Doses – Theo Banks


The harbour quay pulsed like a swarming hive
Dregs of salted rot from the sea were hauled in boats like baskets
Muck was scraped from stones and rusting iron rungs by boot-scratches
Soon to be replaced by fresh spilled slop
Or the growth that followed the rise of the surf.
Gelatine economic frenzy shifted barrels and buckets,
Tearing netted fruit from the homely cold expanse
To deposit it by the shoal-load into the acid-pits.
Ropes and rotting wood embraced in blemished matrimony:
These were the town’s most valued branches, overhanging the sea
And lynched from them were the weighty, wealthy bodies of shore-men
Murdered not in malice, revenge or justice,
But in the intersubjective spirit of the hunt
Carried forward on the back of the morphing colossus
Unrecognisable now, but still the fire in the belly and the gleam in the tooth
It had been, and ceaselessly fought to be.
And in the polluted stench of the harbour,
Among the sinewy toil and fermented release,
The flopping, gasping torment and gullish screams,
The death and renewal of hands and wagons –
Circles inscribed in arcing circles –
The rhythm of breath, for a time, held chaos at bay.



Happy lacking lonely walks in swamps of themic slurry
Spilling forth from broiling pits of the tarbound plane
Just as the dark clouds which swallow the sea at night,
Its oozing harmonies eat you
Like fungus swallows a log in the forest.
Your bed is or will be a cold place,
Home will greatly grow and be vast around you
And it will be of no comfort
You will yearn for that place in the sun
Grand and heartfilled, nowhere though it seems to be.
That is repugnant.
Make yourself hard against that will,
Your goo will yet be drawn from you,
And to separate yourself from the hardship
Is to heave fruitlessly against the turning tide
Your glory is stilted and grotesque, but it is yours
And this glory comes only in the forbidden freedom:
Dilapidation of the structure which grasps you
And architecture of a place in the brutal world



Jelly germ spawn
Bubble in bloom
Downness loses you as you spin
You wander sailor, through current and swirl
Pass wash and whirl
The great is ablaze with your sisters,
You are uttered in this vastness
Like a whisper in a storm,
Nothing is your guide yet you find the way
To the trunk of your renewal
Polyp pressed gently into the bliss,
Where titans have stepped,
Of the green garden path



Like a bin lid bitch, mouth open spews dog gone wire headed spices
Matrimony to degradation: wank you sycophant, it’s presumptuous to breathe clean air
Get your motherfucking nails all bloody
Realms are spaces for horizontal mobility only
And each realm moves slowly down into the sinkhole suck suck suck
I was never present, I am only present now
When I’m not nothing is
Thirst is only a call to arms
Quenching is what bullets do, all release an exercise in continuity
Tides grind stones in their toothless similes
Local homes are far off idealism in the eyes of birds
Trees drink acid water and breathe evil air
Neptune is choking and terrified
He too rises in fury against the worms who wash his blood full of waste
Philanthropy is equivalent to guilt in a world where only suicide can impede natural death
City blocks carry vain and unseen shingles
All full of potential but kicked by wind, water and glue until they crack
Giants’ shoulders should lift us higher than this
The catch was always that the giants are sleeping now
Left lying below, nailed into coffins buried deep in the mud they were made from.




What do my dreams do to me?
Quicksilver immemorials brought on unburdened wings
Substance of self in simultaneous flurry and calm
Sprouts grow from these waters, this field.
Lakes of intensity, dew filled glowing and among mountains
Upon their surface and deep below on their floors
And all through them percolating
Guano and sanguine milk
Bubbles of nuptial cloud rise and burst out
Tendril streams of current hair-twist within
Life is brought to focus in the stylings of those little deaths
Moments roost for eons, nested in the space behind the eyes
Or take flight and soar over the shadows of night
Searching out of the blackness for morsels of gold
Images, symbols and harmonies
To feed to their lean young:
The stomachs of the heart