Mark Goodwin: Mad Vandal’s Dry April Ramble

rotting five-bar gates to walk; to pull
their broken plank-bones from long grass-strands. Thump

the compacted
ground of paths with blistered balls of bare feet. Cut

wrinkled fertiliser bags, found
in crisp ditch-bottoms, into strips to dress
the desiccated carcass of a badger as
an angel of the dry daze. Claw

flints with bleeding fingernails to prove
blood’s runnier than water. Sprint

across stubby grass harbouring lost
smashed glass. Hurl

sycamore saplings into the branches of a beech; watch

a mother’s sap-filled limbs catch
dead babies. Cough
on the beige mist slipping off
terrified bared roots. Screech

the feel of barbed wire on an inner thigh. Stroke

a faded-to-pink Coke can to show
a gesture of reverence. Caress

a primrose’s petal-edge – then pick-it-and-bin-it. Yell

expletives at little nipples of hawthorn buds; arouse
the stiffness of thorns. Crawl

on the cracked ground of this dry April. Graze
– in grief – your eyeball with a bleached
crisp packet’s sharp corner. Dial

a lewd 0891 number; speak,
sad as bird-song in a biscuit tin, into
a black plastic dog-bone. Lick
scabs of fast drying cow pats. Jeer

at a hovering kestrel, tell
it to go

fuck itself. Gob.

how your spittle rolls
into balls of moist dust. Gawp.

[Mad Vandal’s Dry April Ramble was first published by Tears in the Fence]

Mark Goodwin

Mark Goodwin is a poet-sound-artist who speaks & writes in various ways. He is also a balancer, walker, climber, and stroller.
Mark has been making poetry (and fiction) for over three decades. He has published six full-length books & seven chapbooks with Knives Forks & Spoons Press, Leafe Press’s Open House Editions, Longbarrow Press, Nine Arches Press, The Red Ceilings Press, Shearsman Books, & Small Minded Books. Both Mark’s books with Longbarrow Press – Steps (2014) & Rock as Gloss (2019) – were category finalists in the Banff Mountain Book Competition. Mark’s next book, due out with Shearsman in 2021, is called At.

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