Mealtime

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Little boy, brought up on meat and gravy,
slowly forgets the cow in the field,
a deep grey divide, a tired tidal process,
a cold unforgiving sea.

The pig is in the pen, the little boy sees his likeness
in picture books, something absent,
something referenced,
brightly coloured
like flags waved before militias,
raping the people of other countries
time and time again,
and butcher shops open their doors on the high street,
offering cut after cut time and time again,
tide and tide again.

Skeletons live in every field, every place to plough
and graze, every place
tilled by a man,
whom has sown seeds down the gullies and furroughs,
and diverted rivers from their course.

Time and tide go on mercilessly,
and little boys are well-fed and grow up strong
because they eat all there is on their plate,
mop up the gravy with bread,
and when they are men,
their appetite will not be satisfied.
They have picked the apple when it is rotten,
baked the fish in saltwater,
shored up the lie of their own sex,
killed the wolf, and in doing so,
have become one.

Feral

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Under the Mongolian steppe and Serengeti heat,
under mango grove and poppy field,
under ancient blessed wood once haunted by aurochs,
now haunted by aurochs,
lies a feral mother, skinless.

Her reach stretches around the globe,
grows the page and ink for the atlas,
is treasured, is hunted,

and in her depths we forget she is there,
both slumbering and awake,
in her depth we allow bronze lions to cover
where real lions used to roam.

The Child Bride From Tulip

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

This piece is from my first portfolio OUTLANDISHand it details the relationship between a father and his daughter.


Her love for you is nitro, you know?

Hello sweet little dreamer, pull me close,
entangle me in ivy, lay me on a
bed of starfish. From that first
spark of light child, I knew it
was you, little lifeline, daydreaming
me back
into existence.

All this is, is pink and orange cumulus
and lenticular, buoying me up, my
molecules treasured in temporality, space
is arching, bronzed, shining. I taste
sugar again. You are cherry blossoms in
full bloom, little dreamer. Sweet little dreamer.

Little tulip wanderer, golden-edged forgotten girl,
courageous spellcaster, permeating my aching head,
holding me close. Your small hand
travelled up my bedtime torso, the sun
stared like a rare propeller, and
sugarboy awoke.

I was heartsick, like a sad puppydog,
headsick as a deepwater lord, but
now I’ve had a little bit of brainwash,
a formula of orange and pink, the
wisdom of an ancient goddess from someone
so young, an alchemist gifting amber glow.
I didn’t believe you could feel this much before. I
am a mortal, and a father before that.

When she smiles I smile. I’ll remember that.
the blossom may fade some days, that is
the nature of life. The orangepink is
the colour of her soul, the colour of
sunrise cresting a mountaintop, flourishing
in the meadows, providing light for the whole year.

She holds my hand, directs me to a door,
the walls the same orangepink as she, filled
with her fire.

Getting Drunk With Dharma

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Sip the syrup out of your truthful sippie-cup
out of your golden almond heart, eat the flesh of
the berry with gin-sling slowly dripping down your chinny-chin
underpin and underscore the vital melody to your own life

as a piece of fresh fruit burst and sowing slick little summertime fun
secreting dimensions of purple death-threat scent sucked into the space between
fingers and toes. Little by little cocktail trickle upon your fickle mountain-spine,
you are a good dazed friend of mine, carved out of sticks with dull knives
so that the cutting takes a while but is ultimately worth it,
lost in the branches of a sip-sip-sippable lip
a lickable spittable swift syllable rip rip riptide in your mind’s eye
hitting up bars and beachcombing breakfast jars stacked high upon your pantry shelf your
shell-shocked cell-locked self-cocked self, semi-erect
like a ship broken on the rocks, we make churches out of the beams and
dresses out of the sails for boys and girls to tumble about in
and still look good for Sunday mass,
my jeans like those children are all covered in grass-stains
my lungs all covered in grass-stains, stained-glass window
of your proposed pagan religiosity, don’t act like you’ve no animosity
drop it as would the cities with the homeless
I find myself at home less, best dressed caressed
by cotton spot the rot in the mango grove cot

give me your painted pines, rip them from the ground
shower me with your peach needles, let no worms
of sickness needle their way into me
realise that time is simply a roadmap we use to understand the day
the hours of clock don’t mean shit
the tick-tick-tickable pit black spot icky-ickable fit
let’s get crazy with the unkiddable unkillable kids
from the north, those overlooked untouched
beautiful cold-ones, drink with them,
they’ll do you the world of good,
to drink is human, to share drinks is divine,
vine leaves dripping wine why console yourself
alone why play consoles alone
you can be happy when alone but who the hell would want to be?
let me be happy surrounded by my treasures, cherished
pleasure the measure of myself never severed from you

let me fade into the face of forever in such a way that my
form will be stained onto forest floors and causeways
lasting millennia, let me sigh in the silence on a
long-dead planet, celestial indelible incredible ed-dead-edible
bed-terrible said or yell-able perfect red bellyful,
yellow ex-lecturer juror of ex-cons, something close to a conjurer
conjure me up some undulating fun fumbling mind-rumbling
soaking up rum, teach me to love teach me to love
teach me to love so well that I will never die.

