that’s darker than desire
the serpent still has me pinned against the wall,
for now.
——— ♥♥♥ ———


(create a temporary disruption of perception)
“You are mine…you are mine”
your lips pursed,
the stretched skin of your mouth,
the clashing cymbals of your words,
possessive and inaccurate.
Language can’t explain everything.
So I focus on the intensity of your eyes;
their voluptuous panic –
long ago perhaps. Long ago.
That strange excitement you possessed –
how it raced,
like water quickening before a narrow channel.
Animal noises –
a howl of naked aggression,
predicated by the urge to create minor chaos,
before retreating into your own shadow.
Are you stuck between a dissatisfied present
and an unavailable past?
Don’t tell me I don’t want to know.

——— ♥♥♥ ———


When the Mantel Clock Stops.
by Martha Sheppard
She sits at the table her needles poised like knife and fork,
they click click click dragging
peach coloured wool across the plastic coated table cloth
stained with the mustard that escaped her lips,
the spit spots of yellow unnoticed by white washed eyes.
Her fingers are nimble, unlike her mind,
shadowed with the loss of matter and meaning,
of need to keep breathing.
Her face is a maze as she slaves over
another square for another blanket,
filling the time that has too much space,
the third world will be wrapped
in her knitting embrace, itching
and scratching in the heat of the desert, in the heat
of her warden controlled flat where we moved her
for her own good, for our good.
Her needles, like a metronome
count away at the minutes and hours
while she waits for the mantel clock to stop,
for the beating in her chest to stop,
like the beating in his chest stopped.
She tells me a story from the old days, the hay days,
the air raid ringing in her ears,
when she was lit up in technicolour as planes bombarded her
with bombs and fear and love.
A young woman in silk stockings, in the arms of a railway man,
the wind of those nights still whistles through hair that has faded
to white, and in her eyes the light goes out.

——— ♥♥♥ ———

sunset by Joe Keenan
sunset by Joe Keenan
A Sigh for the Impermanence of Life.
Often a rapturous travel in time,
the photographs, the songs, the smells.
An alluring unavailable past washes over,
eerily cold.
A grey sky marks “the hour of lead”.
My eyes feast on the beauty of decay
and the colours that die in the head.
I enjoyed standing on the safety of the shore
as you selfishly fucked up your life –
a smooth, polished pebble of a feeling –
washed by a bitter ocean.
Like the pebble,
you never appeared to feel the shame
you ought to.

——— ♥♥♥ ———

pink moon

Blood Spots On The Eye.
Framed in an inky sky,
blood orange ball,
a full moon eye.
A nick of the razor’s edge,
weeping arterial trick
of the light…or so it seems.
Black spots form and flit
like insects on the bark.
Clouds race
and shadows chase
at the flick of a lid.
Lucky man…haemorrhage…at your age,
these are the words I remember.
——— ♥♥♥ ———
Julia Darling
Julia Darling
A Waiting Room in August.
by Julia Darling.
We’ve made an art of it.
Our skin waits like a drum,
hands folded, unopened.
Eyes are low watt light bulbs
in unused rooms.
Our shoulders cook slowly,
in dusky rays of light.
This morning we polished our shoes
so that they should wait smartly.
Our wigs lie patiently
on our dignified heads.
Our mouths are ironed.
Acute ears listen for
the call of our names
across the room of
green chairs and walls.
Our names, those dear consonants
and syllables, that welcomed us
when we began,
before we learnt to wait.
Call us to the double doors
where the busy nurses go!
Haven’t we waited long enough?
Haven’t we waited beautifully?
——— ♥♥♥ ———

broken mirror

A Darker Mirror (part 2)
“I want to live and love and make my mark”
But you have lived and loved and made your mark”
The mirror replied,
“and you have paid the price”.
“I wanted to see what it was I was”
“Oh no” the mirror mocked,
“Who are you trying to be,
I am only surface. If you want to probe the depth
of who you are, don’t stand in front of me”
——— ♥♥♥ ———

single poppy

by Roland Leighton
The sunshine on the long white road
that ribboned down the hill,
The velvet clematis that clung
around your window sill,
are waiting for you still.
Again the shadowed pool shall break
in dimples round your feet,
and when the thrush sings in your wood,
unknowing you may meet,
another stranger, sweet.
And it he is not quite as old
as the boy you used to know,
and less proud too, and worthier,
you may not let him go –
(and daisies are truer than passion flowers)
It will be better so.
From Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
——— ♥♥♥ ———


