Watching Harry Dean Stanton’s Film ‘Lucky’

Shooting Your Luck

When Lucky is telling
whoever is on the other end of the phone
about shooting a mocking bird

I think of Harper Lee, naturally,
and then those unknown birds in a nest
with my own BB gun.

I would have been younger,
but that’s no excuse, and I recall clearly
the sun shining

though now I’ve mentioned it
I also seem to remember another time
in the woods near my home,

a young adult, and again
carving her name in my upper arm
like the other when just eleven.

Yet the only mortality here
are those past deaths, then the two scars,
one a misspelling, now disappeared.

Dynamic Learning


The dynamic verb
is adjectival, as expression,
which is ironic
because errant, pedantically speaking,
but also oxymoronic
in being applied correctly to
a word,
which is a verb,
and is dynamic in what it alludes to,
yet not in the meaningful way
which isn’t,
though is here now,

Dear student, that is today’s
dynamic lesson.


Dear student,
about this expression:
‘The (abstract) nouns two days’ –

no, this is as concrete as time gets,
calculated as precisely as this [though not by minutes
and seconds, I concede],

and their love has not been gulped by a ‘dynamic verb’
but by water
that is literal and then metaphoric

and never – never – resolved by the
twee joining/unison/touch of wings
because actual love is not ever this finessed by feathers.


Dear student,

in the future
you must get your tenses right

as tense verb
is an inversion of something

learned in the past
but forgotten in the present.

And does ‘had’
need this classification?

When they had that love,
then it was tense with anticipation.


or not as much as what he loves her
is the most honest expression you

have shared
like what they did not, or her to him,

which you called ironic
and I, being older, would call despair,

dear young, earnest, learning student:

[asyndetic list].

Moustache Man

There is Moustache Man
in a deckchair
on this esplanade
at the sea front
and he is smoothing it,
smoothing it out and flat,
then actually twirling,
twirling it up at the end,
both sides,
looking towards the water
unaware of being observed
in this sunshine,
and though I’ve always known
it was correct,
he is aptly named
by me.