Lenticular Clouds Above Mt. Rainier

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

This poem was taken from my first collection ‘OUTLANDISH’


I’m breathing in on the mountaintop

I’m lying silent on the hospital bed

I’m swimming in colourless water/

<glacier              ridge             lahar              beatspill               alleyway            root            pyromania>

these waves in my brain are causing me to

suddenly lose something

I’m walking through a dead town

I’m talking

to strangers.
or am I talking to ghosts?

there is the ocean before me, waves borne back against the blue and grey foam, spilling over onto the sands of my shores,
stem cell revival stop
comatose close enough

the waves are beauteous and flawed and hurting lesions on my horizons

LESIONS ON MY WAVES

neural,
fires,

promise

promise

promise

what on earth could I be looking for?

a way out, a rupture, a beauty, a door, a triumph against the world inside my head, this grey white world sucking up parts of the outside and remaking them on the in

the violin sound in the basement of your temptation
the LSD tab on the hillside, watching the Sun
the peace upon my mantle
the resting of the running boy from the seas of his aching
the pine trees growing from your shoulders,
the taming the bed of your forefathers
the stony border of the land beyond
the woman in blue hanging about your head, floating in the sky, anchoring you
the ‘I can’t get enough’
the smiles shared over the tabletop in the morning
how we all talked,
each and every one of us springing forth the words from our mouths building worlds in other dimensions just because we had no money
the beeping of the life support
the scarf you made me, frayed and comfortable

the accident

the loss
the lenticular clouds above Mt. Rainier
intrinsically separate, and united in one whole.

The Axon Mantle//Go On 86!

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

This poem was taken from my first collection ‘OUTLANDISH’


Focus on the minutiae. That last little light
descending the axon
part of the soul, little light.

Eighty-six billion, moths made of embers.
Apparitions wrapped in myelin
electric swinging from the vines.

Two hundred to four hundred billion,
silver and purple and red and blue in the sky, milk of complexity and chance,
link ourselves to those
light disperses
universe go
memory go.

Carry on 86, carry on for him,
one
last time.

Sugarboy

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Little shaman jewel made of clay
little belly baby boy born
to be a bleeder,
born to a
weasel, a crab. Little canvas
nectar boy, starting life with
a heart shaped like an
almond,
aged into a part that is
armoured. Little sweet kissing boy,
little sweet kissing
wasp, born
to a monkey and a crab,
little aged glacial brain, polar
and howling for dharma, little
by little
mammalian flower boy,
cute little teargas human, holiest
hush from between hipbones, tiny
little bellybutton boxer, lover of
orange and cinnamon hypnosis, born
into a suckletrust, baptised by
astronauts, cursed in
lexical blizzard
bits, getting a bellyful
your little belly
full of milk, little beekeeper
little bloodsucker little boy, little
daddy-loving boy, little daddy-needing boy.
Will you be blackheart boy? Little powderbat
boy, hands like rosewillows eyes
like ladybugs, little boys future fingertipped
and flew off like a finch. That fear
fever little grim sacred boy, born
to a wolf and a dolphin, you
must remember little boy, sweet little
bottomfeeder boy, shiny little suit of
armour-living boy, you must remember,
metal rusts
little
metal
man
pour honey on your years little
sick chisel boy, killjoy little boy,
remember that nomads nestle
and dolphins drown, remember
that shouting men lose
their voices, my sweet little
inner-child fearing boy, remember
what your mother called you, little
boy, what did she call you?
Sweet little sugarboy.

Detached

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

thin godhead skin stretched vaguely cheerful
over the harmless bones of this architecture,
spilt paint like bloodstained glue peeled off
the fingers,
beating thing like breakaway island,
beating thing casket-fresh,
only thing to be seen is your profile
paradise promise sexless loner,
creative polar wind through frontal lobe,
frontal lobe arranged like bouquet of strawberries
covered in nightfall foam,
sweet and pesky freedom
for this prefabricated little boy
lonely to the roof of the sky and the bed of the sea,
one layer of fabric covering the thought of love
against the cold, beating thing beating thin
while pairs of airships float above.

Icebreaker

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Delicate spring rolls of seal meat cascade into view,
the bruised and rustling sound of an
atlas’ carapace weeps into the snow,
above and below, a stained-glass window
hums, cracks, and throws its shards across a sea of loneliness.

For ten hours the relentless moan of an icebreaker is recorded,
it tells us that mortality is a journey filled with silence
and deafening sound, atlas sound,
ice thundering into deep blue quantum space,
where we search for little pockets of warmth,
and find less than we need but enough to get by.

Homesick

Written by Jack Andrew Cribb

Homesickness, thrown up in the alley,
sprinkling colour over the dim brick of applejax,
the grey green of Euxton,
the sublime of midnight in Chorley,
that last great city of Europe.
Twenty years spent wearing thin pavements,
soles, patience, walking the same paths.

Geographies are memories,
swathed in grey and gold,
drug fuelled dancing in Heapey gardens while lovers wed,
meteors breaking apart on birthday nights,
kissing in the cold, always in the cold,
building dens in rolling fields,
necks slit, noses broken, hearts broken, fights, frenzy,
bags of chips shared at the end of it all.
Now all is covered in black tar,
getting thicker. My memories
taint as I tire of this place.