A Darker Mirror
I scarcely dare to look,
these days of rapid change,
edged with cynicism.
The gaze that sweeps across me –
severe, a face I thought I knew
’til now. A moveable feast to re-arrange.
Once, with an eye ever hopeful,
the heady then, the more grounded now.
I scarcely dare to look,
in case the weight of the past
comes leaping through.
——— ♥♥♥ ———

me and emmy lotte

Thundercats are go
(dedicated to Emmy Lotte McAdam)
The calm, the storm –
beautiful folding, unfolding skin and bone.
And here you are –
cradled and nestled;
smelling of toasted almonds.
Wrapped and swaddled,
baby claws peek,
the surrounding faces.
The sway –
a legacy.
The beating heart,
the sparkle in her eyes, beguiling and giddy
like the wine in our glasses.
“Thundercats are go” shouted Juno McGuff.
Behold this bundle of human frailty –
But I promise to be strong today.
I bet you never thought you would end up in my arms.
I like it that you don’t mind.
——— ♥♥♥ ———
Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop
Sonnet (1928)
I am in need in music that would flow
over my fretful feeling finger tips,
over my bitter, tainted lips,
with melody deep, clear and liquid slow.
Oh for the healing, swaying old and low,
of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
a song to fall like water on my head,
and over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow.
There is a magic made in melody,
a spell of rest, a quiet place and cool,
heart that sinks through fading colours deep,
to the subaqueous stillness of the sea
and floats forever in a moon green pool,
held in the arms of rhythm and sleep.
Elizabeth Bishop was American poet laureate in 1949 and Pulitzer prize winner for poetry in 1956
——— ♥♥♥ ———
A last Lick
She attacked his heart,
his senses, his direction of travel,
with silk from her shirt,
watched it ride up her flesh,
silk on silk.
He licked the static
at the base of her spine.
A last lick,
a freckled blush.
He discovered the ghost of a smile,
a tremor of touch,
murmured and flush.
He raised his fingertip
to halt the parting of her lips,
a temporary hush
to the breaking news-
the ghost of a lie
and the weight of silence in twilight hours.
Where did you go to my love?
Where did you go?
Somewhere in another world
he fills his breath with her name.
——— ♥♥♥ ———
The Australian born poet Judith Wright
The Australian born poet Judith Wright
The Twins
by Judith Wright (1915-2000)
Not because of their beauty – though they are slender
as saplings of white cedar, and long as lilies –
not because of their delicate dancing step,
or their brown hair sideways blown like the manes of fillies –
it is not for their beauty that the crowd in the street
wavers like dry leaves around them on the wind.
It is the chord, the intricate unison
of one and one, strikes home to the watcher’s mind.
How sweet the double gesture, the mirror-answer;
same hand woven in same, like arm in arm.
Salt blood like tears freshens the crowds dry veins,
and moving in its web of time and harm
the unloved heart asks, ‘Where is my reply,
my kin, my answer? I am driven and alone’.
Their serene eyes seek nothing. They walk by.
They move into the future and are gone.
——— ♥♥♥ ———

lie image

the unhurried friendliness.
The precision fit of limbs.
The familiarity of ritual,
whispered moments of giggles and moans.
Changing gears as she drove,
lathering her hair into an ice-cream cone,
feeding strawberry’s from his mouth to hers.
both spellbound with hopeless abandon.
Pattern set; shaped; institutionalised.
The word relationship was the final straw,
it was on their lips so often,
they sickened of it.
Even in their final moments they clung to each other,
for the pleasure, for the hell of it.
He wanted to handcuff them together
and throw away the key.
He would consent to a life of subjugation.
She was prepared to hack her right hand off,
or more likely his.

