Poem in Which I Drift Off While an Astrophysicist Tells Me About What Makes His Relationship Work

the morning in the yard, wiping toast crumbs off my jeans.
For god’s sake – I was excited by – let’s call it data.

Imagine a small piece of matter
about my size,

now imagine it’s morning, let’s say 6:31 am,
mist in the conifers, a cuckoo, then in the road, reversing, a car

sure red’s as good a colour as any,
then let us say, spaghetti.

Spaghetti is like the bath overrun:
that’s you or me crossing the event horizon

matter, or Mike so warm on my chest, brooding
he is my very own human electric blanket

the day
stretching out, the windows a string of zeroes.

Let’s say the darker the matter the better the punchline
and memories live on with the length-meaning of n.

There is a kind of equilibrium to sadness
the death of someone so close to you; do eight minutes pass

before it ghosts into you – the pan handle’s heat through a tea-towel? No.
The Northern Lights’ lavender green dust

happens to be the sun, I can’t fill the void.
Flying at 3,000 times the speed of sound,

that’s the way he makes me feel, his self-diagnosing
the tea bag bobs in the water, the Beach Boys upstairs.

Ah, this is your lifeline, it is like the Orion test
booster exiting the Florida cirrus –

this is where your love line crosses –
mine does the same, here, observe,

to kiss you took years of research
there are some things you can explain

anything else
come down to the kitchen and dance with me.

Harry Man

Poem in Which We Journey Through the Brain of a Nightingale

In practice this nightingale’s words swerve, herded into home video
air-stuffled foreground wall sound, the wind that wears at altitude
the aural cavities of avian hearing in peace from the birch
where peace is an adverb of weatherfront heard while circling
the circuit of hand-me-down hunting grounds, microscoping
the Medway-soaked plantain for what itches in the ultraviolet,
signals aeronautic, arcs synaptic across the hindbrain, midbrain,
forebrain, hover-held, a fulgurite voice-print following-fit phrase
memorised in the buffered bee-mind reckoning the rote intones
the thatch calyx of nest and the skull-vaulted song in air sacs
stacks the socketing of gases that surge-electric, sublate,
regulated by the lungs, the heart, the stomach, the stomach,
heart and lungs, the carrier wave of pulse is gyroscopic
through curves, curves of the skin-thick crown coast-magnetic,
less dead cert, but surfs a gut feeling for North, Norfolk, Shaker’s Wood,
next crests hemispheres, never blackening out, dips to pitch and downs
the tent of its wings, falls with the grain of the wind, a skiff skirting
the transparent cerebella of high canopies, weighing sail-search with why,
whichever perch works to see what kill comes if it comes to kill first
and shudders bursts of nerved stuttering, the head
saccading for the sake of the eye, the sinuses hum
in syrinx territory calls chiaroscoro, resonant, stridulating
lift ululatations, Senegambian, the wind changes —
you hear it; the nightingale, a female singing in nervous laughter,
a musical birthday card addressed to the dead,
a holiday-maker’s car alarm – loud and long and penetrating
and worrying between wanting attention and warning,
breaking off into an uneasy peace.

Harry Man