John Mingay runs both Raunchland Publications and Lung Gom Press. He lives in Scotland where he was Writer-in-Residence and Writer-in-the-Community in Darlington. In addition, he was editor of 3x4 magazine from 1989 to 1995, and has been widely published in literary magazines, anthologies, collaborative projects and in over forty individual collections.
Four Texts in Another Season
my anarchy of words,
dead steps settle
like midnight comes
to rape each reticent day,
the cool air hissing
with ceaseless inevitability.
I face my present afresh,
as a flame pulses in soundless air -
the glow and shade
hinting at life's course.
True, I too
part way -
When battered and scarred
by iniquitous maturity,
I still ignore my eyes
and distinguish my days by feeling.
the intricacy of intent spreads
as long as circumstance blinds,
yet cherished are awakenings
where breath and pulse drowse;
where to know
the season of dying
may come soon.
Losing the Plot
When the way comes to an end,
then change -
having changed, you pass through.
reduced to tremor and terror,
you found yourself
weeping and wailing within
for your sorrowless soul,
flat as a flood-filled field,
swept clear away.
through a remembered past,
relief and reasons then
began slowly, subtlely surfacing
through familiar notes and pages,
keystones in your bridge
back from here to now,
so long neglected.
Yet, even with definitions,
all to be done was to wait to change
with each dawn's choices
to be pondered to go onwards,
to pass through the end,
the floodline left as presage
of what, differently, lay in store.
So really, still, you are nowhere,
caught between what was
and what will sometime come,
waiting on every daybreak,
thumbing through a suddenly
empty diary in anticipation
of having somewhere far to go
beyond this haunted, sodden patch.
Amongst the Living-Dead
While all this bitter time goes round,
I continue, recognisably, as myself,
able to see clearly each component
of every cunning, colliding dichotomy
that comes to mind, turning, churning,
in need of expression, of solution.
For nowhere is the sky as raven
as where the earth beneath it trembles,
cracked by too long an hour hostile
to the moment, the spontaneous,
as though the heart-ripped corpse
that stumbles into many a dream.
Though, with my soul so out of balance,
of shape, of water, my scales shimmer
an entire spectrum across the rippling
sands, far into the distance, beyond sight,
beyond knowing where the present ends
for another whispered future to commence.
And then, if so at two-score life begins,
it has unquestionably been the living dead
I have walked amongst these ten years since,
stifled by their endemic blind faith in stasis
for the sake of defence, of ease, of holding on
to the romance of what has gone, has been.
Yet, for all that and this, there remains
a thought the bitter time may never end,
except for knowing it is not I, myself,
who has brought such weariness to bear
upon my being, such tangled thoughts
as to seem to make the days go on forever.