——— ♥♥♥ ———

artwork by Suzy Angus
artwork by Suzy Angus
You sent me a storm
and i swam in its pleasure.
You smiled, your eyes and mouth
a constant measure.
You spoke of love and I believed
every kiss and word deceived, until…
The faint ribbon of a rainbow
that clung to the sky,
died with your storms desire.
——— ♥♥♥ ———
Anne Finch (Countess of Winchilsea)
Anne Finch (Countess of Winchilsea)
The Soldier’s Death
by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720)
Trail all your pikes, dispirit every drum,
march in slow procession from afar,
ye silent, ye dejected men of war!
Be still the hautboys and the flute be dumb!
Display no more, in vain the lofty banner;
For see! where on the bier before ye lies
the pale, the fallen, the untimely sacrifice
to your mistaken shrine, to your false idol honour.
——— ♥♥♥ ———
Trattoria al Ponte, Calle Larga, Santa Groce, Venice
Trattoria al Ponte, Calle Larga, Santa Groce, Venice
A man takes a photograph in Santa Groce
Beyond the secrets of the Calli,
above him,
a vast dome of blue sky.
Conversations at tables,
muted and steady.
“It took Tintoretto twenty three years
to paint the ceiling at the Scuola Grande,
twenty three years.
Ice chimes in glasses, bellini light.
Aging tourists file over bridges
in reptilian slow motion.
Waiters heels click across stone,
heads swimming with vague misunderstandings.
The photographer, intent on spontaneity,
clicks the world.
——— ♥♥♥ ———

flash images

Darkness crept
through keyholes and window blinds,
swallowed up whole rooms,
laughing like the black caped villain in a Victorian melodrama.
Colours retreat,
fingers fumble.
Ravaged winter trees,
silent cathedrals in silent cities
bow to the nights febrile fingers.
He yearns to shed himself of solitude,
an outstretched arm draping over a warm body.
But the darkness; that compass of the soul,
the hand in his hand, the voice in his ear,
cloaked him in sorrow;
Oh he was occasionally teased with trinkets,
but they were soon returned to the dark recesses of a drawer
he can never unlock.


Bathed in summer sun,
the light, soft and quiescent,
casually lengthens evenings.
Swifts and swallows chirp their turf wars.
In flights of fancy, the china roses bowed
in a crimson rage.
Bustling cathedrals in bustling cities
bask in fingers of light.
He was no servant to perfection.
Oh for the pleasure of a cooling wind.
He was no servant to perfection.

——— ♥♥♥ ———

Casida of the Rose
by Frederico Garcia Lorca
The rose
was not looking for the daybreak;
almost eternal on its branch,
it looked for something else.
The rose
was not looking for knowledge, or for shadow;
the boundary of flesh and dream,
it looked for something else.
The rose
was not looking for the rose.
Unmoving in the sky,
it looked for something else.
Casida of the Rose was one of a number poems by Lorca written in the early 1930’s as a trubute to the old Arab poets of Granada

——— ♥♥♥ ———


The Precept of Silence
by Lionel Johnson
(From The Weekend Book)
I know you: solitary griefs,
desolate passions, aching hours!
I know you: tremulous beliefs,
agonised hopes and ashen flowers!
The winds are sometimes sad to me;
the starry spaces, full of fear;
mine is the sorrow of the sea,
and mine the sigh of places drear.
Some players upon plaintive strings
publish their wistfulness abroad,
I have not spoken of these things,
save to one man, and unto God

——— ♥♥♥ ———


Following peaks and valleys of your love.
The pleasure of geology.
We shared the darkness
in our narrow cave bed: made narrow
by the closeness of you.
Loved when, in those urgent moments
we were ignorant of time.
I thought I was in a safe place – insanity.
For when your igneous ranges cooled,
faded as crumbled stone,
Twas then I listened for the ticking of eternity,
hold up as a temporary guest
in your silent room
of unconditional ruinous love.

——— ♥♥♥ ———


2 thoughts on “Last Lick

    Tony R said:
    August 11, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I’ve read every one of these and I’ve been wanting to write something meaningful, but I cant, for me it’s to difficult when you read poetry with such anguish and depth.


      daveyoungpoet responded:
      August 12, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Hi T….thanks for the comment, depth I like, it is something one aims for. As for anguish…well, no explanation required. However getting my writing mojo back over the last 12 months or so has been a great help…pleased to hear you have been reading the website, it is much appreciated. Hope you and Nath are both well. Cheers…D


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